Dina Asher-Smith wins the 200m at the European Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Amsterdam, Netherlands

Asher-Smith and Martina rule sprints at European Championships in Amsterdam

Day two of the European Championships saw seven gold medals dished out in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday (7).

The most popular winner was Churandy Martina, the Dutchman delighting the home crowd by taking gold in a tight 100m final at the close of the day.

Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut was the pre-race favourite, but at 60m he hadn’t shaken off Jak Ali Harvey of Turkey. Harvey looked to have pulled slightly clear, only for Martina to time his dip to perfection to finish in 10.07.

Harvey was given the same time, but the photo finish showed the 32-year-old Martina as winner. The crowd erupted for the host’s first gold of the championships. Vicaut took bronze, just 0.01 back.

“I ran a good race,” said a beaming Martina. The last time a Dutch sprinter won the men's European 100m title was back in 1938 when Martinus Osendarp took gold. Martina's victory also marked the first time that a European Championships host nation had won the men's 100m title.

Dina Asher-Smith won the women’s 200m in style. The Brit blitzed the bend and held a clear lead over 2012 European 100m champion Ivet Lalova-Collio as they hit the straight. The 20-year-old never looked troubled, crossing the line in 22.37 to become the first British winner of the title.

“I put myself in a good position and so I got a good start. I’m over the moon,” said Asher-Smith of her maiden title as a senior.

Lalova-Collio closed out to win silver in 22.52, while 20-year-old German Gina Luckenkemper showed great poise in the final 20 metres to take bronze in 22.74.

Another German, Cindy Roleder, prevailed in the 100m hurdles. She was sluggish out of the blocks but pulled away in the second half of the race to stop the clock at 12.62 – the fastest time by any European this year. Alina Talay of Belarus picked up silver in 12.68, while 2014 champion Tiffany Porter had to settle for bronze in 12.76.

Rutherford, Beitia and Schwanitz win again

In the long jump, Greg Rutherford demonstrated for an umpteenth time why he holds every outdoor title available to him.

After opening with 8.12m (-2.6m/s), his lead was taken by European indoor champion Michel Torneus, the Swede going out to a wind-assisted 8.21m (2.1m/s).

With the wind swirling, Rutherford found his winning formula in round five, going out to 8.25m (0.5m/s) to retain his title.

“It’s good to be the best in Europe again,” Rutherford said. “It is now about being the best in the world again.”

Torneus, the only other man to jump beyond eight metres, took silver while Dutchman Ignisious Gaisah took bronze with 7.93m.

Another seasoned performer prevailed in the women’s high jump. Ruth Beitia won her third successive title with a season’s best of 1.98m.

“The fact it is here in Amsterdam makes it doubly special,” said the 37-year-old, who won European under-23 gold in the same stadium 15 years ago.

Bulgarian Mirela Demireva and Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte cleared 1.96m without any previous failures before both fouling out at 1.98m, sharing the silver medal.

Christina Schwanitz was dominant as she retained shot put gold. Any one of her four legal throws would have won the competition, but it was her first – a season’s best of 20.17m – that measured as her winner.

“My motivation was last year’s [performance],” said the German, referring to the world title she also owns. “This is too much for me.”

Hungary’s European indoor champion Anita Marton had to settle for silver with 18.72m. Bronze went to Turkish record-holder Emel Dereli courtesy of a third-round 18.22m.

Vitezslav Vesely looked to have taken advantage in the javelin as world leader Thomas Rohler struggled. The Czech threw 83.59m to take a slender lead over Finland’s defending champion Antti Ruuskanen (82.44m) at half way.

But in round five, world junior record-holder Zigismunds Sirmais produced a personal best of 86.66m to leapfrog them both into first. There was no further movement in the medal places, meaning the Latvian picked up the senior European gold to go with the under-23 and junior titles from earlier in his career.

National records fall in 400m hurdles

There were a brace of national records in the men’s 400m hurdles semifinals.

Decathlete Karsten Warholm became the fastest Norwegian ever by edging a close first semifinal in 48.84, reigning champion Kariem Hussein just 0.03 back. Yasmani Escobar Copello won his semifinal in a 48.42 Turkish record, the fastest run by any European this year to move to second on the 2016 world list.

Elsewhere in qualifying, world indoor bronze medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi cleared 4.50m to advance into the pole vault final. Solomon Bockarie and Bruno Hortelano were fastest in the men’s 200m heats, both in 20.55.

Defending champions Martyn Rooney and Libania Grenot were fastest in the 400m semifinals.

Rooney won his race in 45.04 while past European champions Kevin Borlee and Pawel Maslak also moved through to the final.

Grenot comfortably won her semifinal in 50.43. Two-time world champion Christine Ohuruogu also advanced.

At Museumplein, Katharina Molitor (60.75m) and Barbora Spotakova (63.73m) – the world and European champions respectively – led the javelin qualifiers to advance to Saturday’s final. In the afternoon’s event in downtown Amsterdam, world discus champion Piotr Malachowski threw 64.15m to coast into Sunday’s final.

Thomas Byrne for the IAAF