At last, Mayo is the champion in Bydgoszcz

Carlos Mayo wins the 10,000m
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Carlos Mayo capped off his age-group career on the track with a gold medal in the 10,000m at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz

Spain's Carlos Mayo finally put himself on top of the podium as he produced a sensational burst of speed to win the first gold medal of the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz with victory in the 10,000m on Thursday night.

With 250 metres remaining, Mayo was only a stride behind Germany's Amanal Petros with the pair having been alone for much of the second half of the race. 

But then, suddenly and spectacularly, Mayo broke away, reaching the home turn in front by 40 metres, looking behind him just in case, before celebrating as he completed the last 80 metres with as wide a smile as possible. 

Punching his chest in delight as he crossed the line, lapping three athletes as he did it, Mayo ran over to the Spanish officials and teammates whose arms he leaped into as, at last, the man who has come so close to gold ended that run. 

"It is a dream," said Mayo. "I have had so many seconds, making that podium but not winning the gold. I am so happy."

Mayo won a typically tactical affair in 29:28.06 from Petros in 29:34.94 with France's Emmanuel Roudolf Levisse in third in 29:42.85.

So near has been the story of Mayo's age-group career before today. Over the past two years, he been runner-up in the U23 race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships - as well as a silver medallist in the U20 race - and two years ago in Tallinn, Mayo won a bronze medal in the 5000m but not this time.

"I made sure I had enough left to win the race," added Mayo, who jumped onto the podium top-spot at the medal ceremony presented by European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen. 

Here was a tale of never giving up, and further illustration of why championships such was these are so important on the road to the senior stage. When Mayo - who is 22 in September - enters the senior ranks next year, he will do so with such extra belief in his own ability having at last become a champion.

Swoboda rounding into form

Poland's Ewa Swoboda demonstrated she will be the woman to beat tomorrow afternoon as she booked her place in the 100m final in decisive fashion. 

Having won her heat in the morning in a wind-assisted 11.26, Swoboda then ran a season's best in the second semi-final, taking victory in 11.32 from Great Britain's Imani Lansiquot (11.47), demonstrating once more how well she runs at championships.

Running as an Authorised Neutral Athlete, Kristina Sivkova won the first semifinal in 11.42 from France's Floriane Gnafoua (11.44). 

In the men's 100m semifinals, Jan Volko of Slovakia produced the quickest time in the last of the three races which he won in 10.18. He is joined in the final, among others, by fellow semifinal winners in France's Marvin Rene (10.39) and Britain's European U20 champion Ojie Edoburun (10.26).

Romania’s Claudia Prisecaru had the race of her life in the 3000m steeplechase as she cut her personal best by almost eight seconds, winning the opening heat in 10:07.40. Denmark's pre-event favourite Anna Emilie Moller won the second heat in 10:07.70. 

France occupied three of the top four positions in qualifying for the women's triple jump final, with Yanis David going the furthest with 13.75m. 

As Romania's Elena Andreea Panturoiu was second with 13.69m, David's teammates took the next two spots courtesy of Rouguy Diallo (13.68m) and Maeva Phesor on (13.56m.) 

Polish athletes will be determined to win as many medals as they can in front of their own crowd and among those is Michal Rozmys, who won the second heat of the 1500m in 3:43.22.

Iceland's Anita Hinriksdottir qualified as the fastest from the heats of the women's 800m, winning her race in 2:03.58. "I was stressed before and afraid how it would work out but the race was good," she admitted. 

Four women qualified with the same top mark of 4.20m in the women's pole vault – France's Ninon Guillon-Romarin, Ukraine's Maryna Kylypko, Germany's Friedelinde Petershofen and Poland's Kamila Przybyla – and three men moved into the final of high jump on the same mark of 2.18m: Ukraine's Viktor Lonskyy, France's Matthieu Tomassi and Germany's Falk Wendrich.

And in the women's discus qualifying , European U20 champion Claudine Vita from Germany was best with 59.87m from Poland's Daria Zabawska (59.23m).