Britain land trio of bronze medals
BRITISH athletes came out of hibernation here last night, collecting three European Championship bronze medals in just over an hour.
Rhys Williams and Becky Lyne set the ball rolling for the Norwich Union GB side in their 400 metres hurdles and 800m races, then Marlon Devonish matched his showing in Munich four years ago, producing a polished performance to finish behind 200m winner Francis Obikwelu.
Although Britain is still without a victory after four days' action, last night's hat-trick followed on from Greg Rutherford's silver in the long jump.
Now the charge to attain the "stretch" target of ten medals seems well under way, and these victories will undoubtedly inspire those set to follow in their footsteps over the next three days.
Williams, who has in the past won European youth, junior and under-23 gold, looked to have blown his chances when coming into the home straight in fifth position.
But the son of Welsh rugby legend JJ Williams - who himself ran for Wales when they finished fourth in the 1970 Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay - produced a fine finish.
The 22-year-old from Cardiff raced past the French pair of Norman Keita and Sebastien Maillard to clinch third spot by just .01sec in 49.13sec. Winner was Greece's Periklis Iakovakis (48.46) with Marek Plawgo of Poland (48.71) third.
Sheffield-born Lyne chased home the dominant Russian pair Olga Kotlyarova and Svetlana Klyuka in a strong finish, pulling back almost ten metres on Ukrainian Tetyana Petlyuk. The 24-year-old would have been closer to the Russians entering the final straight, if she hadn't allowed herself to get surrounded by her rivals on the final bend.
Britain's first sprint individual medal since Darren Campbell was third over 100m at the 2003 World Championships,
but had no answer to the devastating speed of Obikwelu, who completed the sprint double, and Johan Wissman, who recorded Portuguese and Swedish records of 20.01 and 20.38 respectively.
Vanya Stambolova of Bulgaria battled from behind to win her first major title by taking the 400m gold. Stambolova caught up with early leader Olga Zaytseva of Russia coming into the final straight and powered home to win in 49.85. Tatyana Veshkuriva, another Russian, also passed Zaytseva to claim silver in 50.15. Zaytseva had to settle for bronze at 50.28.
Earlier, Yohan Diniz of France braved a thunderstorm and walked to victory in the gruelling 50km event. The stormy weather, with lightning striking just outside the Ullevi stadium, forced organisers to interrupt several competitions during the morning session.
Diniz covered the course in 3hr 41min 39sec, a personal best and a national record.
Jesus Angel Garcia of Spain, who won the event in 1993 and silvers in 1997 and 2001, came in second with a time of 3:42.48. Yuriy Andronov of Russia was third in 3:43.26.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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