Jacob Fincham-Dukes through to European Championship long jump final as he looks to atone for Munich misfortune

Harrogate’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes has put himself in a strong position to win a European Championship medal two years after he had one ripped from his grasp.

The 27-year-old Leeds City athlete laid down a marker in qualifying for the men’s long jump final in Rome on Friday morning with a leap of 8.18m, two centimetres shy of his personal best, to advance automatically to Saturday night’s medal showdown.

There he will hope for better fortune than he endured in Munich in 2022. Having leapt 8.06m, he thought it was good enough to have earned a silver, only for him to have been stripped of the medal and demoted to fifth when TV footage that showed he was a fraction over the foul line led to a successful appeal by one of his French rivals.

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Two years on the 2023 British champion is back in the final having again recorded the second longest jump.

Harrogate's Jacob Fincham-Dukes is through to another European Championship long jump final (Picture: Matt McNulty/Getty Images)Harrogate's Jacob Fincham-Dukes is through to another European Championship long jump final (Picture: Matt McNulty/Getty Images)
Harrogate's Jacob Fincham-Dukes is through to another European Championship long jump final (Picture: Matt McNulty/Getty Images)

Fincham-Dukes – who attended Oklahoma State University-Stillwater on a scholarship – said: “It was only two centimetres short of my PB into a -1.1 headwind, so there is definitely way more distance to come.

“I am just glad I did the job and got the auto qualifier. It feels good to have a contender for GB in these finals, it has been a few years since we’ve got these types of distances, so I’ll be happy to contend in that final.”

Katarina Johnson-Thompson had work to do after the first morning of action in Rome.

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The heptathlete trailed two-time Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam by 143 points following the 100m hurdles and the high jump.

Flying high: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, of Great Britain, makes an attempt in the heptathlon high jump at the the European Athletics Championships in Rome (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)Flying high: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, of Great Britain, makes an attempt in the heptathlon high jump at the the European Athletics Championships in Rome (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Flying high: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, of Great Britain, makes an attempt in the heptathlon high jump at the the European Athletics Championships in Rome (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Johnson-Thompson, the reigning world champion, ran 13.66 seconds in the hurdles, more than half a second down on her personal best, before jumping 1.83 metres in the high jump.

That was well adrift of Belgian Thiam, who cleared 1.95m to take command of the competition. She was more than 100 points ahead of team-mate Noor Vidts, with Johnson-Thompson in fourth, heading into Friday night’s events.

Two places behind Johnson-Thompson is fellow British athlete Jade O’Dowda, who cleared four successive heights at the final attempt to match her countrywoman with 1.83m.

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