European Athletics Championships, Barcelona, 2010
A frustrating day in the Montjuïc Stadium
Friday 30 July. The 400 metre final was expected to be a classic with five men having run 45 seconds flat or faster in the semi-finals. In the event it was indeed a great race although times were somewhat down. The proverbial blanket could have been thrown over the eight man field as they crossed the line with not much more than a tenth of a second covering 2nd to 7th. In that mix Belgrave's David Gillick (Ireland) was 5th in 45.28, disappointing himself and many others who felt he was a sure fire medallist. Favourite Jonathan Borlée (Belgium) never got to the front while his less favoured twin Kevin came through for the win in 45.08 with Brits Bingham and Rooney in 2nd and 3rd.
We know of at least one Belgravian who'd been on the Ladbroke's website to place an outside bet on William Sharman for the 110 metre hurdles final. Never mind the race lead-up or heats - William is the sort of man who rises to the occasion - witness his fourth place in the World Champs. final. Not this time though. Will was disqualified for a false start in his semi-final while his very close rival Andy Turner progressed and then went all the way to take the gold medal.
Phillips the Great strikes Gold
Thursday 29 July. The best sequence and best ever jump in his career enabled triple jumper Phillips Idowu to tick off another item on his "wants list" - the European Championships. Just one more medal needs to be earned - the one awarded to an Olympic Champion.
Having jumped further than anyone else in 2010 Teddy Tamgho of France was favourite to take the European title but Phillips had a cunning plan. If he could come out early with a big jump then all the pressure would heaped on the less experienced youngster at this his first major championship. It all worked out perfectly. A 17.46 metre leap by Phillips in round 1 saw the Frenchman over-react and exit from an out of control jump with 17.12. And so it went on ... as Phil went to 17.47, 17.40 and then a lifetime best of 17.81, the Frenchman, with the potential to hit 18 metres, got wilder with 17.40, foul, foul, 17.45 and finally 17.34. It was all over, and in his scramble for the monster jump Tamgho lost silver medal to Marian Oprea of Romania.
2002 - Commonwealth silver
The Phillips Idowu story goes on ...
BBC video, etc
Disappointment for Dwain - out of the medals
Wednesday 28 July. Another apparently comfortable run came from Dwain Chambers in the semi-final of the 100 metres as he won in 10.10, again easing off, but there seemed to be just a hint of tension and nervousness before the start as he paced back and forth. Again Lemaitre was the merest shade faster with 10.06.
A good start from Dwain in the final saw the Frenchman a metre or so down but with Mark Lewis-Francis exerting some surprising pressure. Dwain was just clear of the field at 70 metres but it was far from decisive and as Lemaitre finished with a huge charge to burst through the field and go clear, the Belgravian noticeably tightened and was run down by the chasing pack. It was clear that the Frenchman had won but nothing else seemed certain. Before long the photo finish revealed that the winning time was 10.11 while positions 2nd to 5th were all recorded at 10.18 (see photofinish below) - and when thousandths of a second were brought into play Dwain had missed out on a medal entirely with 5th place.
BBC video and Tom Fordyce's take.
Irish Record holder David Gillick was within 2/100ths of a second of his best ever time in the 400 metre semi-finals. He won his race convincingly in 44.79, picking off the UK's Michael Bingham in the last 15 metres, and all the signs are that the final will be a classic.
Chambers, Idowu and Gillick all progress safely
Tuesday 27 July. Dwain Chambers lined up in heat 1 of the 100 metres on the evening of the first day's competition and ran to the clearest of wins with a full 2.5 metres back to the second placer. Dwaine had shut off the power over the final 20 metres and on the face of it had much in reserve as he cruised to a 10.21 seconds timing against a 1.5 mps headwind. But it was the Frenchman Lemaitre who clocked the fastest time - 10.19 in the fifth and last race of this first round. BBC video
It took a single leap from Phillips Idowu to qualify for Thursday's triple jump final - 17.10 metres to place 2nd in qualifying group A behind France's Benjamin Compaoré. Once again, however, it was Teddy Tamgho, also of France, who looks as if he will provide the most substantial challenge for the gold medal in the final: he headed group B with 17.37 metres.
David Gillick carried his Irish colours across the line first in his heat of the 400 metres, timed at 45.84 in spite of slowing significantly in the latter stages.