It was a golden evening in Amsterdam as Britain’s Greg Rutherford and Dina Asher-Smith claimed gold medals at the European Championships.
Asher-Smith, 20, stormed to victory in the 200m running a seasons best, of 22.37 seconds, in the process. Her victory makes her the first ever British woman to win the 200m crown at a European Championships.
The young Brit never looked troubled, as she flew round the bend and only started to slightly tie up in the last 30 metres. She’ll be feeling extremely positive ahead of her first ever Olympic Games in Rio.
It wasn’t as easy for Rutherford; the Olympic and world champion was made to work hard to retain his long jump title. Sweden’s Michel Torneus produced a stunning attempt of 8.21metres with his first jump, which Rutherford would only overtake in the fifth round with his eventual winning mark of 8.25metres.
The British jumper proved once again that he is a championship performer and can deliver a top quality performance when it really matters. Rutherford became the first man in 54 years to retain the European long jump crown; another impressive feat that he can add to the five major titles he currently holds.
The Olympics are just around the corner and Rutherford is fully aware that distances like 8.25m aren’t ‘very big,’ and that he’ll have to produce his best in order to become a double Olympic champion.
This comes after four US athletes jumped over 8.40m in an extraordinary long jump contest at the US Olympic trials. However, Rutherford has proven throughout his career that consistency is the key when competing on the grandest stage.
Elsewhere it was a mixed night for the rest of Team GB and NI’s athletes. Tiffany Porter, who has had an up and down season, couldn’t successfully defend her European 100m hurdles crown, but did manage to claim a bronze medal.
Conversely, it was a less satisfying evening for Jenny Meadows, 35, who announced her retirement from the sport after picking up an injury whilst failing to qualify for the final of the 800m.
Richard Kilty endured a similarly miserable evening as he was disqualified from the men’s 100m final following a false start. His British compatriot James Ellington could only manage 5th place in the same race.