10 Aug 2018

World champions show their class, as Rohler wins German javelin joust

Timing is everything. Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion, won the battle of German javelin throwers as he delivered his best just when he needed to at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

In the end this much-anticipated battle between the three superstars of German javelin throwing - Rohler, Andreas Hofmann and world champion Johannes Vetter - was dominated by one man.

Rohler had needed his last throw of qualifying to make it through to the final, but his third round effort of 89.47 metres blew the rest out of the water to clinch the gold medal.

The 2017 world and European under-23 400m hurdles gold medallist Karsten Warholm (NOR) can now add 'European champion' to his resume.

Still only 22, the Norwegian had just too much for Turkey's Yasmani Copello, 31, as the pair went head-to-head in the home straight with one barrier left. Warholm won in 47.64 seconds, breaking his European under-23 record by 0.01 seconds, with Copello second in a national record of 47.81.

Ireland's Thomas Barr ecstatically took bronze in 48.31, in the process becoming the first male athlete representing Ireland ever to win a medal in a sprint event at a European championships. He follows in the footsteps of female hurdler Derval O'Rourke who was 100m hurdles champion in 2006 and 2010.  

Like Warholm, Turkey's Ramil Guliyev was a champion from the London 2017 world championships. He too is now champion of Europe after a scintillating performance in the 200m final. He won in 19.76, smashing the championship best of 19.85.

In an incredibly tight finish for second, silver went the way of Great Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, sharing the same time of 20.04 with Switzerland's Alex Wilson, whose run was a national record.

Greece's Ekaterina Stefanidi broke her own championship record with a leap of 4.85m as she won a superb pole vault to add the 2018 European crown to her Olympic and world titles. 

It was a great night for Greece as they celebrated a one-two with Nikoleta Kiriakopolou taking second with 4.80m. Britain's Holly Bradshaw won bronze with 4.75m.

Hot favourite in the 3000m steeplchase Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (FRA) made no mistake as he extended his amazing record at the European championships. He has now won a gold medal at the last five championships, with four titles over the barriers and the other in the 1500m in Zurich in 2014.

Germany had big hopes in the 100m hurdles, but Belarusian Elvira Herman had other ideas. The European under-20 champion in 2015 and world U20 champion in 2016, she now has her first senior title after a blistering performance saw her charge through from lane three to win in 12.67 ahead of German duo Pamela Dutkiewicz and Cindy Roleder.

Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson put the gloss to a superb first day by running a heptathlon championship record of 22.88 in the 200m to lead overnight with 4017 points from Olympic and world champion Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) with 3930. Germany's Carolin Schafer lies in third with 3848.