Monday, 9 August 2010

Euro Athletics - Barcelona (July work continued again)

Men’s 200m:
France’s Christophe Lemaitre stormed to an expected 200m victory; just two-days after being crowned 100m champion. The 20-year-old sprint protégé scorched to a 20.37clocking ahead of Britain’s Christian Malcolm (20.38) and his countryman Martial Mbandjock (20.42).

Overwhelmed and extremely satisfied with his weeks’ work, Lemaitre said afterwards:
“It was a very tight race. My start was not as good as I expected. I had a lack of confidence in the middle of the race. I tried to do my best to pick up well during the last metres. Now I am so glad to be the winner. This is such an important day for France athletics since we won the fourth gold medal. We have very good young athletes in France. I am enjoying this moment.”

Women’s pole vault:
In impeccable fashion, the long-established Svetlana Feofanova of Russia dominated the event with consummate ease. Passing until the height of 4.45, the 30-year-old took first-time clearances at 4m45 and 4m65 before clearing 4m70 on the second attempt and a superb 4m75 on her first.

In second and third place, respectively, Germany continued their fantastic championship with 4m65 clearances via Silke Speigelburg and Lisa Ryzih.

Women’s 400m: Tatyana Firova (RUS) 49.89 EL over Kseniya Ustalova (RUS) 49.82 PB and Antonina Krivoshapka (RUS) 50.10.

Firova – “It’s great that we all made it onto the podium. During the season, we have showed top results. I hope that we will be in this shape at London 2012.”

Men’s 110m hurdles: Britain’s Andy Turner produced a stunning last 30m to clinch the 110m hurdles crown in 13.28 ahead of France’s Garfield Darien (13.34) and Daniel Kiss (HUN) 13.36.

Jumping for joy, Turner breathlessly said: “I’m over the moon with this victory. I never achieved a medal at an international championships so this is just an amazing feeling. I felt good during the race and made less mistakes than the others, which was the key to win the gold medal.”

Women’s hammer: Germany’s Betty Heidler continued her nation’s fine form in the field with a 76m38 effort to push Tatyana Lysenko (RUS - 75m650 and Anita Wlodarczyk (POL - 73m56), respectively, into the silver and bronze medal positions.

Women’s steeplechase: Yuliya Zarudneva (RUS) was determined to not let the home favourite have her way with a solid front-running display to clock 9:17.57. Marta Dominguez; the Spanish golden girl registered 9:17.74 after putting up a strong fight to the end, coming home well clear of Lyubov Kharlamova (RUS) in 9:29.82.

The winner spoke about her pre-race tactics: “Mentally it was really tough. All of the stadium was for Dominguez but it made me angry. Before the championships I thought, it would have been great to defeat world champion Dominguez at home. So I decided to take the lead from the beginning and I didn’t feel Marta’s breathe because of the audience. They were screaming and supporting Dominguez, it actually kept me going faster and faster.”

Men’s 400m: The name Borlee was expected to land atop of the men’s 400m list but it was Kevin rather than Jonathan (who lead the continental rankings and set a national record in the semis) who took the glory today for Belgium in 45.08. Britain claimed the silver and bronze courtesy of Michael Bingham (45.23) and Martyn Rooney (45.23) in a race which provided much tension and nerves.

Women’s 400m hurdles: Natalya Antyukh RUS CR and EL 52.92, Vania Stambolova BUL NR 53.82, Perri Shakes-Drayton PB GBR 54.18.

Women’s 800m: Mariya Savinova of Russia was unstoppable in the women’s 800m; cruising to a scintillating 1:58.22 ahead Yvonne Hak (NED 1:58.85 PB) and Jenny Meadows (GBR - 1:59.39).

Men’s 1500m: The Spanish home crowd erupted in chaos in this final where the rulebook was ripped to shreds, with the three medallists turning out to be the surprises of the night. Evidently inspired by the home support, Arturo Casado sped down the home stretch to a 3:42.74 clocking with his compatriot Manuel Olmedo (3:43.54) in third. Carsten Schlangen (GER) spoiled the red and yellow show; as Spain’s third man Reyes Estevez was in fourth.

Men’s shot put: In a scintillatingly-close contest, Andrei Mikhnevich (BLR) stole the show by a mere centimeter with a 21m01 putt over Tomasz Majewski (POL); with Ralf Bartels (GER) 20m93 in third.

The winner said afterwards: “This feels gold great. After some difficult seasons, I’m back to where I want to be. Barcelona and the stadium, I love it.”

Men’s 800m: Poland achieved a shock 1-3 in the positions with Marcin Lewandowski stealing a last-gasp victory in 1:47.07 over Britain’s Michael Rimmer 1:47.17; the pre-race favourite. Adam Kszcot ensured a second Pole got onto the podium by following through just behind in 1:47.22.

An ecstatic winner revealed: “I am completely happy because I had a lot of pressure before the final as I was the favourite besides Rimmer. However, I managed to beat him. To gain the gold and bronze in the European championships is an unbelievable success for Polish athletics.”

Women’s 200m: Myriam Soumare could not contain her glee after storming to the women’s 200m title in a European-leading 22.32. The Frenchwoman; who was also third in the 100m, leapt and screamed for joy after coming home well clear of Yelizaveta Bryzhina (UKR 22.44 - PB) and Russia’s Aleksandra Fedoriva (22.44).

Men’s 400mH: Britain secured the gold and silver in emphatic style courtesy of David Greene (48.12 European lead) and Rhys Williams (48.96 PB); with Ukraine’s Stanislav Melnykov placing third with 49.09.

Greene; who dominated the proceedings from the outset and stretched clear in comfortable fashion down the home straight said: “I felt pressured being the favourite tonight but the pressure helped me to focus and go faster. My training went well in the build up to these championships. I did not have any particular objective today other than to win the gold medal and I am very pleased to have secured a personal best at the same time. I am now looking forwadr to running for Wales at the Commonwealth Games. “

Women’s 100mH: The most surprising winner of the night was Turkey’s Nevin Yanit in the women’s 100mH in a national record of 12.63. Both Yanit and runner-up Ireland’s Derval O’Rourke (12.65 N.R) screamed with glee and jumped for joy after the race, which also saw Germany continued their impressive championship – with Carolin Nytra (12.68) in third place.

Yanit explained afterwards her immense satisfaction and the eeriness of her winning time: “”This performance is amazing. I could not expect such a victory. I cannot believe what happened. My room number is 1263 and my phone number ends with these digits. Everything in my life here in Barcelona reminds me of this record (12.63). It was like an omen for victory. It is crazy. In 2006 in Gothenberg, I dreamt about the gold medal and tonight I am the European champion.”

Women’s triple jump: In a European-leading distance, Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha captured the women’s triple jump title with a fantastic leap of 14m81 in the fifth round. Italy’s Simona La Mantia took silver with 14m56 and Belgium’s Svetlana Bolshakova took the bronze with a jump of 14m55.

Women’s heptathlon: Britain’s Jessica Ennis added the European heptathlon crown to her World indoor and outdoor titles in a closely-fought contest with her arch rival, the Ukraine’s Nataliya Dobrinska. Ennis’ 6823 European-leading score and championship record was 45-points clear of the runner-up and Germany’s Jennifer Oeser (6683) took the bronze.

A delighted Ennis revealed: “I had a brilliant last year and these championships were amazing. Yes, I was 8 points short of my goal (British record) but I was so glad to win, especially with the 800m at the end and the way I won it, which was mainly to prove a point that I really am World no.1. My highlight disciplines were the javelin, long jump and the 800m. Now I will compete in some individual events and then finally go on holiday.”

Men’s pole vault: France’s Renauld Lavillenie stole the show with a first-time clearance at 5m80 then 5m85 to win the men’s pole vault by 5cm. Ukraine’s Maksym Mazurk (5m80) and Poland’s Przemyslaw Czerwinski (5m75) took the minor medals.

The winner said afterwards: “I expected this victory. I was testing myself from the beginning. I felt very good after 5m75. At this moment, I knew I’m on the right track to gold. I’m very happy. My goal is to remain this high level and go for the world title next year.”

Men’s 5000m: Britain’s Mo Farah secured a distance double by taking the men’s 10,000m this evening in impeccable style. In a time of 13:31.18, Farah beat Spain’s Jesus Espanya into second place (13:33.12) and Azerbajan’s Hayle Ibrahimov took the bronze in 13:34.15in a thrilling race to end day 5.

Men’s javelin: Norway’s Andrea Thorkilsden took the javelin crown with a throw of 88m37 in the second round; pushing Matthias De Zordo (GER – 87m81 PB) and Tero Pitkamaki (FIN – 86.67) into second and third, respectively.

Men’s marathon report
Switzerland's Viktor Rothlin became men's marathon European champion after winning the gold medal in Barcelona this morning.

The 35-year-old clocked 2:15.31 seconds to finish more than two minutes ahead of Spain's Juan Martinez (2:17.50) and Russia's Dimitri Safronov (2:18.16) in third.

The winner took control of the race from the 30km point after reaching the half-way point in 67:43, in a race suffering from 27-degree heat and 70% humidity.

A delighted Rothlin said afterwards: “This was my 19th marathon and it felt like the first. I hoped to compete well but was not sure ahead of the race. My careers might as well have been over after today. But the only thing I can say now is that I’m back!! It feels great. During the race, I was not sure if I can make it. I just kept going. I like to run in the heat. Compare to Osaka 2007, this was cold.”

Martinez led the home team to the gold medals, whilst Russia pipped Italy to team silver.

Men’s 4x100m: France scorched to European-leading 38.11 to take the men’s 4x100m relay final over close rivals Italy (38.17) and Germany (38.44).

In helping his nation to glory, Christophe Lemaitre became the first man ever to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in these championships.

After a collection of flawless baton change-overs and a storming anchor leg to out-dip Germany at the line, the squad said afterwards:

“We worked very well together. Of all the medals we have, this one feels the most important because it was won as a team effort and in the true sense of solidarity. We panicked a little bit in the last few metres when we saw the Italians right on our tail. They were running very fast but Martial (Mbanjock) did an excellent job for us and we so happy to win this medal as a very united team.”

Women’s 4x100m: The Ukrainian women’s 4x400m squad caused the first upset of the final evening when storming to gold in a world-leading 42.29. Pre-race favourites France grabbed the silver in 42.45, with Poland (42.68) coming home for third place.

The elated winners revealed: “We have been working together for many years and training hard on passing the baton. Barcelona was the perfect stage to prove how good we really are. Clocking the world lead is unbelievable. We expected the Russian team to climb the podium.”

Men’s 3,000m steeplechase: France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and Bouabdellah Tahri stormed way ahead of the field from the outset; establishing a 50m lead by the second lap, which they maintained until the end to collect the gold and silver, respectively.

In times of 8:07.87 (championship record) and 8:09.28, the duo gave a masterful front-running display of team-work to continue their nation’s impressive haul in these championships. Spain’s Joes Luis Blanco gave the home crowd plenty of excitement; crossing the line in 8:19.15 to snatch third.

Women’s 5,000m: From the gun, a group of six sped off to quickly establish a 80m lead, which included 10,000m winner Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) and Portugal’s warm favourite Jessica Augusto.

Four of the group stayed bunched until the final 200m, where Alemitu Bekele (TUR) strode to a superb 14:52.20 championship record ahead of her team-mate Abeylegesse (14:54.44) and Portugal’s Sara Moriera (14:54.71 PB).

Men’s discus: Just 20cm separated gold and silver medal winners Poland’s Piotr Malachowski and Germany’s Robert Harting. The former threw a championship record-breaking 68m87 whilst Harting registered 68m47. Hungary’s Robert captured the bronze with a 66m43 throw.

The winner declared shortly afterwards: “Finally I won the gold at a big championships. I’m satisfied after having lost to Harting last year in Germany. It was not my best performance but sufficient for tonight.”

Women’s 1500m: In a thrilling race when it could have easily have been anyone’s race in the final 100m, Nuria Fernandez gave the home crowd plenty to roar for as she registered a fine personal-best-beating 4:00.20 en route to victory.

Behind, was France’s Hind Dehiba (4:01.17) and a second Spaniard, Natalia Rodriguez; clocking 4:01.30 for third.

An elated winner exclaimed: “I am crying as I cannot believe what I have done. I have been fighting for this for fifteen years and finally, at 33, got it. I dedicate this title to everyone that has been supporting me during my long career and when things didn’t go well. Winning at home is like a dream come true.”

Women’s high jump: Breaking the championship best and taking the European lead, pre-event favourite Blanca Vlasic of Croatia leapt to a magnificent 2m03 on her second attempt to push Sweden’s surprise package; Emma Green (2m01 PB) into the runner-up position.

Germany’s Ariane Friedrich failed to grab the gold she so wished but captured the bronze medal, nevertheless, in 2m01.

Vlasic remarked: “This is not an easy season for me. I’m not myself this year. I had zero confidence tonight and was struggling hard to achieve a good jump. Luckily, it was enough to win.”

Men’s long jump: Germany’s Christian Reif was the shock of the night; taking the men’s long jump crown in impeccable fashion. Annihilating his personal best, the German leapt to a world-leading and championship record-breaking 8m47 in the third round to amaze the crowd and his rivals in the process.

France’s Kafetien Gomis (8m24) and Great Britain’s Chris Tomlinson (8m23) took the minor medals.

Women’s 4x400m: In their usual fashion, Russia stormed to a world-leading 3:21.26 from Germany (3:24.07) and Great Britain (3:24.32).

Men’s 4x400m: Again, Russia dominated the 4x400m proceedings with a superb victory in 3:01.14 over Great Britain (3:02.25) and surprise bronze-medallists Belgium (3:02.60).

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