This is Stuart Weir’s feature on day 2, evening session, which he titled Saturday Night Fever! Well done, Roma 2024! 

Saturday night fever!

Saturday night, there was a proper crowd in the stadium for an evening of excellent athletics and joy for the home nation.

Marcel Jacobs, the Olympic champion, thrilled the home crowd with his 100m win, followed home by Chituru Ali for an Italian 1-2. Jacobs said: “It was the first time this season that I ran two races close together. In the final, I felt a cramp on the right calf, but I went on; I gritted my teeth because I wanted to win in front of this amazing audience. I changed almost everything in my life, and I promised myself that I would want to give Italy more emotions”. The time of 10.02 will not cause Noah Lyles to have too many sleepless nights, but it shows that Jacobs is on the way back.

Leonardo Fabbri takes the shot put, photo by European Athletics via Getty Images.

Leonardo Fabbri won the shot with a Championship record of 22.45, and Lorenzo Simonelli won the 110m hurdles in 13.05. Francesco Fortunato won bronze in the 20k, and Mattai Furlani won silver in the long jump. Italy is on top of the medal table with 10 medals, and we are only on day 2.

Nafi Thiam pulled off the expected triumph in the heptathlon, scoring a championship record of 6848 points. She commented afterward, “I did not know what to expect because this was my first competition of the season. I think you need to get a few more to get your marks. But I took it as a first step to Paris, and I am super happy about where I am now. Today, it is great that I am starting this road.”

Nafi Thiam sets a Champ record in the Heptathlon win! photo by European Athletics for Getty Images

The race of the night was the 5000m, which Jakob Ingebrigtsen won in 13:20.11.  Jakob, who raced in Eugene and Oslo in the past 10 days, said: “This is what it is all about – a great stadium and a great crowd. I am very happy with my performance. I am going in the right direction. I am getting better and better in every race. This is a championship, the level is high, and I performed at my best. It is all about recovering, getting a good night of sleep, and preparing for my next race. I will always try to perform at my best level. It is a championship, so it is about maximizing your performance. It is always a great time racing in championships”.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 5000m champion, photo by European Athletics via Getty Images

Britain’s George Mills was second, saying: “This is a step in the right direction. It is still early in the season. This is only my third race, so there are still plenty more races to do. This was just the reassurance that we were on the right track. It was a messy race. 27 guys in the race with very similar abilities. So, most of the race, you only try to stay on your feet and to be ready to go when the time comes. I tried to position myself out of the trouble and moved up to the front a couple of times. I am coming up from the 1500, so I knew I would be ready to close up hard if I conserve enough energy. So that was what I was planning. I aim to qualify for both 1500 and 5000 for Paris”.

On the final lap, with Mills on Ingebrigtsen’s shoulder, there was a moment when one wondered if British lightning might strike a third time after Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr—but this time, Jakob was strong.