Roleder's double delight as Kallur bows out

Roleder's double delight as Kallur bows out
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Germany's Cindy Roleder added the European 60m hurdles title to her list of honours on Friday evening at the Belgrade 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships.

Germany's Cindy Roleder joined an illustrious list of women to hold the European sprint hurdles title indoor and out at the same in a dramatic final at the Kombank Arena tonight.

Two of her predecessors of that honour were both in the same race, and for one, it was the end of an era.

After a final where two green cards were shown to the field after faulty starts, Roleder, 27, came through to triumph in 7.88 from defending champion Alina Talay, of Belarus, in 7.92 and fellow German Pamela Dutkiewicz in 7.95.

And as Roleder celebrated as she added this gold to her success from the European 100m hurdles in Amsterdam last summer, Sweden's Susanna Kallur just did not want to leave the party.

As 36, Kallur, the European Indoor champion in 2005 and 2007 and outdoor champion in 2006, had just run her final race.

She had announced before these European Athletics Indoor Championships that she would be retiring, and how delighted she was to make the final.

The fact she finished last in 8.14 did not matter.

She embraced every moment and at the end, as Roleder was surrounded by photographers wanting a picture of the new champion, Kallur gingerly made her way around the track.

She stopped, she looked at the giant screen, she crossed her legs, and then she made her way to the side of the track, raising her right hand in one final wave before departing.

It was a graceful exit for such a wonderful athlete, who will never forget this final which was packed with so much drama.

Initially in lane one, Norway's Isabelle Pedersen was shown a red card for a false start.

She was left distraught, she left the track with her hands on her head, upset as she felt she did nothing wrong.

Then, seconds later, she was recalled and the whole field were shown green. Just as they were on a second faulty start.

But third time, Roleder broke brilliantly and in a frenetic race, she just had the edge to triumph in 7.88 from Talay, the second of those athletes to hold the indoor and outdoor crowns.

“It was a crazy race but I am so happy,” said Roleder, who will now head to the IAAF World Championships in London determined to win more gold.

By the summer, Kallur will be into her new life, as will be Swedish teammate Emma Green, 32, the 2013 European indoor bronze medalist, who also planned to retire after the high jump where she failed to make the final.

It was a busy end to the evening as the programme finished with the men's 60m hurdles and gold for the best man in the world this year – Great Britain's Andy Pozzi.

He knew he was the athlete the rest had to catch but with that tag comes extra pressure.

Pozzi did not make the greatest of starts but he had enough when it mattered, digging deep to triumph in 7.51 to beat France's defending champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (7.52) and Czech legend Petr Svoboda (7.53), the 2011 European indoor champion.