Kaya is a European record-breaker
His medal haul already speaks for itself but Turkey’s Ali Kaya produced one of the best performances of his young career to break the European under-23 10,000m record in Mersin on Saturday.
Kaya, who won bronze at the distance behind Mo Farah at last year’s European Athletics Championships in Zurich, ran a stunning 27:24.09, the best in the world this year, to triumph at the Turkish Championships.
Only 21 last month, Kaya was always one of the favourites for gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn in July.
But he has now taken himself to a new level having had a superb winter where he won 3000m gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague, his fourth major title.
He had run a personal best in Zurich of 28:08.72 as Farah won in 28:08.11 but now he has achieved a key moment, breaking the 28-minute barrier in some style. If they were not already, the rest of the world’s distance runners will have to stand up and take notice of his brilliant talent.
Kaya won in Mersin by over 24 seconds as Kenya’s Amos Kibitok was second in 27:48.53.
The women’s 10,000m saw victory for SPAR European junior cross country champion Emine Hatun Tuna who won in 33:43.41.
Led by Kaya, it was a good weekend for some of the leading young stars in Europe.
At the Belgian University Championships in Oordegem, Louise Carton, 21, qualified for Tallinn over 5,000m with 15:39.47 while the 21.20m (6kg) shot put by Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki, 18, is the best by a junior in 2015.
In Mariano Comense, Italy’s Filippo Tortu, who is only 16, ran 10.56 for the 100m. He missed the national record for his age group by 0.07, a time set by Giovanni Grazioli in 1976.
A week after pulling out of the London Marathon, Portugal’s Sara Moreira came back in fine fashion as she was second in Prague on Sunday in a personal best time in only her second race at the distance.
As Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese won in 2:23:49, Moreira brought her debut 2:26:00 from New York in November down to 2:24:49 in the Czech Republic as she finished second.
This October will be the 30th anniversary of Rosa Mota's Portuguese record of 2:23:29 and Moreira must surely have that in her sights such is the way she has taken to this event.
Italy’s Valeria Straneo is another of Europe’s leading marathoners and on Sunday, she regained her crown at the 4th Chia Laguna Half Marathon with a personal best of 1:17:07 while Ruggero Pertile won the men’s race in 1:11:18.