Femke Bol, left and Kevin Mayer write messages of support to those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey during the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul ©European Athletics

European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov has picked the "poignant" victory won by home women’s triple jumper Tuğba Danışmaz and Nafi Thiam’s pentathlon world record as highlights of a "magnificent" European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Summing up an event that took place a month after the earthquakes in Turkey and neighbouring Syria that left many thousands dead or homeless, Karamarinov said: "The Championships took place in the shadow of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey a month ago and our first consideration was always to commemorate and honour the victims of that natural tragedy.

"Consequently, the Organising Committee, Turkish Athletic Federation and Turkish public authorities did a magnificent job organising the Championships in very difficult circumstances when many of those involved in helping stage these Championships, and also within the Turkish team as well, will have lost relatives and friends or otherwise been severely affected by the events of last month.

"I would like to applaud everyone involved locally in organising these Championships for their personal commitment at a hugely emotional time for Turkey and say that European Athletics will never forget the sacrifices they have made in the name of our sport.

"One of the most poignant moments of the Championships was seeing Turkey’s own Tuğba Danışmaz win the women’s triple jump gold medal with a national record but there were many other stirring occasions during our time in Istanbul, not least Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam winning the pentathlon title with a world record of 5055 points."

Among the home athletes taking part in the midst of such trauma was men’s 60m sprinter Kayhan Ozer.

Two days before the earthquakes on February 6, Ozer - who comes from Adana, a city of 1.7 million which is located about 160 kilometres from the epicentre of the first quake - went for coffee with a friend of his who was killed in the tragedy.

Turkish sprinter Kayhan Ozer, who competed at the recent European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul, spoke of the friend who died in the recent earthquakes ©Getty Images
Turkish sprinter Kayhan Ozer, who competed at the recent European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul, spoke of the friend who died in the recent earthquakes ©Getty Images

"In Adana, 300 people (died) and 25 buildings were down," Ozer told European Athletics.

"My family (went) to a mountain home, staying there, because my sister is so scared.

"She doesn’t want to go home.

"Every family is like this."

In the first week after the disaster, Ozer did not train and did not plan to compete at these Championships during that time, but he soon reconsidered.

"After the second week I said, ‘Okay, I will run for the country, run for friends,’ and now I feel better," he said.

In addition to Thiam’s world record in a competition which also saw Poland’s Adrianna Sulek go over the previous mark, three Championship records were set, there were four world-leading marks and 12 European-leading marks as well as 39 national records from the 593 entrants who represented 47 countries.

Television audience data is still being compiled but, with 30 international broadcasters and the globally available European Athletics live stream, it is expected that it will compare favourably with recent previous European Athletics Indoor Championships while the European Athletics social media channels saw record engagement figures for this event.

European Athletics said that one of the abiding memories of the Championships was the solidarity and support shown by the athletes, Member Federations, spectators and international media with those whose lives had been devastated by the earthquakes and the warmth of the Turkish people in receiving the international athletics community despite such difficult circumstances.

The next European Athletics Indoor Championships is due to be held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands from March 6 to 9 2025.