BERLIN: France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi joined an elite band of athletes Thursday after he claimed his fifth European title on a scintillating night of track and field in Berlin that saw a trio of world champions shine.
Mekhissi, a three-time Olympic and two-time world medallist, was imperious as he eased to a fourth victory in the 3000m steeplechase in 8min 31.66sec, having already won the discipline three times (2010, 2012, 2016) and the 1500m once (2014).
The 33-year-old Frenchman joined the trio of German Harald Schmid and British pair Roger Black and Mo Farah as the sole athletes to have won five outdoor golds on the continental stage.
Mekhissi, who was controversially stripped of the 2014 steeplechase title for having stripped off his singlet before he crossed the finish line in first place, has the chance for an unprecedented sixth gold when he competes in Saturday’s 5000m.
Reigning world champions Ramil Guliyev and Karsten Warholm had earlier lit up the track to win the 200m and 400m hurdles, while Greece’s Ekaterina Stefanidi showed all her nous to defend her European pole vault title.
Turkey’s Guliyev set a championship record of 19.76 seconds in beating Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Switzerland’s Alex Wilson while Warholm of Norway won in 47.64, ahead of Turkey’s Yasmani Copello and Ireland’s Thomas Barr.
Stefanidi successfully defended her European title against compatriot Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou and Britain’s Holly Bradshaw with a 4.85m effort.
A 40,000-plus crowd cheered a home one-two in the javelin with Olympic champion Thomas Roehler beating Andreas Hofmann to gold with an 89.47m throw.
Belarusian Elvira Herman won the 100m hurdles in 12.67sec to consign the German pair of Pamela Dutkiewicz and Cindy Roleder to the minor medals.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2018