Eilidh Child wins European 400m hurdles gold

Eilidh Child celebrates winning European 400m hurdles gold. Picture: PA
Eilidh Child celebrates winning European 400m hurdles gold. Picture: PA
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Eilidh Child was crowned 400 metres hurdles champion on the penultimate day of the European Athletics Championships, where a personal best was not quite enough for Lynsey Sharp to retain the 800m title.

A fortnight on from starring for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, the pair headed to Zurich looking to top the podium in a British vest.

Sharp, like in Glasgow, had to settle for silver despite running a wonderful race, although Child was able to go one better at the Stadion Letzigrund.

The 27-year-old held firm as her rivals began to gain down the home straight, crossing the line in 54.48 seconds to add the European title to her Commonwealth silver.

“I can’t believe it,” Child said. “If you’d said that to me at the start I wouldn’t have believed it.

“I’m delighted. Obviously the Commonwealths meant a lot because it was at home but to actually have my own title now and be European champion is the best feeling ever.

“I did feel a little bit of pressure – all year I’ve been trying to focus on what I can control.

“So I just thought if I executed the right stride pattern I’d be happy, so that’s what I was ultimately trying to think about.”

Perhaps Child’s mind was focused ahead of her final by the fact Sharp was pipped to the line just over an hour earlier.

The 24-year-old’s wonderful surge to take 800m silver became one of the iconic images of Glasgow 2014, especially after it emerged that she had been on a drip in the athletes’ village clinic until 5.30am on the morning of the final.

Sharp added European silver to that medal today, having been unable to retain the 2012 title she won after Russia’s Yelena Arzhakova received a two-year doping ban.

A Europe-leading time from Belarus’ Maryna Arzamasova proved enough to deny her, despite Sharp recording a PB of one minute 58.80 seconds.

“I was in hospital and on antibiotics only a few weeks ago, so to get Commonwealth Games silver and now silver again here is an absolute dream,” said Sharp, whose British team-mate Jessica Judd came seventh.