The 20th European Athletics Championships were held in Barcelona for 6 days from Tuesday 27 July to Sunday 1 August. Britain had hopes of 10 – 15 medals and actually exceeded the amount of medals ever won by the team coming home with a well deserved 18.
The medal rush kicked off in the men’s 10000m where Mo Farah and Chris Thompson raced home in first and second place respectively. Mo then later went on to win the 5000m in style too and was completely over whelmed when he crossed the finish line. Unfortunately for the women, Jo Pavey was ruled out of the 5 and 10000m after picking up a toe injury.
In the other long distance events Hatti Dean smashed her PB in the steeple chase by 8 seconds, but unfortunately just missed out on a medal in 4th and just over a second outside of the British Record. The women won a bronze in the marathon team event, but this wasn’t’t counted on the official medal table for some complicated reason I won’t bore you with!
GB did well in the middle distances, excluding the men’s 1500m where 3 British finalists completely messed up their tactics and failed to bring home a medal. World Champion silver medallist Lisa Debriskey was unlucky to finish in 4th in the women’s 1500m after recently returning from an injury. Jenny Meadows did it for the girls in the 800m holding on for a bronze and Michael Rimmer was out sprinted for the win in the men’s version of the event, but grabbed a silver.
Now we come onto the sprints. My favourite events of course! Let’s start with the men’s 100m where Dwain Chambers was favourite for gold along with Christophe Lemaitre, a Frenchman and first white man to dip under 10secs. The final wasn’t won in a particular fast time, but Lemaitre came out on top and 4 athletes behind all clocked exactly the same time, 10.18secs. This resulted in Mark Lewis Francis, former World Junior Champion and GB hopeful snatching the silver and Chambers given 5th place. Lemaitre also won the 200m, by 100th of a second from Welshman Christian Malcolm. Laura Turner failed to make the final of the women’s 100m along with Emily Freeman in the 200m. The men’s 400m was really exciting, as it was more of a mind game than them running a great time. Michael Bingham got the silver and Martyn Rooney the bronze even though they both were given the same time.
There was disappointment in the hurdles, as 4th place World Championship performer, Will Sharman false started in the 110m semi finals. However, Britain still got gold with Andy Turner powering his way to the finish. There was more Welsh glory in the 400m hurdles, as David Green and Rhys Williams got a 1 – 2 finish. Perri Shakes Drayton continued the success in the women’s 400m hurdles and won a surprise bronze.
In the field events, Common Wealthand World Champion Phillips Idowu added European gold to his collection of titles in the triple jump. Chris Tomlinson jumped his way into bronze position in the long jump and Martyn Bernard was awarded the same colour medal in the high jump. On the women’s front no medals were won, but heptathlete Jess Ennis jumped, ran and threw her way to gold.
Finally, the relays had their ups and downs. The men and women both had awful baton changes in the 4 x 100m and failed to make the final. However, the men and women both medalled in the 4 x 400m with a shiny silver and bronze.
Overall, it was an amazing few days of European athletics. The next major event will be the Common Wealth Games in October, which promises to be jam packed with great performances too!