Great Britain tops the medal standings in Berlin after double sprint relay gold

GBR 4x100m
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Great Britain closed the programme at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships with victories in the men's and women's 4x100m relays

Victory in the men’s 4x100m relay final meant Great Britain earned a third gold on the final night – following the women’s 4x100m triumph and Laura Muir’s 1500m win - to finish top of the medal table at what has been a momentous Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships. 

Once again the Olympic Stadium was a roaring cavern - with more than 40,000 present - and the action matched their anticipation as - apart from the achievements of the latest astonishing teenage talent, pole vaulter Armand Duplantis - there was another rich and varied menu of athletics delights.

 Dina Asher-Smith, already individual 100m and 200m champion here, completed her set as she anchored home the British 4x100m relay team to gold in 41.88, the fastest time in the world this season. Silver went to the Netherlands in 42.15 - which meant Schippers claimed her third medal of the championships - with Germany taking bronze in 42.23.

World champions last year, Britain’s male 4x100m team won in 37.80, with silver going to Turkey in a national record of 37.98, and the Netherlands taking bronze in 38.03 - also a national record.

Muir added the European outdoor 1500m title to the indoor version she won in Belgrade last year with a superbly assured display that saw her seize the initiative soon after compatriot  Laura Weightman had led through the first lap.

The flying vet had a 15 metres lead entering the final straight and although Poland's Sofia Ennaoui was closing, the gold was never in doubt. Muir took gold in 4:02.32, with Ennaoui claiming silver in 4:03.08 and Weightman being rewarded for her gutsy running with bronze in 4:03.75. 

Muir won both the 1500m and 3000m at the 2017 European Indoor Championships and her thoughts are already turning to those championships next March. “I'm also very excited about the European Indoor Championships coming to Glasgow next year, as it's my home track where I usually train,” she said. 

Wlodarczyk smashes championship record to retain hammer title

Poland's world and Olympic hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk earned a fourth consecutive European title with a championship record of 78.94m, nine years after winning her first major title in this arena at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. 

“I have nice memories on this stadium and the support of fans was just amazing. I had to fight till the end. But I come out of this competition with the smile on my face. I think my horizon is Tokyo 2020 and of course the world championships next year. These are my main goals,” she said after winning Poland’s seventh gold medal of the championships. 

Alexandra Tavernier from France took silver in a national record of 74.78m with bronze going to Poland's Joanna Fiodorow, who recorded 74.00m.

Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands won the 5000m title also in a championship record of 14:46.12 in a race that will always be remembered for the calamitous misjudgement of Israel’s 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, who began celebrating silver after sprinting through the line with the Dutch athlete before realising she had another 400 metres left to go.

As the startled Kenyan-born athlete veered back towards the inside lane to restart her race she was passed by Britain’s Eilish McColgan, who had led for two-thirds of the race and went on to win silver in 14:53.05. Turkey’s defending champion Yasemin Can also moved past a flagging Chemtai Salpeter to take bronze in 14:57.63.

Chemtai Salpeter collapsed in a heap on the in-field and to add salt to the wound, she was subsequently disqualified for a lane infringement. 

A fervently desired home gold was delivered in the women’s 3000m steeplechase by Gesa-Felicitas Krause, who timed her run to the line perfectly to pass the taller figure of Switzerland's Fabienne Schlumpf at the final water jump and power home in 9:19.90. The Swiss took silver in 9:22.29 ahead of bronze medallist Karoline Grovdal of Norway, who ran 9:24.46. 

“I always have a plan A, but also a plan B or even C. I always watch my opponents, what are they doing and I want to be able to react accordingly. In the training we saw that my last 400m are fast. Today's medal is very special to me,” said Krause.   

Ten years after taking the triple jump title at the 2008 Olympics, Portugal's 34-year-old Nelson Evora has another major gold thanks to an effort of 17.10m. "Thanks to this wonderful crowd," he said after completing the set. "This moment was perfect." Silver went to Alexis Copello of Azerbaijan with 16.93, and bronze to Dimitrios Tsiamis with 16.78. 

Another extraordinary performance on another extraordinary night of track and field at these Championships.