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Dafne Schippers gets sprint double at Euros

August 15, 2014
Associated Press

ZURICH (AP) — Dafne Schippers clinched her sprint double at the European Championships with a dominating victory in the 200 meters on Friday and still seeks gold with the Dutch relay team over the weekend for a triple.

Schippers won in a world leading 22.03 seconds running into a slight headwind and on a wet track, powering away once she hit the home straight on a wet Letzigrund track. Britain's Jodie Williams took silver ahead of France's Myriam Soumare.

Schippers, a heptathlete turned sprinter for the season, powered away on the home straight and put up one finger in the air before clenching both fists in celebration.

When European sprinters often take second seat to Americans and Jamaicans, Schippers time in tough conditions was by far the best in the world, with U.S. sprinter Tori Bowe getting closest with 22.18.

With her double, she already is evoking memories of her Dutch compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won a sprint triple in 1950. Schippers can still match her over the weekend. A heat and a final would give her eight races over six days.

In the 1,500, Sifan Hassan, a transferee from Ethiopia, added a second gold on the night for the Dutch, sweeping past Sweden's Abeba Aregawi in the finishing straight. Hassan also goes for a double, competing in the 5,000 on Saturday.

In the men's 400, Martyn Rooney led a British one-two across the linve with teenager Matthew Hudson-Smith taking silver. It was another double in the 800, a Polish one at that, where Adam Kszczot won ahead of Artur Kuciapski.

Earlier on Friday, Yohann Diniz of France fought through stomach pains throughout the race and still set a world record in the 50-kilometer walk to win the European title for a third time.

Walking the early part of the race through driving rain, the defending champion finished in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 33 seconds — slicing 1 minute, 41 seconds off the six-year-old mark held by Russia's Denis Nizhegorodov.

The 36-year-old Frenchman had gastric trouble for most of the morning but refused to let it affect him.

"I was in pain throughout the race," Diniz said.

Slovakia's Matej Toth finished second, more than three minutes behind Diniz. Ivan Noskov of Russia took bronze.

In excellent cool, rainy conditions with temperatures of 14C (57F) in Zurich's old town, Diniz could have lowered the record even further had he not taken time to pick up a French and Portuguese flag to celebrate his nation and family heritage in the closing stages of the race.

"I could have been even faster if not for the flags," he said.

Diniz also won the European title in 2006 and 2010. On the global stage, he has done no better than a lone silver medal at the 2007 world championships.

"At 40K, I knew I had won and it was there that I realized I was within world record pace," he said. "I knew if I continued the way I was walking it would be a world record."



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