BERLIN (AP) — Former Olympic discus champion Robert Harting bid farewell to his home fans by finishing sixth in his final competition, while Andrius Gudzius claimed gold for Lithuania at the European Athletics Championships on Wednesday.
Gudzius, the current world champion, threw 68.46 meters to beat Daniel Stahl of Sweden (68.23) and Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger (65.14).
But Harting got the loudest cheers at Berlin’s Olympiastadion following his last competition before retirement. The 33-year-old, a three-time world champion and the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was given a standing ovation after finishing sixth with a throw of 64.33.
Harting is fondly remembered among home fans for ripping his vest in two after winning his first world title in Berlin in 2009.
“It was a momentous evening for me because the circle closes here. It comes as a bit of a downer though,” said Harting, who had been hoping to sign off with a medal. “There is a life after, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Harting’s younger brother Christoph, the Olympic champion, failed to qualify for the final.
The German crowd was celebrating when Arthur Abele won the men’s decathlon for the host nation’s first gold of the championships. Russian decathlete Ilya Shkurenyov took silver and Vitali Zhuk of Belarus bronze.
The 32-year-old Abele became the oldest European decathlon champion.
“To win it here in this stadium in front of my own fans, it’s unbelievable. After so many injuries and so many setbacks, I’m overjoyed,” said Abele, who had a cardboard crown placed on his head and was draped in the German flag.
In the women’s shot put, Paulina Guba of Poland beat home favorite Christina Schwanitz to take gold.
“It’s annoying when you know that you can easily throw another three-quarters of a meter,” said Schwanitz, who had been going for her third consecutive European title.
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel won the women’s 10,000 meters in 31 minutes, 43.29 seconds, ahead of Susan Krumins of the Netherlands and Sweden’s Meraf Bahta.
Also, Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece produced a season-best 8.25 meters to win the men’s long jump ahead of home favorite Fabian Heinle, who jumped 8.13. World champion Kevin Mayer of France was eliminated with no mark on Tuesday.