MUNICH: Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs put an injury-ravaged season behind him to win gold in the 100m at the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Tuesday.
Jacobs, who was the world indoor 60m champion in Belgrade in March but pulled out before the 100m semi-finals at last month’s world championships in Oregon, clocked a championship-record time of 9 .95 seconds.
Defending champion Zharnel Hughes took silver in 9.99 seconds with fellow Briton Jeremiah Azu taking bronze in 10.13.
“It’s been a difficult season with problems, with injuries,” said the 27-year-old Italian, who was beset by leg injuries and competed with a heavily strapped left calf in Munich.
“My leg is not good and I’m not happy with the way the race went technically, there were some issues.
“But I’m thrilled with the gold medal. After the Olympic gold, I now have the European gold. I have to get the gold at the world championships now.
On a heady evening of athletics in a packed Olympic Stadium, the raucous crowd went wild as unheralded local favorite Gina Lueckenkemper pulled off a shock win in the women’s blue ribbon sprint.
The 25-year-old, who won silver in the 100m at the last European Championships in Berlin in 2018 and bronze in the 200m in 2016, threw herself over the line to clock 10.99 seconds for a victory at the photo-finish against the Swiss Mujinga Kambundji.
Britain’s Daryll Neita took bronze with 11.00 seconds, while her teammate, defending champion Dina Asher-Smith, injured herself halfway through the race and finished last.
A trio of proven performers had previously shown their prowess in perfect, smooth conditions, holding onto their titles in great style.
The first was Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who dominated the 5,000m to keep a dual bid on track.
The 21-year-old, crowned world champion in the distance at last month’s Worlds in Eugene, clocked 13min 21.13sec.
“I believe in myself and I believe in the things I’ve done before. It was amazing here today, it was a great race to be in,” Ingebrigtsen said.
“It’s great to be back and win, it’s special.”
Reigning Greek long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, the reigning Olympic champion and world indoor champion who won world silver in Eugene, went on to set a championship record to retain his Euro title.
The Greek soared to 8.52m on his fourth attempt, beating the previous record of 8.47m set by German Christian Reif in Barcelona in 2010.
Then came the turn of the doyenne of the female disc, the Croatian Sandra Perkovic.
The 32-year-old Croatian left it late, posting a victory of 67.95 meters on her fifth attempt for gold.
It was a record sixth successive European title, with the double Olympic and world champion winning the continental competition for the first time in Barcelona in 2010.
“I have just won my sixth European title here in this beautiful stadium in front of this amazing crowd, so I am so happy and proud tonight,” Perkovic said.
“I knew I was ready to do it and I think the fight was nice.”
There was also drama in the decathlon when Germany’s Niklas Kaul snatched gold from Swiss rival Simon Ehammer with a monstrous 76.05m in the javelin and a personal best 4:10.04 in the final. of 1500 m.
After also recording 11.16sec in the 100m, 7.10m in the long jump, 14.90m in the shot put, 2.02m in the high jump, 47.87sec in the 400m, 14.45sec in the 110m hurdles and 41.80m in the discus, Kaul remained with 8 545 dots.
Ehammer had to settle for silver, just 77 points behind, while Estonian Janek Oiglane took bronze (8,346).