Weightman wins bronze as Gemili leads GB medals rush

Great Britain's Laura Weightman with bronze medal

Great Britain's Laura Weightman with bronze medal

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Adam Gemili capped another wonderful night for Great Britain at the European Championships, securing the 200 metres crown with the second sub-20 seconds run of his life.

This was a special evening of athletics at the Stadion Letzigrund, where the biggest crowd of the week bore witness to five British medals.

Martyn Rooney got the ball rolling by leading home a UK one-two in the 400m, recovering from the disappointment of missing out on a Commonwealth Games medal to win gold ahead of precociously-talented teenager Matthew Hudson-Smith.

Leeds-based Laura Weightman followed that up by producing a fine run to win bronze in the 1,500m, with the medal rush continuing in the 200m sprints as Jodie Williams won silver and Gemili took gold.

Two weeks on from taking silver at Hampden Park, 23-year-old Weightman was the only one to stick anywhere near overwhelming favourites Sifan Hassan of Holland and Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi when they made their move down the back straight in the 1,500m.

Hassan eventually won the battle of the Ethiopian-born pair, with Weightman holding tight as the chasing pack closed in, crossing the line in four minutes and 6.32 secs.

“I’m really pleased with that,” Weightman, whose British team-mate Hannah England came sixth, said.

“I was nervous in the warm-up and didn’t know how to play it, but with 600m left no-one was doing anything so I wanted to push it along.

“At the bell I knew Hassan and Aregawi were going to come past and I couldn’t go with them but I’m really pleased to hold on to that bronze.

“I wanted to go with them and hang on for as long as possible and be in a strong bronze, not have anyone coming back to me down the home straight.”

It was 27-year-old Rooney’s first gold medal at a major championship and one which bodes well for the future.

“I’m delighted to win it,” Rooney said. “It’s been a long time coming, never won a championships in my life, only British trials, so it’s great to win on this stage. I’m pretty happy.

“It wasn’t effortless. I’ve got an incredible team around me and without their support we couldn’t be here. I’ve been part of the system for a long time and it’s starting to pay off.”

Williams set a new personal best in winning her 200m silver.

Holland’s Dafne Schippers won the race, and completed a 100m and 200m double with a world-leading 22.03secs, but Williams held her own and crossed the line in a PB of 22.46s.

She said: “I’m so happy to come away with two silver medals in the two major championships this summer. I was chasing Dafne down but she’s crazy fast so I can’t complain with silver.

“I thought I could get even more out of myself tonight but I was so tired. It’s so amazing to have three Britons in the final, and we’re back for the relay tomorrow.

“This season has been better than I could have asked for after injury.”

Elsewhere on a rainy night in Zurich, Great Britain’s Chris Baker finished joint 11th in the high jump. He managed 2.21m on his final attempt at that height, but could not jump 2.26m in what were difficult conditions.

While most events were coming to a head, the men’s long jump was just beginning in Switzerland.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford, who added the Commonwealth title in Glasgow, secured automatic qualification for tomorrow’s final with a leap of 8.03m in his second effort of the night.

The Commonwealth champion was joined in the final by British team-mates Chris Tomlinson and JJ Jegede after the pair managed 7.89m and 7.81m respectively.

A year after winning the world title, Christine Ohuruogu missed out on a 400m medal by less than a hundredth of a second.

Favourite Libania Grenot of Italy won the race comfortably, with just 0.02s separating silver medallist Olha Zemlyak, Indira Terrero in third and the Londoner.

Barnsley’s Luke Cutts – a silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – contests the men’s pole vault today.

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