Sun, Jul 10, 2016 - Page 12 News List

OLYMPIC TRIALS: Dafne Schippers fires off Olympic warning

AFP, AMSTERDAM

Churandy Martina, left, runs in the men’s 200m final at the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam on Friday.Photo: EPA

Photo: EPA

Dafne Schippers fired out an Olympic warning by blasting to the European 100m title on Friday, while Dutch teammate Churandy Martina missed out on a sprint double after being disqualified.

In a dramatic session at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam featuring 11 finals, there was a mishap for French world record pole vault holder Renaud Lavillenie, while Turkey bagged their second and third gold medals thanks to their foreign legion.

However, the evening belonged to Dutch starlet Schippers, 24, who defended her title in style clocking 10.9 seconds in a race she completely dominated after hitting her stride at the 50m mark and turning on the afterburners.

“It was quite windy, so it was difficult to set a good time, but I am shaping up well for Rio,” said Schippers, with the Games just four weeks away.

There was drama for Martina, who crossed the line of the 200m with what he thought was a winning time of 20.37 seconds, just a day after sealing the 100m title.

However, he was later shown to have strayed into another lane and was disqualified, with Spain’s Bruno Hortelano handed gold with a time of 20.45 seconds.

Surprise package Turkey moved into provisional top place of the medals table thanks to two gold and three silver medals on the night, all won by foreign-born athletes.

First up was Cuban-born Yasmani Copello Escobar, who won the men’s 400m hurdles in 48.98 seconds.

Next came Polat Kemboi Arikan, formely known as Paul Kipkosgei Kemboi, who beat Turkish teammate Ali Kaya — once Kenyan Stanley Kiprotich Mukche — to the men’s 10,000m title.

There were two more silvers for Turkey, in the men’s 200m thanks to Azerbaijan-born sprinter Ramil Guliyev and the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with Kenyan-born Aras Kaya, formerly Amos Kibitok, who was only cleared to represent his new country four days ago.

The tone was set for Turkey’s foreign legion when Kenyan-born teenager Yasemin Can, aka Vivian Jemutai, strode to victory in the championships’ opening event, the women’s 10,000m.

Lavillenie, chasing a fourth European title, had a shocker in the pole vault, the Olympic champion only entering the competition at 5.75m after the 10 other vaulters had finished.

In blustery conditions, Lavillenie failed at each of his three attempts, leaving Poland’s Robert Sobera with a shock gold, his best of 5.6m beating Czech Jan Kudlicka into silver on countback.

“The wind was making things very difficult for us, but what frustrates me the most is that during the warm-up I cleared 5.8m twice without problems,” Lavillenie said. “I thought about starting at 5.7m, but after the warm-up I was confident that 5.75 would not be a problem, but hey, that’s sport. I’ll have to work hard now and try to do well in Rio.”

It was a good night for Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic, who won her fourth successive European title with a best of 69.97m in the discus.

Two-time world hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland also won her event for a third successive European title with a best of 78.14m from six fine efforts.

“I’m very happy with my third European title,” she said. “It was a test and I’m really satisfied that each throw went farther. I know now I am physically and psychologically ready for the Olympics.”

Briton Martyn Rooney and Cuban-born Italian Libania Grenot both defended their 400m titles, the former clocking 45.29 seconds to hold off Czech Pavel Maslak and the latter timing 50.73 seconds to edge out Frenchwoman Floria Guei.

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