Berlin bears witness to a glorious night for British sprinting

Zharnel Hughes lived up to his billing as pre-race favourite by clinching the men’s 100m title at the European Championships in Berlin following an incredibly tight race with compatriot Reece Prescod.

Hughes crossed the line in a championship record time of 9.95 (0.0m/sec) to take the first major individual gold of his senior career, just edging Prescod who legally broke the 10-second barrier for the first time with 9.96. Turkey’s Jak Ali Harvey was third in 10.01 while Britain’s CJ Ujah came fourth with a season’s best 10.06.

On what was a glorious night for British sprinting, the men stepped on to the track immediately after Dina Asher-Smith had smashed her women’s 100m national record for gold.

There were only seven men in the final as Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut, who had been fastest in the semi-finals with 9.97 which set the championship record Hughes subsequently broke, had to withdraw through injury.

The Britons seized their chance.

“This is what I really wanted and worked for it,” said a delighted Hughes. “I got disqualified at the Commonwealth Games (in the 200m final after thinking he’d won), so this victory is very important for me.

“Before the championships, we were talking with my coach about how to handle the pressure and to stay focused, execute well. And I really did not feel any pressure coming to the stadium. It was a great day for Great Britain winning two golds and one silver in sprints. I think it is the good way towards the Olympics if I stay healthy.”

Prescod said: “I am so glad. These are my first big championships and I come home with a medal. I cannot complain. I am obviously in great shape.”

However, he added: “This medal is a bit bitter sweet. Because my plan was to win today, but I am still young. I work hard, I train hard, I push myself hard but at the race I am pretty chilled, pretty relaxed. My next target is to deliver more performances like this one.”

Duckworth leads decathlon

Tim Duckworth has put himself in with a chance of also being a British medal winner at these championships, after finishing day one at the top of the decathlon standings.

With the legendary Daley Thompson looking on from the stands, Duckworth began the evening session in fourth place, having led after two events in a morning which saw world champion Kevin Mayer withdraw following a no mark in the long jump, and got off to the best possible start, regaining the overall lead in commanding style thanks to a personal best in the high jump of 2.17m, cleared at the second attempt. Germany’s Niklas Kaul was closest to him in the discipline thanks to a 2.08 clearance.

America-based Duckworth, the NCAA champion, recorded a 400m time of 49.87 in the day’s closing heat to sit top on 4380 points, ahead of Germany’s Arthur Abele (4285) and Norwegian Martin Roe (4282).

“I can’t complain,” said Duckworth. “The high jump was not what I was expecting but I have junped 2.17 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.”

The men’s 10,000m effectively came down to a 400m contest, which was won by Morhad Amdouni. The Frenchman timed his finishing kick to perfection and crossed the line in 28:11.22, ahead of Belgium’s Bashir Abdi (28:11:76) and young Italian Yemaneberhan Crippa (28:12.15).

Spain’s European 5000m medallist Adel Mechaal, who had been prominent throughout the race, had to settle for fourth in 28:13.78 and was followed immediately by the first of the three Britons in the race, Andy Vernon (28:16.90). His compatriots Chris Thompson (28:33.12) and Alex Yee (28:58.86) were 11th and 14th in the particularly draining and hot conditions.

The 400m hurdles world champion Karsten Warholm made sure of his passage to Wednesday’s final, practically jogging over the line in the fastest qualifying time of 48.67. Poland’s Patrik Dobek was the second-fastest qualifier in a season’s best 48.75, while Ireland’s Thomas Barr progressed after running 49.10 for second place in heat three. Britain’s Jack Green was sixth in the same heat with 49.84 as his European campaign came to an end.

Poland in pole position in throws

The men’s hammer throw came down to a battle between the Polish duo who sit at the top of the European rankings.

Wojciech Nowicki, the Olympic and European bronze medallist from 2016, is now undoubtedly the Polish No.1 and secured the gold with a third-round effort of 80.12m.

The man he deposed, defending European champion and three-time world champion Pawel Fajdek, was second in 78.69m with Hungary’s Bence Halasz third in 77.36m. Britain’s Commonwealth champion Nick Miller was left feeling hugely disappointed, however, after a best of just 73.16m which meant he could only finish 10th.

Poland also dominated a high quality shot put competition (the top six threw 21m or better), with 2016 European silver medallist Michal Haratyk upgrading to gold on this occasion.

His third-round effort of 21.72m saw off the challenge of his fellow countryman Konrad Bukowiecki, who set a personal best of 21.66m which was also a national under-23 record.

Germany’s two-time world champion, three-time European champion and Olympic silver medallist David Storl could not conjour another golden moment in front of the home crowd, taking bronze with his opening throw of 21.41m.

A women’s events report can be found here.

» Results can be found here, while a day-by-day guide to the upcoming action in Berlin is here. See the August 9 and 16 editions of AW magazine for coverage