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Home favourite Luckenkemper wins a 100m thriller by a whisker in Munich

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  • Home favourite Luckenkemper wins a 100m thriller by a whisker in Munich

A stadium already sated with emotion after the dramatic victory of home decathlete Niklas Kaul was sent into delirium by an astonishing victory in the concluding women’s 100m from home sprinter Gina Luckenkemper shortly after Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs had earned his first European outdoor title in a Championship record-equalling 9.95. 

In an action-packed and emotionally-charged second day of the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships, Luckenkemper was sixth after 50 metres but drove herself closer and closer to the Swiss athlete who seemed to have gold in her grasp - Switzerland’s world indoor champion Mujinga Kambundji - earning fame everlasting with a final, desperate lunge at the line that sent her tumbling to the track. 

The 25-year-old silver medallist from the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships needed treatment to a bleeding hand, but with the pain came gain as she learned, to her stark astonishment, that she had earned victory by 0.005. 

Athletics - Day 6 - European Championships Munich 2022

Kneeling, she covered her face with her hands before letting out a huge and prolonged cry. 

The German and Swiss athletes were both credited with 10.99. Daryll Neita took bronze in 11.00 but her British teammate, defending champion Dina Asher-Smith, once again found her hamstring undermining her efforts at the highest level, eventually jogging over the line after pulling up halfway.

Ingebrigtsen one race away from the ‘double double’

Earlier on this evening of torrid emotion Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen successfully defended the European 5000m title he won four years ago in Berlin as a 17-year-old, securing the first half of what he hopes will be a 5,000/1500m double here with an emphatic performance. 

The 21-year-old Olympic 1500m champion is a very different proposition to the fledgling talent that announced itself in Berlin, with the confidence - maybe even the arrogance - of an athlete who has already scaled the heights of his events.  

He was composed while being introduced to the crowd, simply raising up his index finger. First. That was the intention. That was the result as he bided his time in the middle of a field large enough for a fun run before picking his moment to hit the front and seeing off all opposition with utter ruthlessness. 

The race proper began with three laps to go as Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa, European 10,000m bronze medallist four years ago, hit the front and started working hard - at which point, suddenly, the calm figure of Ingebrigtsen moved up to his shoulder and then eased ahead, a position he would hold until the line. 

The race was on, with Crippa and Spain’s Mohamed Katir, who ran a personal best and Spanish record of 12:50.79 last season, working to stay with the champion. 

By the time the bell came they were the only two in touch. Around the final bend the Spaniard tried to come round the outside the final bend. No go.  

Ingebrigtsen then let rip down the home straight, gaining metres in seconds, and celebrated with a slash of his right arm before crossing the line to retain his title in 13:21.13. 

Athletics - Day 6 - European Championships Munich 2022

Katir took silver in 13.22.98 followed by Crippa in 13.24.83. Former 800m specialist Andreas Almgren of Sweden clocked a personal best of 13:26.48 to finish fourth.

“It’s great to see so many people in the stadium,” Ingebrigtsen said. “To be holding this event in Germany – it’s awesome.” 

“Everybody has expectations and you have to learn how to deal with them. I believe in myself and I believe in the things I have done before. It was amazing here today, it was a great race to be a part of. Thanks to the audiences, it is incredible.  

“It feels great to be back and win, it is special. It brings back the memories of Berlin. I am in the next race on Thursday [the 1500m final in which he qualified yesterday] so I am looking forward to it. I always have got something to prove.”

Jacobs equals championship record in the men's 100m final

Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, troubled by injury for most of the season, came good here tonight, finishing irresistibly in an equal championship record despite failing to get away to a good start. 

Britain’s defending champion Zharnel Hughes clocked 9.99 for silver and Jeremiah Azu, who won the British Trials in a wind-aided sub-10 second clocking but could not be picked for Oregon as he didn’t have the qualifying time, was soon capering in delight as he saw he had earned bronze in a personal best of 10.13. 

There was also a significant national record in sixth-place for Israel Olatunde. After becoming the first ever Irish athlete to make a men's European 100m finals, the 20-year-old eclipsed the national record by 0.01 in finishing sixth in 10.17.

Athletics - Day 6 - European Championships Munich 2022

Plangent chords and coloured lighting had announced the concluding 100m finals, a coup de theatre which worked for the crowd. 

Hughes had put down an early marker by winning the first of the three semi-finals in 10.03, with his compatriot Azu claiming the second automatic qualifying place in 10.17. 

Britain’s Reece Prescod, clocking 10.10, had won the second semi-final and Jacobs – who won the world indoor title before being plagued by a succession of muscle problems – laid down his marker by winning the final semi-final in a season’s best of 10.00 despite putting the brakes on over the final 30 metres.  

Full results here.

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