Lemaitre retains 100m crown
Christophe Lemaitre lunged for the line to edge out French compatriot Jimmy Vicaut and retain his European 100m title in Helsinki yesterday.
The 22-year-old followed up his 2010 Barcelona win in a time of 10.09sec, with Vicaut claiming silver in 10.12. Norway’s Saidy Ndure (10.17) came in third.
Tension was high at the start after two false starts. Sent off at the third attempt Lemaitre made up ground to overhaul Vicaut and snatch victory on the line.
Visibly moved by the result he sunk to the ground, banging his fists on the grass before draping a French tricolor round his shoulders.
This performance cemented Lemaitre’s standing as Europe’s top sprinter but he is going to have to turn on the power even more to make an impression against Usain Bolt and company at the London Olympics.
The two sprinters responsible for the false starts were Lithuania’s Rytis Sakalauskas and Italian Simone Collio.
Earlier, Bulgarian Ivet Lalova produced a scintillating finish to claim the women’s 100m crown.
The 28-year-old, who was seventh in last summer’s worlds in South Korea, was being led by Norwegian Ezinne Okparaebo and Ukraine’s Olesya Povh but kicked in the final 15 metres to win in 11.28 seconds.
Arms flailing, Lalova’s dip for the line in crisp, wet conditions edged out Povh for silver (11.32sec), the Ukrainian winning a photo-finish with late-runner Lina Grincikaite of Lithuania, with Okparaebo pushed into fourth.
Defending champion Verena Sailer of Germany could only manage sixth (11.42sec).
Russian Olga Golovkina won the 5,000m, timing a final-strait assault to perfection to clock 15:11.70 and finish ahead of Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Kovalenko and Portugal’s Sara Moreira.