Two new European champions announced themselves here tonight over the 100 metres as Great Britain’s James Dasaolu and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won their first big track titles.
Dasaolu, 26, made his mark as a major talent last year in winning the European Indoor silver medal over 60m and ran 9.91 for the 100m, ranking him joint third on the European all-time list with Churandy Martina, just behind Linford Christie 9.87 and Francis Obikwelu 9.86.
After the frustration of missing the World Indoors and Commonwealth Games this season as a result of an untimely muscle tear in his thigh, Dasaolu seized his opportunity to end the year on a high as he dominated the race from the start.
He left defending champion, Christophe Lemaitre of
, bashing his head
in frustration after having to settle for silver in 10.13 behind the Briton’s
“It's great to be the European champion,” said Dasaolu, whose ambitions had been assisted by the late withdrawal from the semifinals of
’s Jimmy Vicaut,
fastest qualifier in 10.06, with a muscle strain. France
“I'm still trying to take it all in,” he added. “I didn't have a great start but I battled through so I'm happy. Track and field always has lots of ups and downs - I've had my hamstring injury but fast forward to
in August and I'm
the European champion. Zurich
“It's a lovely thing to get my first senior outdoor gold medal; I'm just going to enjoy it. I wasn't sure if I was going to be here at the beginning of the year. The weather wasn't the best and we were delayed by half an hour but I zoned out and focused on the job in hand.
“My coach told me to focus on the drive phase and just to execute the best I can and that's what I did.”
Schippers began the season as a heptathlete, and will almost certainly start next season as a heptathlete - but the 22-year-old Dutch athlete is finishing this year as a sprinter, and after winning the European title in 11.12 despite a headwind of 1.7mps, she is halfway to emulating the 100 and 200m double of her illustrious fellow countrywoman Fanny Blankers-Koen at the European Championships of 1950.
More: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/news/article=100m-magic-the-letzigrund-stadium/Photo: ©Getty Images