SCOTLAND’S Cameron Sharp was beaten by Olaf Prenzler in a desperately close finish to the men’s 200m to maintain East Germany’s domination of the individual sprints at the European Athletics Championships in Athens.
From The Scotsman, 8 September 1982
Once again all eyes turned to the giant replay screens at either end of the stadium after Prenzler, who had led all the way, and the fast-finishing Sharp flashed across the line together.
But even from the replay it was impossible to be sure who had won, Sharp indicating with a wave of the arms that he thought he had snatched victory.
But the official times gave Prenzler the Gold Medal in 20.46 seconds with Sharp one hundredth of a second behind. In a personal best Prensler’s compatriot Frank Emmelmann taking the men’s title and Marlies Goehr the women’s.
Sharp’s run signifies the breakthrough for him and though he was well outside Allan Wells’ British record he showed that he has the explosive pace and courage to be in there where it matters at the finish.
What is more the Shettleston Harrier achieved his success nursing a sciatic leg which needed pain-killing drugs before the final. “Fortunately I was in the outside lane which, in this case, helped me,” he said. “The first 60m was not too good because of the uncertainty but on the crown of the bend I suddenly felt good and let things rip. This is the third time in a month that I’ve been involved in photo finishes and I may have turned my head, but I just can’t remember. I gave the dip everything I had.”
This was Sharp’s first experience of running six pressure races in the space of four days and he came through it with five of his six fastest ever times, a fourth place and a silver medal. He said: “The object was gold, but I will settle for that. I am not at all fresh after so many races in such a short space of time and I will be keen to see what I am capable of when I am feeling good now that I have this extra confidence.”
Sharp, 24, is now hoping that Wells will have recovered from his virus so that the two can meet on even terms in the Commonwealth Games to see just who is Britain’s No 1 sprinter.
Kathy Smallwood emulated Sharp’s performance when she took silver in a new British and Commonwealth record time of 22.13.
She was given little chance against the might of the East Germans and, to be truthful, she was never really in with a chance of beating the powerful Barbara Woeckel who won in 22.04 but Smallwood had the satisfaction of finishing in front of both Sabine Rieger and Gesine Walther.
Steve Cram established himself as favourite for the 1500m and looked in a different class as he comfortably won his heat. The 21-year-old Jarrow runner lingered in second for three laps and then, with 200m remaining, put in a devastating kick to win in 3:38.05.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Coe may have been suffering from glandular fever when he ran in the 800m final it emerged yesterday. Coe could not find his usual accelaration as West German Hans Peter Ferner took the gold.