Sara Fantini takes home the women's hammer throw gold at the European Athletics Championships. GETTY IMAGES

Sara Fantini upped Italy’s gold medal tally to eight, winning the women’s hammer at the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships yesterday. Backed by home support, Fantini beat four-time world gold medallist Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland with a season’s best of 74.81m in the fourth round. 

Wlodarczyk settled for silver with a season’s best 72.92m and France’s Rose Loga won bronze with a personal best of 72.68m.

Triumphing over Wlodarczyk is not an easy feat: the 38-year-old is also a three-time Olympic champion and has won three more continental crowns. Fantini was sixth at last year’s World Athletics Championships and had taken home the bronze in Munich 2022 European Championships.

"Still can't believe I duelled and beat Anita Wlodarczyk,” the 26-year-old said later to reporters. "I dreamt of this success, but I didn't expect it to come this season.”

Fantini is the current Italian hammer-throw record holder with a 75.77m, which she has held since 2022 in Madrid. Filippo Tortu also made Italy proud yesterday, winning a silver in the men’s 200m, his second continental medal.

"I was focused on myself, I contracted after 50 meters. If I can't get going in the first few metres, I struggle. I'm a bit pissed off… If I have the chance to make up for it with the relay I will do it, for my teammates and my nation," Tortu said to Raisport.

Host country Italy is enjoying their best-ever performance at the European Athletics Championships. Fantini and Tortu join their compatriots, Marcell Jacobs, Leonardo Fabbri, Lorenzo Simonelli, Pietro Riva, among others, to climb the podium on behalf of their country. Italy currently tops the medal table with 17 medals; eight golds, six silvers and three bronzes.

The European Athletics Championships 2024 ends tomorrow with the pole vault, javelin, relays and other events still in store.