Jemma Reekie and Andrew Pozzi produced the standout performances at the 13th Triveneto Meeting in Trieste, Italy, on Saturday (1), as the international athletics season continued its return in Italy, the European country hardest hit by this year’s coronavirus pandemic.

In a fiercely fought 800m, Reekie held off training partner Laura Muir over the final five metres to win by a scant 0.02, clocking 1:59.52. It was a big victory for the double European U23 champion who knocked nearly two seconds from her previous outdoor career best of 2:01.45 set last year.

Norway’s Hedda Hynne clocked 1:59.94 to finish third, edging Selina Buchel of Switzerland who also dipped under two minutes with 1:59.97.

Pozzi, who arrived at his third meeting of the year as the world leader at 13.30, won again handily in 13.36, but wasn’t especially pleased with his performance.

“I struggled to get my timing – we weren’t able to warm up in spikes before the actual race,” said the world indoor champion. “My timing was really messed up to hurdle one so that was too much to fully recover. But there were some good bits to the race.

“I’m running really, really well in training – I’m in really good shape,” he continued. “So I’m really looking forward to a nice opportunity to show it. Hopefully that will come up in August.”

He’ll race next at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Turku on 11 August and then again at the Wanda Diamond League fixture in Monaco three days later.

Paolo Dal Molin was second in 13.65.

Van Niekerk sidelined after Covid-19 scare

The evening’s key attraction was to be Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic 400m champion and world record holder, making his first international appearance since sustaining an ACL tear in a charity rugby match in October 2017. But he never made it to the start line after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday. A second test came back negative, but ultimately medical officials didn’t give him clearance to compete.

His training partner Antonio Alkana, who finished a distant fifth in the 110m hurdles, said that their entire group, who are based in Gemona del Friuli for the European summer months, have been tested four times over the past two weeks: just prior to their departure from South Africa, again two days after their arrival on 19 July, this past Tuesday and again on Friday.

The best performance for the appreciative home crowd was delivered by Lamont Marcell Jacobs who took the 100m in 10.10 in his third competition of the outdoor season. His previous season’s best was 10.14 set in Savonna on 16 July.

Ghanaian Sean Safo-Antwi was second in 10.26.

Olympic champion Thiago Braz won the pole vault with a 5.50m clearance in his first competition since last year’s World Championships in Doha.

Elsewhere, Leonardo Fabbri took the shot put with 20.68m. Italy’s Edoardo Scotti won the 400m in 45.85 and Pablo Torrijos of Spain took the triple jump with a 16.86m leap.

Bob Ramsak for World Athletics

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