The track that simply can’t get enough of the 100m belonged to Britain at the European Championships as Zharnel Hughes and Dina Asher-Smith stormed to sprint gold.
Berlin’s Olympiastadion has witnessed plenty of incredible moments, Jesse Owens’ 1936 brilliance and Usain Bolt’s record-breaking feats in 2009 among them, but this was a night for the Brits.
Hughes and British rival Reece Prescod could barely be split, but it is Hughes who becomes the fastest man in Europe, his Championship record of 9.95 just one-hundredth of a second quicker than his compatriot.
The fans at home dreamed of a British one-two-three but CJ Ujah could only take fourth, just behind Turkey’s Jak Ali Harvey.
“I am happy and the job is done,” said Hughes. “I felt a bit of cramp so I don’t think I could have gone any faster but I’m just happy.
“Reece is a fast finisher so I had to stay relaxed as he would challenge me. I am happy we came out victorious.”
Hughes’ scintillating win came only 20 minutes after Asher-Smith had set the track alight with a new British record of 10.85, smashing the previous record and her own personal best in the process.
The 22-year-old also matches the joint-fastest time in the world in 2018, with fellow Brit Imani-Lara Lansiquot finishing sixth.
“I’m just so happy,” said Asher-Smith. “I was quite chilled because I felt in good shape.
“For me, I’ve worked out that I have to be chilled to run well. That’s how I work – a happy and relaxed Dina is a fast Dina!
“I’m really happy, really excited and can’t wait to get going again. I’m going to be happy now and enjoy the emotional high for a few hours then I’ll come straight back down again and refocus because the 200m I’m going to take like a whole new Championships.
“I wanted the world-leading time, but I will try again later in the season. I am hoping to do the same thing in Tokyo [at the 2020 Olympics].”
Earlier in the night in Berlin, Liverpool Harrier Tim Duckworth finished the first day of the decathlon at the top of the leaderboard after a superb day of competition.
Duckworth was solid in all events, with a 10.65 in the 100m starting him in good stead and then a 7.57m in the long jump moving him into the overall lead.
The 22-year-old threw just shy of his personal best in the shot put and set a new PB of 2.17m in the high jump to take control, meaning he finishes day one on 4380 points, ahead of Germany’s Arthur Abele on 4285.
Commonwealth champion Nick Miller couldn’t produce his best in the men’s hammer final, throwing well short of his personal best and fouling twice, but British record holder Holly Bradshaw is through in the pole vault.
During day two’s morning session the success continued for the British athletes, with nine of them progressing to semi-finals or finals.
Current European 400m champion Martyn Rooney made it through to today’s semi-finals after coming through the first round in comfortable fashion.
Rooney finished third in his heat with a time of 46.27 while compatriot Dwayne Cowan also qualified. Both men will join Matthew Hudson-Smith and Rabah Yousif in the semis after they received byes.
“The first part of the race was great, it’s the best I’ve run all year, most relaxed I’ve felt,” said 31-year-old Rooney.
“It’s going to be a tough semi-final. I’ll get an inside lane, so I’m just going to have to spank it and see what happens.
“My target was to win every race so I’ve already messed that up!”
Elsewhere, Amelia Strickler threw a personal best in the shot put to make it through qualifying alongside teammate Sophie McKinna, and Zak Seddon qualified in the 3,000m steeplechase.
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