Jo Pavey produced the performance of her life to win gold in a thrilling 10,000m final on the opening night of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
At the age of 40, and just weeks after taking 5000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games and less than a year after giving birth to her second child, Great Britain’s Pavey lifted the first major senior international title of her career.
Never mind a field packed with younger athletes, Pavey took over with 800m to go and never looked back at the Letzigrund Stadium, striding away from Clemence Calvin, of France, with 150m left and finding an extra kick in the home straight to triumph in 32:22.39.
Calvin was second in 32:23.58 with her teammate Laila Traby third in 32:26.03.
Having won silver in the 10,000m in Helsinki two years ago, Pavey has returned in some style.
Germany’s David Storl was also back in impressive fashion as he won the first gold medal of the Championships when he retained his shot put title.
Storl, the world champion, delivered the winning effort with his first go with 21.41m and no matter what the others did, they could not challenge him.
Spain’s Borja Vivas, with 20.86m, took silver and Tomasz Majewski, the Olympic champion from Poland, won bronze with 20.83m.
After the morning session of the decathlon, Germany’s Arthur Abele led with 2644 points, before the first event of the evening, the high jump, had the crowd captivated.
The reason was Belarusian Andrei Krauchanka who entered the competition with a personal best of 2.16m and ended it having won with a stunning 2.22m.
It was a thrilling duel between him and the bar – which eventually had too much of him when it was raised to 2.25m.
But the 1012 points he scored from this discipline put him in front overall with 3573 from German pair Kai Kazmirek, with 3551, and Abele, with 3429.
The final event of the first day, the 400m, changed the picture once more, with Kazmirek taking the honour of being the overnight leader after a run of 47.34 earned him 941.
He is in front with 4492 from Krauchanka with 4363 and Abele with 4310.
Christophe Lemaitre is chasing a hat-trick of titles in the 100m but it is French teammate Jimmy Vicaut who could upstage him this time.
The heats had a theme to them – with the quickest men in each dominating, particularly the winner of race four, Vicaut, who was in a flying 10.06. Lemaitre triumphed in 10.16, ahead of three Britons, Dwain Chambers in 10.18, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey with 10.19 and James Dasaolu with 10.22.
France’s Cindy Billaud won the opening semi-final of the 100m hurdles in 12.79 but Britain’s Tiffany Porter was even quicker as she took the second in 12.63.
Germany’s Robert Harting, the defending discus champion, had no trouble easing into the Wednesday’s discus final with the one and only throw he needed in the qualifying competition which kicked off the evening programme as he delivered an impressive 67.01m.
Poland’s Piot Malachowski, the European champion in 2010, made it through, but left it late to confirm his place with 64.98m from his final throw.
Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu, an Olympic, double world and Commonwealth Games champion, was in the the same heat as Italy’s Libania Grenot, Europe’s No 1, and the race proved to be a duel of these two.
Ohuruogu won in 51.40 with Grenot second in 51.90, but Ukraine’s Olha Zemlyak was quickest overall from her heat with 51.16.
Andreas Bube and Pierre-Ambrose Bosse, the men who won silver and bronze respectively in Helsinki, took first and second in the fourth and final heat of the first round of the 800m.
Denmark’s Bube won in 1:47.50 from Bosse, of France, in 1:47.54 with Ireland’s Mark English the quickest of the qualifiers with 1:47.45.
A second round effort of 6.72m was enough to send France’s defending champion Eloyse Lesueur into the final of the long jump where she will be joined by Russia’s double European Athletics indoor champion Darya Klishina, who produced a leap of 6.66m as did Serbia’s world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic while Germany’s Malaika Mihambo jumped an eye-catching 6.70m.
(Source: European Athletics)