A Championship record in the men's 400m hurdles from Alessandro Sibilio helped Italy extend their 1st Division lead in the Silesia 2023 European Athletics Team Championships ©Getty Images

Italy extended their 1st Division lead in the Silesia 2023 European Athletics Team Championships with their 400 metres hurdler Alessandro Sibilio contributing one of three Championship records.

Sibilio set a time of 48.14 seconds on the penultimate day of competition in an event that forms one of the flagship competitions of the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games.

The other Championship marks came from Spain’s Mohamed Katir, who clocked 3min 36.95sec in the highly-anticipated 1500m, and Switzerland’s European indoor champion Jason Joseph, who won the 110m hurdles in 13.12.

Having started with a 9.5 points lead, the Italians - desperate to win the trophy they missed by just two and a half points in this same stadium two years ago - are now 35.5 clear on 293 ahead of defending champions and hosts Poland on 258.5.

Germany are third ahead of tomorrow’s finale on 256.5 while Britain, who were in second place overnight, dropped to fourth on 243.5 after their women’s and men’s 4x100m teams were disqualified in the two last track events.

Home fans were able to enjoy two expected but much appreciated victories by their Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki in the men’s hammer and their European champion Pia Skrzyszowska in the 100m hurdles.

Skrzyszowska, who won in 12.77, was prevented by injury from competing in the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March, and made the most of her next big opportunity to shine with a composed victory over a top-class field.

European outdoor and indoor bronze medallist Ditaji Kambundji, who has clocked 12.78 this season, was disqualified for a false start.

That was bad news for Switzerland but good news for Belgium, whose late replacement in the first heat, Jolien Boumkwo - seventh in the previous day’s shot put - thus contributed two more points to the national cause.

The spirit of the Team Championships was writ large as Boumkwo, literally, stepped up following the withdrawal of nominated athlete Anne Zagré.

In tracksuit trousers, the 29-year-old drew warm applause as she was introduced in the stadium before negotiating each barrier slowly and carefully and finishing with a sprint and a smile in 32.81.

You don’t see that time too often in the 100m hurdles. But two points is two points.

“My team is the most important thing for me,” Boumkwo said. "I couldn't let it happen to lose by one point. That's why I've considered taking part in 100m hurdles. There was no risk for me if I took it calmly."

Despite Boumkwo’s efforts, Belgium remained 16th and last on 158, with the two other relegation places above them being occupied by Türkey on 159 and Norway on 161.

As expected, maximum points went to Spain in a tactical men’s 1500m thanks to their world bronze medallist and European silver medallist Katir - but he needed to run a Championship record to hold off the challenge of a talented field.

Having clocked 3:28.89 in Oslo earlier this month to finish second to the European record-breaking local hero Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Katir had all the speed he needed to succeed.

But after he had moved into the lead shortly after the bell he was unable to move significantly clear as first Italy’s 23-year-old Pietro Arese, and then Portugal’s Issac Nader worked hard to stay with him.

Nader came closest, moving out in the finishing straight but being unable to summon a decisive finishing effort as he clocked 3:37.37 in second place ahead of fast-finishing Dutch runner Niels Laros, in 3:37.59.

Arese, who had dropped back, summoned one final effort to pass George Mills, son of former England footballer Danny Mills, at the line, clocking 3:38.13 to the Briton’s 3:38.17.

Switzerland’s Joseph, comfortably the fastest European in the 110m hurdles this year with a timing of 13.10, converted that into maximum points and impact.

Spain’s Enrique Llopis, whose European Athletics indoor final in Istanbul ended in a horrific fall at the final hurdle which left him unconscious, experienced happier circumstances here as he finished second in 13.44 ahead of Italy’s Hassane Fofana on 13.47 and France’s 2018 European champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde on 13.58.

European indoor and outdoor champion Miltiadis Tentoglou helped Greece to promotion with victory in the long jump two years ago with a Championship record of 8.38m.

This time round he came within four centimetres of that mark with his sixth round effort, the best seen in Europe this season - into a headwind of 1.3 metres per second.

"Who know, if weather conditions were better today, it was possible to attack even 8.50m," Tentoglou said. "You know, going to the Budapest, I want to remember this win."

Tugba Danismaz earned a hugely emotional home gold in the women’s triple jump at this year’s European Athletics Indoor Championships to bring some distraction to a Turkish nation still coming to terms with the awful loss of life through two earthquakes in the region.

She earning another uplifting honour today thanks to a national record of 14.16, with Italy’s Ottavia Cestonaro second on 14.09.