Lemaitre retains 100m crown amid drama
Posted by Tony Mabert
Christophe Lemaitre retained his men's 100 metres title in a dramatic final at the European Athletics Championship in Helsinki which only five of the eight competitors finished.
The Frenchman had to battle past Jimmy Vicaut to cross the line first in a time of 10.09, 0.03s quicker than his second-placed compatriot.
Norway's Jaysuma Saidy Ndure claimed bronze with a time of 10.17, beating Britain's Harry Aikines-Aryeetey into a creditable fourth place.
Serhiy Smelyk of Ukraine finished fifth, but also in last place after the final was finally completed at the third time of asking.
Lithuania's Rytis Sakalauskas, who picked up an injury in the semi-final, stayed in his blocks when the gun first went off, and was shown a yellow card. At the restart Sakalauskas again barely managed to leave his starting position, only this time Italy's Simone Collio had clearly false-started and was immediately disqualified.
When the final did eventually get underway, Sakalauskas once more took himself out of the race, while Latvia's Ronalds Arajs pulled up midway down the track.
"I am massively upset," Aikines-Aryeetey admitted after missing out on a medal.
"This year has just been terrible to me after last year being so good.
"At the start of the year nothing went right for me. As much as I wanted it, as much as I tried to do everything I could, nothing went my way.
"Even going to the Olympic Stadium for the test event, I tore a muscle walking - how unlucky can you get?"
Ivet Lalova was the surprise winner of the women's 100 metres title earlier in the afternoon session.
The Bulgarian powered past narrow favourite Olesya Povh of Ukraine in the final third of the sprint to take the gold in a time of 11.28 seconds.
Povh crossed the line in second 0.04s after Lalova, while bronze went to Lina Grincikaite. The Lithuanian also clocked a time of 11.32, a season's best for her.
Defending champion Verena Sailer could only muster sixth place as the best performing of the three Germans in the final.