MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -Italy’s Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs ended a troubled season on a high when he won the European 100 metres title on Tuesday, while local favourite Gina Lueckenkemper won a brilliant women’s race by five thousandths of a second.
Jacobs pulled out of last month's world championships before the semi-finals after a flare up of the thigh injury that has dogged him all season but he was in command throughout Tuesday’s final as he came home in 9.95 seconds.
Defending champion Zharnel Hughes took silver in 9.99 ahead of fellow Briton Jeremiah Azu (10.13).
"This was a difficult season with problems, with injury but my leg is not good," said Jacobs. "I am not happy about how the race went technically, there were some problems, but I am over the moon with the gold medal.
"After Olympic gold, now I got the European gold. Got to get the world championship gold now. We also look forward to the relay because the Italian team also wants to excel there."
It was anything but clear cut in the women’s race as Swiss Mujinga Kambundji looked to have it won until Lueckenkemper and Briton Daryll Nieta caught her in a blanket finish.
The German, silver medallist four years ago, and Kambundji were both timed at 10.99 seconds but Lueckenkemper edged it by thousandths.
Nieta, who yet again had a sluggish start and failed to match her semi-final time, took bronze in 11.00 but later said she had been cramping up before the race and considered withdrawing. Fellow Briton and defending champion Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with cramp halfway through the race.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen retained his 5,000m title in typical style, hitting the front with three laps to go, winding up the pace and then outlasting his only remaining challenger, Spain’s Mohamed Katir, over the last 200m.
Germany’s former world champion Niklas Kaul had the impressive 50,000 crowd roaring as he produced a huge personal best of four minutes 10.04 seconds to win the final 1,500 metres in the decathlon and overhaul Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer, who had a big lead after nine events but finished a distant 38 seconds behind the winner and had to settle for silver.
World record holder and world champion Kevin Mayer of France dropped out on Monday after picking up a thigh injury in the opening 100 metres event.
Greece's Olympics long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou retained his European title by a huge margin with a championship record leap of 8.52 metres but there was controversy behind him.
Briton Jacob Fincham-Dukes initially took silver courtesy of his opening jump of 8.06 but the France team objected after the event had finished, claiming that it had been a foul.
The event no longer uses the traditional plasticine indent method and now has a laser beam to measure whether the front of the foot has breached the line.
Despite no foul being indicated by the technology, the objection was upheld and the jump ruled out, demoting Fincham-Dukes to fifth and promoting Sweden's Thobias Montler to second and Frenchman Jules Pommery to third - both with 8.06m jumps.
The British team are likely to launch a counter-appeal.
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)