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Mahuchikh retains Euro title, Asher-Smith at the double

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh celebrates retaining her European women's high jump title (Andreas SOLARO)
Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh celebrates retaining her European women's high jump title (Andreas SOLARO)

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh earned her war-afflicted country its first gold medal of the European championships in Rome when she won the women's high jump on Sunday.

On a night featuring six other finals, Poland's Wojciech Nowicki sealed a third successive European hammer throw title in dramatic fashion.

Britain's Dina Asher-Smith claimed a second continental 100m gold  ahead of the July 26-August 11 Paris Olympics.

World champion Mahuchikh, who fled the Russian bombardment of her native city of Dnipro in February 2022, managed a best of 2.01m for gold and will be one of the nailed-on stars for Games in the French capital.

Going into the competition, Mahuchikh was clear favourite, her season's best of 2.04m a full 6cm better than her closest rival in the field, Serbia's Angelina Topic.

So it proved as the jumpers contended with some heavy rain, Topic managing a best of 1.97m for silver, with another Ukrainian, Iryna Gerashchenko, claiming bronze (1.95).

"I came to Rome to defend my title and to become the double European champion and that is what I managed tonight," said Mahuchikh.

"And it is 2.01 again - it is a good result and it shows that I can jump higher and higher. My goal is fulfilled and thanks god I did not feel the pain in my hamstring."

Mahuchikh added: "Now I have time to recover even more and to prepare for the main competition of the year.

"I am in a good shape and it is just a start of the season for me - still second time over the 2 metres. There was a very competitive atmosphere in the field and the young generation - Topic jumped so well.

"I am looking forward to competing with them at the Olympic Games."

- Two for Asher-Smith -

Asher-Smith maintained her form perfectly after a poor start to claim her second European 100m title after previously winning the blue riband event in the 2018 Berlin championships.

She timed 10.99 seconds for victory. Poland's Ewa Swoboda claimed silver in 11.03sec in a photo finish with Italian Zaynab Dosso.

"I can definitely run faster than that," said Asher-Smith.

"This is a progression towards the Olympic Games. I am glad to be in this shape after some months of a new set-up, it is really hard to achieve."

There was drama in the men's hammer throw as Nowicki, the reigning Olympic champion and five-time world medallist, left it late for his third continental title.

Sitting in third spot going into his sixth and final throw, the 35-year-old Pole pulled everything out of the bag with an effort of 80.95m to jump into top spot.

It pushed Hungary's Bence Halasz into second (80.49m), with Ukrainian Mykhaylo Kokhan taking bronze (80.18).

Nowicki's team-mate Pawel Fajdek, the five-time world champion and 2016 European title winner, finished sixth with 77.50m.

"The thing I really like about this championship and this particular title was that competition - I like to compete like this!" said Nowicki.

"It was very exciting until the last attempts so it was a great test before the Olympic Games."

Spain's Ana Peleteiro-Compaore, the Olympic bronze medallist, sailed out to 14.85m on the fourth time of asking to seal victory in the women's triple jump.

Turkey' Tugba Danismaz took silver with a national record of 14.57m, with bronze going to France's Ilionis Guillaume (14.43).

There was also a double gold for soon-to-be Olympic hosts France.

Alice Finot eventually claimed victory in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:16.22 after having initially been disqualified for straying off the track in-field.

After a successful appeal, she was credited with the win, the lesser medals going to German Gesa Krause and Britain's Elizabeth Bird. Albania's defending champion Luiza Gega was fifth.

The elbows were out in the men's 800m, Frenchman Gabriel Tual breaking clear down the home stretch for the win in 1:44.87 ahead of Spain's Mohamed Attaoui (1:45.20), with Italy's Catalin Tecuceanu in bronze (1:45.40).

A second French bronze was claimed by Agathe Guillemot in the women's 1500m, won by fast-finishing Ciara Mageean in 4:04.66 to ensure Ireland their second gold of the championships after success in the 4x400m mixed relay. Britain's Georgia Bell took silver.

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