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Finnish pole vaulter wins European championship gold

Wilma Murto's clearance of 4.85 metres set a new Finnish national record and equalled the European championships record on a night of high drama in Munich.

Wilma Murto celebrates her clearance of 4.85 metres. Image: EPA-EFE/All Over Press

Finland's Wilma Murto became the women's European pole vault champion in Munich on Wednesday evening, setting a new Finnish national record in the process.

Her clearance of 4.85 metres also equalled the European championships record previously set by defending champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who took the silver.

The 24-year-old Murto's success marks the first time Finland has won a European championship gold medal in eight years and the first Finnish pole vault medal in 44 years.

Wilma Murto after her winning pole vault. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

"My dreams have come true. I knew it had been in me for a long time but I just needed this day to come," Murto said. "This is like the start of a new era for me. I have struggled after my teenage success and now I finally made it to the senior level."

Murto had set a world youth record of 4.71 metres in 2016, which raised high expectations about her potential for a successful career.

The 24-year-old athlete secured Finland's first pole vault medal since 1978. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

"This evening could not have gone any better. I have felt that this has been simmering under the surface for a long time," she told Yle Sport.

"We have been training hard for this, a lot of hours have gone into it. It's really great that I have got the reward for my work. It's been a long road, but I've enjoyed every moment."

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