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European Athletics Championships Retrospective Day 2

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Throughout the end of year holiday period, European Athletics is offering a day by day review of the European Athletics Championships held from 12-17 August in Zurich.  

Day 2, Wednesday 13 August, Shippers bridges the gap with Blankers-Koen

A sensational day of seven finals - and the completion of the decathlon - at the European Athletics Championships and one which established Dafne Schippers on the world map while once more showing Mo Farah’s brilliance as the best distance runner in the sport.

It had all begun early in the morning, with the rain pouring on to the streets of Zurich as the crowds gathered for the men’s 20km walk.

But from underneath their umbrellas they were treated to a brilliant race which saw Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez put in a superb late surge to take the title by just one second in 1:19.44 from Russia’s Aleksandr Ivanov who had looked like he was going to triumph as he led with two kilometres left in a race where another Russian, Denis Strelkov, was third, again just a second a adrift.

"Spain has a great tradition in race walking," said Lopez. "It is a big responsibility to keep that going."

There was no such tradition on the shoulders of Schippers.

It had been 64 years since Fanny Blankers-Koen had been the last Dutchwoman to win the 100m at a European Athletics Championships and only a few weeks earlier Schippers might have been more likely to be preparing for the heptathlon.

But success in both the 100m and 200m at the IAAF Diamond League in Glasgow had changed her plans and it proved a great move.

She was just so powerful in the second half of the 100m final as she stormed to victory in 11.12 from France’s Myriam Soumaré in 11.16 and Ashleigh Nelson, of Great Britain, who was third in 11.22.

Shippers said: "This win is really good for Netherlands. I am honoured to join Fanny Blankers-Koen as a Dutch champion in the European 100 metres."

In the men’s 100m, which concluded the evening, there was victory for Great Britain’s James Dasalou as he produced a fine run to win in 10.06 and deny France’s Christophe Lemaitre a hat-trick of titles. He was second in 10.13 with Dasalou’s teammate Harry Aikines-Aryeetey third in 10.22.

His victory came in 90 minutes of celebration for Britain because Tiffany Porter won the 100m hurdles in 12.76, as she beat France’s Cindy Billaud, second in 12.79, and Germany’s Cindy Roleder, third in 12.82, while over the 25 laps of the 10,000m, Farah did not have it all his own way as he won in 28:08.11 from teammate Andy Vernon in 28:08.66 with Turkey’s Ali Kaya third in 28:08.72.

Belarusian Andrei Krauchanka won the biggest outdoor event of his career as he took gold in the decathlon with 8,616 points from Kevin Mayer, of France, with 8,521 and Russia’s Ilya Shkurenyov with 8,498.

Robert Harting was always the favourite to defend his discus crown and he made sure he remained the best in the business - he is also the Olympic and world champion - as he won with his third throw of 66.07m to beat Estonia’s Gerd Kanter, second with 64.75m, and Robert Urbanek, of Poland, who was third with 63.81m.

And he was not the only athlete to retain a title as Eloyse Lesueur did so too in the long jump - and by the narrowest of margins. She won with 6.85m from Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic with Russia’s Darya Klishina third with 6.65m.