James Dasaolu wins 100m gold at European Championships

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer in Zurich
European Championships: James Dasaolu sprints to 100m gold

James Dasaolu capped a brilliant night for British athletics as he won European 100m gold to finally convert his rich talent into a major medal.

Dasaolu's long-awaited breakthrough came after golds for Mo Farah and sprint hurdler Tiffany Porter, with a silver for Andy Vernon behind Farah and bronzes for Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Ashleigh Nelson.

And none will celebrate with more satisfaction than Dasaolu, a sprinter capable of running 9.91 seconds but beset by injuries and never before able to perform at his classy best over three championship rounds.

The 26-year-old was only seventh fastest from his blocks but came through with his trademark mid-race surge to hold off reigning champion Christophe Lemaitre, with Aikines-Aryeetey pipping veteran Dwain Chambers to the podium by two hundredths of a second.

James Dasaolu's rise to glory
2010: Makes senior major debut for Great Britain at the European Championships in Barcelona, finishing third in his 100m semi-final
2012: Finishes seventh in his 100m semi-final at the London Olympics
2013: Wins 60m silver at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, then runs a personal best of 9.91 seconds - the second fastest time ever by a Briton behind Linford Christie - at the British Championships in Birmingham. Also finishes eighth at his first World Championships
2014: Wins 100m gold at the European Championships in Zurich

Dasaolu's time of 10.06 seconds saw him finish well clear of Lemaitre's 10.13, the time worth more on a cold, wet Zurich night and still the joint third fastest winning time in European 100m final history.

"It's great to be the European champion," Dasaolu said after a lengthy lap of honour. "I'm still trying to take it all in.

"I didn't have a great start but I battled through. Track and field always has lots of ups and downs - I've had my hamstring injury but fast forward to Zurich in August and I'm the European champion."

Tiffany Porter wins 100m hurdles gold

Porter held off the challenge of another French threat in Cindy Billaud to win her own first major title in 12.79.

It was the first sprint hurdle gold for a British woman at a Europeans and, if Porter was not at her fluent best on a chill evening, her start got her clear of Billaud and her dip kept her lead by three hundredths of a second.

"This is very special, I'd not won gold before so I'm thrilled to finally get one," she said.

"When you see your team-mates doing so well it really spurs you on in your event. It's very satisfying to win."

Nelson had earlier won a brilliant 100m bronze behind Dafne Schippers and Myriam Soumare to secure a first medal for a British woman in the event in 40 years.

Twenty-three-year-old Nelson ran a personal best in the heats and clocked 11.22 seconds into a strong headwind of 1.7m/s, her 18-year-old team-mate Desiree Henry back in seventh in her first major final.

BBC Sport commentator Paula Radcliffe
"Great Britain might be on track for one of our best medal hauls ever at a European Championships, and we're only on day two. Jo Pavey set the ball rolling in the 10,000m on Tuesday, and we've followed that up tonight with some tremendous performances."

But Dasaolu's performance was the pick, his first senior title meaning he joins Darren Campbell and Linford Christie on Britain's roll of honour in European sprinting.

Frenchman Jimmy Vicault, the only man in the field to have gone under 10 seconds this year, looked the clear favourite in the heats but withdrew before the semi-finals with a thigh injury.

Watch Ashleigh Nelson win 100m European bronze

With Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt watching on from the stands, Aikines-Aryeetey appeared lucky not to be disqualified after twitching in his blocks.

But he was given a warning rather than a red card for a false start and made the most of his second chance to get onto a podium for the first time.

"I've got my medal, I'm kind of speechless," the 25-year-old said.

"Congratulations to James - we've done what we needed to do and we grew up together, so this is great.

"This is a landmark moment for me. I've been through so many tough injuries so big thanks to everyone who's helped me through. I just want to hug everyone right now."

The 36-year-old veteran Chambers said: "It was tough but I gave it my all and that's all I could do. I'm not sure how I missed out.

"Congratulations to James and Harry for their medals. I was in their position many moons ago and that's the way the cookie crumbles."

With Jo Pavey's 10,000m gold on Tuesday evening, it means Great Britain has four gold medals in only two days, matching their haul from the entire Championships last time out.

And there may be more to follow after Martyn Rooney ran an impressive 45.40 seconds easing down to go into Friday's 400m final along with his team-mates Conrad Williams and Matt Hudson-Smith.

World champion Christine Ohuruogu is also into her 400m final, albeit in less impressive form than she displayed in Tuesday's heat.

Thursday morning sees both the men's and women's 200m heats get under way, as well as the men's pole vault. Team captain Goldie Sayers lines up in the women's javelin final in the evening.

Aikines-Aryeetey and Dasaolu are coached by Rana Ryder and Steve Fudge respectively
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Dasaolu are coached by Rana Ryder and Steve Fudge respectively
Dwain Chambers
Dwain Chambers, 36, won silver at the European Championships 16 years ago in Budapest
France's silver medallist Christophe Lemaitre won the 100m title two years ago in Helsinki
France's silver medallist Christophe Lemaitre won the 100m title two years ago in Helsinki

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