Day 3 track highlights

Day three started with the half-marathon—individual and team, male and female—and ended with the men’s 800 m, women’s 1500 m, and 100m. The program also included a number of high-quality field events. They kept the good wine to the end!

The 1500 was a race that seemed beforehand to be a race in which any of the 8 runners could win. There were three strong British girls and two fast Irish girls before you left the British Isles. Specialist 800m runner Jemma Reekie led most of the way around, with the field close enough to throw the proverbial blanket over them. Towards the finish, the vastly experienced Ciara Mageean took charge of winning 4:04.66 from Georgia Bell – what a brilliant year she had had with Agathe Guillemot of France third. It would have been a different and faster race in a Diamond League with a pacemaker, and I suspect Mageean would have won that, too!

Ciara Mageean, Munich 2022, photo by European Athletics

Dina Asher-Smith won the 100 in 10.99 from Ewa Swoboda, with Zaynab Dosso third (11.03) to win another medal for Italy.   Of course, there was a false start and a yellow card to keep us on our toes!  In her first senior championship, Amy Hunt reached the final and finished seventh. Hunt, who has had serious injuries, commented: “I stood on that start line with the biggest smile on my face; it has been a long journey for me, so to reach this point on the mountain is amazing, I can stop and be grateful, and be proud of myself for how far I have come. I genuinely stood on that start line thinking I could win it”.

Dina Asher-Smith, photo by European Athletics

Dina commented, “We’ve worked really hard on my technique, mechanics, and top-end speed, which I am very grateful for today. That is not normally my style of race, but I was able to run another sub-11 performance in a different way.

“I’ve had two sub-11 performances today, one slowing down and one speeding up, so I am ultimately happy. I’m happy to win any championships. I know there is such a high caliber of sprinters in Europe; they have phenomenal PBs, so I was just focusing on executing my race. It’s a step towards Paris, in a great direction.”

I know I am greedy, but I would have loved to see Darryl Neita facing Dina in the 100 final, but|Darryl decided in the end just to do the 200,

The European Athletics website referred to “redemption for Dina,” adding, “At Berlin 2018, she enjoyed an almost faultless championship, racing away with 100m, 200m, and 4x100m titles. But at Munich 2022, as an athlete with huge ambitions, she was disconsolate to come away with 200m silver and eighth-place in the 100m, pulling up with cramp in the final.” The 4 by 100 relay team messed up before the baton reached her.

The half-marathon road races in the early morning, finishing with a lap of the track, produced a win for Karolina Groval (1:08.09) and Yemaneberhan Crippa (1:01.03). Italy took the men’s team prize and Italy the women’s. A question is whether there is room in a championship program for a 10K, half-marathon, and marathon.

In other races, Gabriel Tual (France) won the 800 in 1:44.87, and Alice Finot (also France) the steeplechase in 9:16.22.