Double gold for Britain

BIRMINGHAM: Gold medals for Britain's Phillips Idowu and Nicola Sanders put the hosts on top of the medal table at the European indoor championships on Saturday. 

Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou was booed by some spectators in the National Indoor Arena as she lined up for the semi-finals of the 60 metres. 

Thanou, 32, making her international comeback after a two-year suspension for doping violations, clocked 7.22 seconds behind defending champion Kim Gevaert of Belgium, who won in a world leading time of 7.10. 

Gevaert, double European sprint gold medallist outdoors, defended Thanou, criticising the reception the Greek had received. 

“I did hear a little bit of booing,” Gevaert told reporters. “I think it's a bit harsh. I wouldn't boo her myself because she's had her punishment. She's come back and I'm treating her like any other athlete.” 

Britain's Jason Gardener remained on course for a fourth successive men's title, running 6.58 to beat European indoor record holder and fellow medal favourite Ronald Pognon of France in the men's semis.  

Idowu won an enthralling triple jump competition that did not suffer for the absence of injured Olympic champion Christian Olsson. 

Nursing a bruised heel, Idowu sprang out to a championship record 17.56 metres – the best in the world this year. 

Compatriot Nathan Douglas took silver with a personal best of 17.47. 

Belgian Tia Hellebaut added the European indoor high jump title to her outdoor crown and then, in an impressive display, went on to set a championship best and world leading height of 2.05 metres. 

The former heptathlete, who secured the gold with a jump of 1.99, also had a failed attempt at a world record of 2.09. – Reuters  

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