Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) made history in astonishing fashion on a golden night for the British team, claiming European 100m gold inside Berlin’s Olympiastadion this evening in a British record and world-leading team of 10.85.
The first British woman to win European 100m gold since Dorothy Hyman’s victory some 56 years ago at 1962’s championships in Belgrade, Asher-Smith lived up to her billing as the favourite in emphatic style with a show-stopping performance.
The signs had been in place from earlier on in the evening as the 22-year-old clocked a world-class 10.93 while easing down in her semi-final, though what was to come was extraordinary nonetheless.
Bolting out of the blocks, Asher-Smith put ground between herself and the rest of the field almost immediately, with the gap only increasing as torsos came upright and heads began to eye the finish line.
Streaking clear, Asher-Smith secured gold with a dip, with the clock flashing 10.85 to reveal yet another revision of her own British record, this time by some seven hundredths of a second following her 10.92 posting earlier this summer in Oslo.
Behind Asher-Smith and fellow medallist Gina Luckenkemper (GER) and Dafne Schippers (NED), Asher-Smith’s compatriot and rising star Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge) showed she too can mix it with some of the world’s best, with her first major championships as a senior seeing her come home in sixth place in 11.14.
The quickest to react to the gun in the field, the time saw the 20-year-old equal her second-quickest time ever and match the time clocked earlier in the evening to book her spot in the final.
“I went out there and executed my race. Sprinters say the word ‘execute’ so often it becomes boring but I was just so happy that I went out there and ran the race that I knew I was capable of,” said the newly crowned champion.
“I told myself ‘you’re here to win, I am not taking any less’. That’s what I am here for and I am so happy to have done it. 10.85!
“I was thinking about my phases and when I got to 30m to go I couldn’t feel anybody. But when you can’t feel anybody that is when someone comes and runs straight past you. I just maintained my focus and kept running. I am so happy.
“I was chilled because I felt like I was in good shape. I have worked out over the years that I have to be chilled to run good, that’s me. That is how I work. Some people have to be nervous and scared but I have to be happy and be in a good mood. I learnt in London through trial and error. A happy and relaxed Dina, is a fast Dina.”
For Lansiquot, the experience was clearly one she will use as both inspiration and fuel for further progress as she said: “I am very, very happy. This is my first time on the senior stage and that is my second fastest time ever. It would have been lovely to have left with a medal and a personal best but I am only 20. I am learning my craft and getting better and better with each race. I am a little bit disappointed now, but I am incredibly proud of myself.
“This time last year I think I had finished my season and run 11.7, now have put together consecutive 11.1s. I’m just very grateful to be in one piece and to be a European finalist, not many people can say that, and to be better than I have ever been before. I have to take that.”
Unfortunate to miss out on the final following a quick semi-final, Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo) was bumped out of securing a lane having clocked 11.17 for fourth to leave her sweating and without a spot come the conclusion of semi-final three.
Less than 15 minutes on from the women’s final, double delight and double gold in the men’s and women’s 100m finals was secured as Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills) too lived up to his billing as race favourite, delivering in a world-class 9.95 (no wind).
The result saw Great Britain and Northern Ireland claim gold in both the men’s and women’s 100m in the same European Championships for the very first time.
Driving out of the blocks to gain the early advantage, Hughes delivered a dynamite mid-section to his race to hold off the charge of Reece Prescod (Dodoo) from lane seven as the latter finished brilliantly for silver, with Hughes’ winning time smashing the Championship record and serving as the third quickest 100m time of his career.
Dipping under ten seconds for the first time ever with 9.96, Prescod’s time was one that has been on the cards for some time and came in the right environment as he clinched his first major medal to accompany the back-to-back British titles he holds.
Getting out to a better start than the one seen in his semi-final, Prescod ate up the marginal gap left between he and the rest of the field to move within a whisker of gold, with a huge dip on the line more than enough for silver, while his new personal best time seeing him become the tenth Brit ever to go sub-ten as well as revising the British under-23 record previously held by CJ Ujah (Stuart McMillan) with the same time but a stronger tailwind (1.4).
Ujah himself was well in contention for silverware having gained some early ground with a strong start from lane eight, with the reigning Diamond League champion going well and motoring well to 75m before the fast-finishing Jak Ali Harvey of Turkey swept in for bronze ahead of the Brit, with Ujah posting a season’s best of 10.06.
“I just needed to stay relaxed, I was feeling a bit of discomfort in my right calf but I wanted to enjoy it and that’s what I did and I was successful,” said Hughes.
“That’s the high point definitely, it sets me up nicely going in to the World Championships next year, so I just need to focus and continue putting in the work and trust and believe in my team and myself and leave the rest to God.”
For Prescod, it was a more than satisfactory result as he said: “To be honest I can’t really complain. It was a personal best and the first time dipping under ten seconds legally.
“I am really happy about that. It was a national under-23 record as well and I am happy to come out and get my first sub-ten clocking. I feel I got a better start in the final which I am happy about.
“Everyone wanted 1-2-3 but it was a 1-2. I got beat by the smallest margin. It is what it is. That is how athletics goes. I have got to keep my head up and keep going. I have got Birmingham to prepare for in front of my home crowd.”
In combined events action, and after a solid morning that saw him left in fourth heading into evening one of the decathlon, Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson) showed brilliantly in his third event – the high jump – to top his pool with a personal best of 2.17m.
Entering the Championships with an outdoor high jump best of 2.13m within a decathlon, Duckworth was in the groove early on, clearing heights of 2.02m and 2.05m at the first time of asking.
After going over 2.08m at the second attempt, he sailed over both 2.11m and 2.14m first time before finishing up with a superb outdoor personal best of 2.17m, a mark good for 963 points to take him into first ahead of the final event of the day, the 400m.
Come the punishing one-lap finale to day one, Duckworth made good ground in the opening 100m to reign in Arthur Abele of Germany inside of him. Digging in deep following a gruelling day out in the field of play, the Liverpool Harrier swung round the final bend and threw himself across the line in a time of 49.87 for 821 points, with his overnight score sitting at 4380, topping the leaderboard by 95 points.
Talking on each of his day one events, Duckworth said: “I can’t complain with it. The 100m is normally a really strong event; it wasn’t the fastest but it was a good competition between Kevin and I.
“The long jump was below-par but it did its job. The shot put started a bit dicey but it was close to my best so I can’t complain.
“The high jump was not what I was expecting but I have jumped 2.17m indoors before so nice to do it outdoors finally. The 400m, I went out a little too fast and died off towards the end but better to give it a go and die off than not.”
Represented by British team regular Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson), reigning European under-23 bronze medallist Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson) and British junior record holder Molly Caudery (Stuart Caudery), the qualification pools of the women’s pole vault held plenty of interest.
Looking to bounce back from disappointment at the World Junior Championships, Caudery opened her competition in nervy fashion, going over 4.00m at the final attempt, with 4.20m then coming easier at the second time of asking.
Looking to move towards the auto-qualification height of 4.55m – a height that would have had to see her eclipse her own national junior record – the 18-year-old and youngest member of the British team exited the competition following three failures at 4.35m, with her debut major championships in a British vest sure to stand her in good stead as she continues to develop as a junior.
For compatriot Bryan, a season’s best of 4.35m was disappointingly not enough to see her progress, with three close attempts at 4.45m seeing the Bristol athlete bow out of the competition having gone over 4.00m and 4.20m without issue.
The last of the Brits to enter the competition, the experienced Bradshaw cleared 4.50m to book her spot in Thursday’s final and be in the mix for her first major outdoor silverware following medals indoors earlier in her career.
One of many other events with triple British interest, the men’s 10,000m took place in punishingly hot conditions inside the well-populated Olympiastadion. Featuring the experienced Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau) and Chris Thompson (Alan Storey) alongside Alex Kee (Kenneth Pike), the sweltering conditions made for a tough race from the off.
Led out by Juan Perez (ESP) with the enthusiastic Kaan Kigen Ozbillen (TUR) on his heels, the British trio kept in touch with the lead pack in the early stages, with Yee doing the early lead running of the Brits as the field trotted through 3000m at 8:30 pace.
Halfway was reached with Ozbillen to the fore and always looking to push proceedings on, with the British trio continuing to hang on to the well-established lead pack of thirteen as Vernon began to show his experience and move through, beyond Yee and Thompson, as the latter pair’s legs began to feel the effects of the heat.
Looking strong having recently travelled in from an altitude camp out in St Moritz, Vernon maintained form as he moved into seventh then sixth, as the field came round with two laps to go and the toss-up for medals really began.
Kicking too early, temporary race leader Adel Mechaal (ESP) paid the price as he was overtaken and pushed back to fourth come the finish line, with the conclusion of the race boiling down to a scintillating final 800m in which Frenchman Morhad Amdouni moved out to lane three to power home to gold. Chasing all the way, Vernon finished a brilliant fifth, clocking 29:16.90, with compatriots Thompson and Yee finishing 11th and 14th in 28:33.12 and 28:58.86 respectively.
On his finishing position and the race, Vernon said: “I’m a bit disappointed. It was that last couple of laps, it was just like my legs weren’t quite wanting to give me it, they were ‘numb’ is the way I’d describe them, I just didn’t have that in the last two.
“And it didn’t seem like it was that quick, if I was there I think I could have been amongst it, I just had to be there and I wasn’t. I’m disappointed in myself that I wasn’t. It was just frustrating
“It terms of tactics until the last 800m I nailed it. 10,000m is about running to rhythm and getting to the last 1k or maybe 2k having conserved as much energy as possible.”
In field action, and after showing brilliantly earlier in the season to win Commonwealth Games gold in a British record distance of 80.26m, Nick Miller (Tore Gustraffson) struggled to recover from edging through his qualification pool come the final of the men’s hammer.
While an opening throw of 73.16m ensured a solid mark had been put in, against strong European opposition it was ultimately one that left him down the field with metres to make up on his opponents.
Needing a throw in excess of 74m to be placed in the top eight and given three more attempts, Miller threw consecutive fouls in rounds two and three to leave him down in tenth and outside of those in the final fight for silverware.
Opening up his Championships having been given bye to today’s semi-finals, Jack Green (June Plews) suffered 400m hurdles disappointment as he failed to progress to the final.
Seemingly in the mix on the back straight, Green couldn’t keep pace as the field steered into the home straight, with the gap growing over the course of the final two hurdles to leave the Kent athlete back in sixth, finishing in a time of 49.84.
Speaking afterwards, Green said: “Bearing in mind I couldn’t get past hurdle four at Anniversary Games, it’s not what I want but just to be here is a big deal. I’ve barely run since then and haven’t hurdled and that just showed. I am a little rusty in places but I am not disappointed.
“I am very proud to represent my country and I still have a job to do with the relay boys. These legs can still do something so if they need me I can help.”
Watch Here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/45098516
Action resumes tomorrow morning beginning with the decathlon 110m hurdles at 09:35am local-time (08:35 UK-time). The full timetable for the full championships can be found here.