The 22nd European Indoor Athletics Championships in Genoa was a tantalising tussle as countries vied for supremacy on the track and in the field.
The Unified Team, comprised of athletes from the former Soviet Union, topped the overall table with a 12-gold medal haul but Team GB’s two gold medals and handful of podium finishes saw them secure a fourth-placed finish.
Matthew Yates made memories to last a lifetime with his first and only 1500m victory at the European Indoor Athletics Championships – so our regular Throwback Thursday series gives us the perfect excuse to wind the clock back a full 26 years and examine what happened in Italy.
Di Napoli reigns
Gennaro Di Napoli used his home European Athletics Indoor Championships as a springboard for a highly successful career at the summit of long-distance running.
Italy’s two golds in front of their home support came in the 5000m race walk, courtesy of Giovanni De Benedictis, and the 3000m with Di Napoli to the fore.
The then-24-year-old started his senior career as a 1500m specialist and needed to prove his mettle over double the distance, with the added expectation of a partisan Italian crowd.
He did all that and more with an imperious 7:47.24s run, edging out Britain’s John Mayock to cut the tape a continental champion.
Yates making strides
Matthew Yates’ finest moment in a GB uniform came when he produced an inspire display for 1500m gold, the only major win of the Essex boy’s career.
The versatile long-distance runner had claimed bronze from the 1990 Commonwealth Games but saved his lifetime best for the European Athletics Indoor Championships.
He edged Sergey Melnikov in a sprint finish, clocking 3:42.32s on the north-west coast of Italy to secure a second and final gold medal for Team GB.
The Unified Team, made of up athletes from nations Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, enjoyed unbridled dominance of the field events at Palasport di Genova.
Gold medals in the pole vault, triple jump, long jump and shot meant what they had lacked in track triumphs, they made up for in abundance in the field events.
Leonid Voloshin followed up his victory in Split in 1990 by defending his European indoor title a leap of 17.35m.
While there was a Unified Team one-two in the shot put as Aleksander Bagach edged out team-mate Aleksander Klimenko.
It’s mine cries Myers
The women’s Unified outfit went one better than the men’s in Italy and stole the show across both the sprint and field events, claiming all but five gold medals on offer.
The 60m and 200m golds went to Zhanna Tarnopolskaya and Oksana Stepicheva respectively, while Atlanta Olympic 100m hurdles winner Lyudmila Narozhilenko took home the 60m hurdles victory.
But Sandra Myers offered stout resistance to their dominance and took home gold with a world lead 51.21s run over 400m.
Myers, born in Kansas but a Spanish citizen from 1987, was an experienced hand indoors and finished fourth at her first Championships appearance in 1990 in Glasgow.
She finished on the podium at the 1991 World Indoor Championships and the culmination of her rise came with gold in Genoa, one of her adopted country’s four gongs.
The European Athletics Indoor Championship Glasgow 2019 is guaranteed to give the Scottish crowd unmissable entertainment. The full competition schedule is now live on www.glasgow2019athletics.com with tickets available across all events