12 Aug 2018

Innovative new European Championships hailed an outstanding success

Eleven days of sensational sporting action drew to a close today at the inaugural multi-sport 2018 European Championships in Scotland and Germany, with Russia topping the overall medal table, closely followed by joint hosts Great Britain and Italy in third. 

The trophy was presented to Russian team members by Rocco Cattaneo, President of the Union of European Cyclists, at the closing celebrations in George Square, Glasgow on Sunday evening (12 August).

Glasgow and Berlin hosted the first-ever European Championships with the Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon taking place across Scotland and the Athletics in Berlin, Germany.

The inaugural multi-sport 2018 European Championships saw 4,500 athletes from 52 nations compete, with new European Champions crowned in a total of 187 medal events representing 33 countries. 

The event was broadcast across Europe with more than 3,500hours of free-to-air programming across 43 territories in Europe, estimated to reach an audience of approximately 1.03 billion viewers. 

Amongst the sporting highlights…

Athletics

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When the giant screen in the Olympic Stadium flashed out the crowd figure of 60,500 during the sensational Saturday evening session of athletics, everything you needed to know about the success of the track and field was there in five digits.

It was as big a crowd as anyone could remember for the European Athletics Championships and put the finishing touch to a remarkable week of competition.

And those in the stadium were treated to the second part of one of the greatest stories ever told at the European Championships in the men's 5000m and the sensational young talent of Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

An athlete who is not 18 until next month, he became the star of Berlin as he won his second gold medal in less than 24 hours after his amazing 1500m glory the night before.

What a future this teenager has and no-one will ever forget where it started on the senior stage - here at the European Championships.

The pictures on Friday of the three Ingebrigtsen brothers celebrating together on the track after the 1500m final were a sight to behold, as Henrik, who had finished fourth, and Filip, who had been the defending champion, wrapped their arms around their young sibling. And then the next night, it was an Ingebrigtsen one-two as Henrik finished second behind Jakob in the 5000m.

All expectation before the championships was on the battle between the brilliant German javelin throwers – Thomas Rohler, Johannes Vetter and Andreas Hofmann and the crowd on Thursday evening were not disappointed.

And it was the Olympic champion Rohler who triumphed with a superb 89.47m.

It was a fabulous championships for the hosts as medals flowed consistently including the wonderful glory of Arthur Abele in the decathlon as he triumphed at the age of 32 and cried tears of disbelief in a year where he came back from an illness that had left the side of his face paralysed.

So to then battle through 10 gruelling events and hear his country's national anthem boom was the stuff of dreams.

Dina Asher-Smith showed she is the best sprinter in the world at the moment as she won the 100m and 200m double in flying style, breaking the Great Britain national record on both occasions, and what about Karsten Warholm, Norway's 400m hurdles world champion, who won the European title 12 months on from his London glory?

Each day there were moments to treasure, from the 10,000m triumph on the opening night of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter to bring Israel their first ever women's gold medal at the European Championships right through to Saturday evening, where Poland's Adam Kszczot became the first man to win the 800m on three occasions and the consistent brilliance of Croatian Sandra Perkovic, whose victory in the discus saw her become the first athlete to win five gold medals in the same event at the European Championships.

In Berlin, history truly was made wherever you looked.

Swimming

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Russia topped the medal table with 10 golds in a haul of 26 after a thrilling seven-day competition at Tollcross International Swimming Centre

The final outcome came down to the last race of the meet, where victory by the Russian women’s 4x100m medley relay team ensured they would edge hosts Great Britain, who finished one gold shy with nine for a total of 24 with Italy in third with 22.

Adam Peaty (GBR) was named male swimmer of the meet after a haul of four gold medals, as well as a world record of 57.10 seconds in the 100m breaststroke, while Sarah Sjoestroem (SWE) was awarded 'best female swimmer' after also claiming four golds, 10 years after taking her first European title as a 14-year-old.

As well as the 100m breaststroke, Peaty won the 50m – setting championship records in each round - along with the men’s 4x100m medley relay and the mixed equivalent in which the quartet set a European mark. Peaty has now won four titles at each of the last three European Championships.

Medal-table toppers Russia also secured the team trophy which is decided on a points basis according to a nation’s number of finalists ahead of Italy and Great Britain.

Russian performances of note came from Yuliya Efimova, who completed a clean sweep of the three breaststroke events as well as relay gold and silver, and Kliment Kolesnikov who left Glasgow with a total of six medals.

Kolesnikov only turned 18 last month, but his transition to the senior ranks has been seamless. Of six medals, he claimed golds in the 50m backstroke – in which he set a world record of 24.00 seconds – 100m backstroke and the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Diving

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After a week-long battle with Great Britain, Russia topped the medal table at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh with five gold, four silver and three bronze medals. 

Competing in her home town, Great Britain’s Grace Reid had lifted the team to the top of the medal table on the penultimate day of competition by grabbing a dramatic gold medal with her final dive in the Women’s 3m Springboard competition. 

Russia picked up a further bronze in the Women’s 3m Synchronised Springboard competition, but remained in second place overall going into the final event of the meet; the Men’s 10m Platform. The Russian’s strength in the event shone through with Aleksandr Bondar taking gold ahead of compatriot Nikita Shleikher in silver. 

Great Britain finished second in the medal table with four gold, five silver and one bronze medal. 

The battle between the two nations had been ongoing throughout the Championships, with Britain taking an early lead with two golds on day 6 of the Championships from Jack Laugher in 1m springboard and the synchronised pair Eden Cheng and Louis Toulson. Laugher’s fine form continued with a second gold in the 3m springboard and silver in 3m synchronised pair.

Elsewhere, Celine Maria Van Duijn’s gold medal for the Netherlands in the Women’s 10m Platform was undoubtedly one of the biggest triumphs of the Championships. Beating all of the pre-event favourites she was the first Dutch diver to win gold since the famous days of Edwin and Daphne Jongejans in the late 80’s and early 90’s. 

There was also cause for celebration as Armenian duo Vladimir Harutyunyan and Lev Sargsyan won bronze in the men’s synchronised 10m Platform - the country’s first-ever major diving medal. 

Open Water

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The Netherlands showed their dominance in open water swimming at Loch Lomond shores, winning a total of 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. Sharon Van Rouwendaal was the standout star of the competition winning the 5k and 10k races before helping her team take gold in 5k Mixed Team Relay. On the final day of competition she added to her tally with a silver medal in the Women’s 25k; narrowly missing out on her fourth gold by just 0.1 of a second. 

Countryman Ferry Weertman retained his 10k title in a dramatic photo finish against Hungarian Kristof Rasovszky. The Hungarians finished second in the overall medal table (two gold, one silver), with Italy finishing third (one gold, one silver, one bronze) after Arianna Bridi clinched victory in the Women’s 25k. 

Synchronised Swimming 

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In a competition which featured men competing for only a second time at a European Championships, Russia continued their phenomenal success story in the sport, winning gold medals in every event apart from the free combination, which they chose not to enter.

Svetlana Kolesnichenko (RUS) was the main star for Russia, collecting four golds in both the technical and free categories of the duet events, with the up-and-coming Varvara Subbotina (RUS), and the solo. The17-year-old Subbotina won a total of three golds, while Shurochkina and the rest of the Russian team took the titles for the technical and free team events.

In an odd twist, Italy took home the Championships Trophy, since Russia's absence from the free combination meant sacrificing the overall award and managing only fourth in the Championships points tally, also behind Spain and Greece.

Track Cycling

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Led by star names Kirsten Wild and Jeffrey Hoogland, the Netherlands topped the track cycling medal table at the Glasgow 2018 European Track Cycling Championships with five gold and three bronze.

Hoogland won gold in the men's individual sprint and the team sprint, where he was the deciding factor. His 35-year-old team-mate struck gold in the women's scratch race and omnium, as well as a bronze in the madison, taking her European medal tally to 14.

The Netherlands' fifth gold came courtesy of Matthijs Buchli in the 1km time trial, with teammate Sam Ligtlee taking bronze.

The home crowd, who filled the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome each day of competition, were rewarded with 10 British medals - four gold, three silver and three bronze.

In her first competition since the birth of her first child, Laura Kenny won gold in the women's team pursuit and elimination race, to make it 12 European titles in total.

Katie Archibald also won gold in the team pursuit, but had to settle for silver in the individual pursuit and omnium and fourth place in the madison, despite forming what looked like a dream team with Kenny.

From established stars to one for the future, 19-year-old Ethan Hayter won a surprise gold medal in the men's omnium, beating a star-studded field that included reigning Olympic and world champions.

But the most successful track cyclist was Daria Shmeleva (RUS), who scored a hat-trick of golds in the women's sprint, team sprint and time trial, as well as a bronze in keirin.

BMX

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With a surprising one-two, British BMXers Kyle Evans and Kye Whyte respectively won men's gold and silver at a sold-out Glasgow BMX Centre in Knightswood Park on Saturday.

To the joy of a raucous, sell-out home crowd, Evans managed to lead the final top to bottom to take his first European title, while his younger team-mate, Whyte, took silver as he pipped pre-event favourite and world champion Sylvain Andre (FRA) at the photo finish.

In the men's finals there were 11 French and eight Dutch riders, with the two BMX powerhouses expected to sweep the podium at the start of the day. 

The major upset of the day came from 2015 world champion Niek KIMMANN (NED) who did not advance from the semifinals, as the 2018 world cup leader with four wins this season ended up in lowly 16th after struggling on the challenging track in Glasgow.

However there were no surprises in the women's event, as Laura Smulders (NED) dominated to secure back-to-back European titles, two months after winning gold at the world championships.

Mountain Biking

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Switzerland completed a clean sweep when Jolanda Neff and Lars Forster collected gold in the Women’s and Men’s Cross Country Mountain Biking at Cathkin Braes. 

Neff lived up to her pre-race favourite tag, producing a dazzling display in the Scottish mist. She dominated the race, taking the lead on the first of five laps to claim her third European gold medal. 

The 25-year-old showed no fear as she flew over the bumps and took the tricky, stony descents with skill and bravery to clock a time of one hour 31 minutes 29 seconds over the 28km course. She won by just over two minutes from France's Pauline Ferrand

Prevot with Belgium's Githa Michiels almost 90 seconds further back in the bronze medal position.

In contrast, teammate Lars Forster (SUI) powered away on the final lap to win the men's mountain bike gold medal. He finally broke the dogged challenge of Italy's Luca Braidot on the final lap of the 33km race to win by 24 seconds, with Spain's David Valero

Serrano working his way through the field to take bronze.

Road Cycling

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It was job well done for the Italians as they took gold in both road race events at Glasgow 2018. Marta Bastianelli ended Dutch dominance of Women's Road Race with a perfectly timed sprint finish at Glasgow Green. She saw off the formidable Marianne Vos, the defending champion, preventing a hat-trick of wins for the Dutch. Germany’s Lisa Brennauer took an impressive bronze medal less than 24 hours after taking the individual pursuit title at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, taking her personal medal tally to three. 

In a rain-soaked Men’s Road Race on the final day of the Championships, a sprint finish saw Matteo Trentin take the gold after a gruelling race lasting just under six hours. Mathieu Van Der Poel of the Netherlands finished second, with Belgian Wout Van Aert in third. 

The Netherlands weren’t to be toppled in the Women’s Time Trial as Ellen Van Dijk won her third successive European title ahead of compatriot Anna Van Der Breggen. In the Men’s Time Trial, Beligian Victor Campenaerts also retained his title, pipping Spain’s Jonathan Castroviejo by just 0.63 seconds. Germany took bronze in both events through Trixi Worrack and Max Schachmann.

Golf

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Golfing history was made as part of Glasgow 2018 when the European Golf Team Championships - the only new sport event in the programme – took place at the iconic Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course. Players from 15 nations competed for medals across the innovative format which comprise Men’s and Women’s Team events as well as a revolutionary Mixed team format. 

It was a golden day for Iceland as their foursome of Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Birgir Hafthorsson, Olafia Kristinsdottir and Axel Boasson not only made history winning the Mixed Team event but also claimed their country’s first medal of the entire European Championships. The silver medals went to a determined Great Britain 3’s team of Michele Thomson, Connor Syme, Liam Johnston & Meghan MacLaren beating their higher ranked team mates to the podium while the bronze medal play-off between Spain and Sweden 2 ended in exciting fashion after Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden holed a 30 foot birdie putt to clinch third place. 

In a nail-biting final, Sweden created history winning gold in the inaugural Women’s Team Championship. Their third string team of Linda Wessberg and Cajsa Persson narrowly beat France 2’s team of Justine Dreher and Manon Molle on the second extra hole after the French mounted an impressive come back. 

After double disappointment for both women’s Great Britain teams in the semi-finals, they went onto face each other in the bronze medal match. Great Britain 3’s team of Michele Thompson and Meghan MacLaren walked away as double European Championships medallists after a 3&1 victory over favourites Laura Davies and Georgia Hall.

In the men’s final Iceland couldn’t double their gold medal haul from the previous day being narrowly beaten by the Spanish number one team of Pedro Oriol and Scott Fernandez 1up. Whilst in the Men’s Championship bronze medal match it was Italy’s second tier team of Francesco Laporta and Alessandro Tadini who beat Spain’s number two team 5&3.

Gymnastics

The Russians dominated in the team competitions at The SSE Hydro, retaining both the Men’s and Women’s Team European titles. In the women’s competition France won silver and the Netherlands took bronze. Great Britain won silver in the Men’s competition with France taking bronze. 

Belgium impressed in the Women’s Apparatus Finals, winning three medals including Nina Derwael who retained her Uneven Bars title after becoming the first-ever Belgian gymnast to become a European Champion in the 2017 European Championships. 

There was cause for cheer for the home crowd on the final day with three medals for British and Irish athletes. Dom Cunningham took a spectacular gold in the Floor Final, before reigning Commonwealth Champion Rhys McClenaghan took the pommel horse title. Courtney Tulloch took bronze in the Rings Final, while Russia continued to impress with five medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze). 

Russia’s excellence sees them top the medal table with an impressive eight medals (three gold, two silver, three bronze). France finished in second with one gold, one silver and one bronze; while Great Britain, Netherlands and Belgium finished joint third, each with one gold, one silver and one bronze. 

Rowing

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Romania's rowers produced a series of strong performances over the course of four action-packed days of racing at Strathclyde Country Park to top the Glasgow 2018 European Championships medal table with three golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

Madalina Beres (ROU) and Denisa Tilvescu (ROU) won two gold medals, in the women's pair and also the women's eight. The Romanian men's four also won gold and Romanian silvers came from their men's double sculls crew and women's four, while the men's eight and men's pair both secured bronze.

Four countries won two European titles each at Glasgow 2018 - Italy, France, Switzerland and Norway and the regatta ended as many had predicted with a win by Germany in the men's eight, the sixth successive European title for the German flagship boat.

Great Britain’s rowers capped off their European Championships campaign with two bronze medals on the final day of racing at Strathclyde Country Park.
Following the silver medals won by the men’s four and women’s eight on Saturday, Sam Mottram took third place in the lightweight men’s single sculls and the duo of Jack Beaumont and Harry Leask took bronze in the men’s double sculls.

Triathlon

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With three medals, France topped the triathlon medal tally at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships to continue their increasing dominance in the sport. 

The French squad was on the podium in each of the three elite events contested on the hilly course at Strathclyde Country Park.

Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) secured bronze in the women's event while a confident Pierre Le Corre (FRA) grabbed gold in the men's event. Both contributed to the team's success in the mixed relay, partnering Leonie Periault and Dorian Coninx.

Olympic champion Nicola Spirig (SUI) won her sixth gold medal at a European Championships to make women's triathlon history, and added silver in the mixed relay on Saturday to cap a stellar weekend.

Her attack on the bike leg of the individual event proved decisive and she showed the same strength in the relay, powering from sixth to take the lead and put her team on the podium.

Marten Van Riel (BEL) was the third double medallist of Glasgow 2018, picking up bronze in both the individual and relay events. He anchored the Belgian team of Claire Michel, Jelle Geens and Valerie Barthelemy to a solid third place in the relay after running clear of Hungary's Mark Devay.

Spain and Great Britain completed the roster of medal-winning countries. Fernando Alarza (ESP) put in a remarkable performance on his individual run leg, managing an astonishing comeback from seventh after the bike to clinch silver in the men's event

Great Britain's 2017 European champion Jessica Learmonth secured an excellent silver behind Spirig in the women's individual event, continuing a solid season.

Double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (GBR) found the run leg of his race too fast-paced after a season disrupted by injury and finished fourth.