Round Up: Lemaitre, Vesely hog limelight; exciting finals on the cards on day 3
Seven gold medals were won in the stadium with despite the 100m, most eyes were on the javelin. There world leader Vitezslav Vesely won by half a metre from Russian upstart Valeriy Iordan and to the Finns delight, Ari Mannio won the bronze.
An exciting women's 5000m, with the leading four separated by less than 10 metres went to Olga Golovkina of Russia in 15:11.70, who went from third to first in the straight. Surprisingly that was Russia's first gold at the women's 5000m. Ukranians Lyudmyla Kovalenko came from a distant fifth to snatch second to win their first ever medal in the event. Favourite Sara Moreira went from first to third in the last 10 metres. Briton Julie Bleasdale smashed her PB in fourth with 15:12.77 to console herself from losing a medal position in the final strides.
A slightly disappointing women's long jump was won by France's Eloyse Lesueur with her first round legal season's best jump of 6.81m. Belarus took silver through Volha Sudarava while Norway's Margrethe Renstrom took bronze.
Norway also took a medal in the high jump, their first in the event as Tonje Angelsen rose to the occasion with a PB 1.97m, losing on countback to Spain's Ruth Beitia, who won her country's first medal at high jump too. A second time failure at 1.89m proved crucial for Angelsen as Beitia passed that height but otherwise their records were virtually identical. Russia's Orina Gordeyeva took bronze with 1.92m.
The decathlon was led for much of the competition by Oleksey Kasyanov but the German Pascal Behrenbruch finished strongly with a 5.00m pole vault PB and then a 67.45m javelin gained over 200 points on his Ukranian rival and he won gold easily in a PB 8558 as Kasyanov took second in 8321. Russia's Ilya Shkurenyov took bronze in a PB 8219.
The men's 100m title was defended by Christophe Lemaitre in 10.09 after he just overhauled his younger rival Jimmy Vicaut, who timed 11.12 as France enjoyed a 1-2. They now have 13 medals in the event to Great Britain's 11 as the event's most successful nation.
Norway gained their third medal of the night with Jaysuma Saidy-Ndure a close and clear third in 10.17.
The women's 100m saw a narrow win for Bulgaria's Ivet Lalova, who curiously got slower round by round which was obviously down to the conditions. She started with a 11.06 heat, ran 11.23 in her semi and then ran 11.28 in her final. Nine years earlier she had won the European junior title.
Ukraine took silver through Oleysha Povh's 11.32, after she had clearly led at halfway while Lithuainan Lina Grincikaite took a surprise bronze in 11.32 to match Povh's time.
Germany's defending champion Verena Sailor, who had run 11.14 in her heat and 11.17 in her semi could run just 11.42 for sixth in the final.
There was plenty of great action away from the finals.
The women's 400m semi-finals confirmed that tomorrow's race should be a cracking final as just 0.8 covered the eight qualifiers.
The winner of the first semi, Zseniya Zadorina was the fastest with a season's best 51.35. The Russian who is only ranked number nine in her country this year, came with a strong finish to pip the Swede Moa Hjelmer. The Swede's consolation for a brave all-out effort was a 51.40 national record. Britain's sole remaining representative, Lee McConnell, who was the bronze medallist back in 1982, ran a season's best of 51.98 in third. The last spot in the final from this race went to Darya Prystupa who squeezed in as a fastest loser. The Ukranian timed 52.15 to pip France's Marie Gayot by just 0.02 of a second.
The second race was even more competitive with four runners finishing within a metre. Italy's Libania Grenot won by half a stride in 52.02 with Olha Zemlyak and Ilona Usovich both on 52.10 and Muriel Hurtis, the 2003 World indoor 200m champion, getting through as a fastest loser with 52.13
In the men's 800m semi-finals, Gareth Warburton, who ran the fastest ever European heat time the day before, tried again to get his second Olympic A standard. He shot through 400m in 51.54 and was still on target at 600m in 78.71, but he tied up in the straight and went from first to last in the last 30 metres. Antonio Reina won in 1:46.49 with Josef Repcik getting the other automatic spot with 1:46.61. Thanks to their unofficial pacemaker, Jakub Holusa with 1:46.63 and Thomas Roth with a PB 1:46.68 advanced to the final as fastest losers. Warburton was 8th in 1:47.37.
The second heat was led by 20 year-old French prospect Pierre Ambrosise Bosse in 53.95. Former Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy assumed control at 600m in 80.50 but the Frenchman easily kicked past to win in 1:46.70 with the Russian ensuring his first ever European final with 1:46.92. Spain's Kevin Lopez was third in 1:47.30, which didn't prove quick enough for a fastest losers spot.
The third semi-final was the slowest as they passed 400m in 54.30 and was even slower through 600m in 82.24.Five metres covered the top five with Dane Andreas Bube just edging Netherlands' Robert Lathouwers in 1:48.48 to 1:48.49. Britain's Mukhtar Mohammed, who led through 600m in 82.24 and was in a qualifying position, halfway down the straight found his 1:48.84 too slow to gain a fastest losers spot.
In the men's 400m semi-finals, the first of three races was surprisingly won by fast finishing Hungarian Marcell Deak-Nagy. He timed a season's best of 45.68 just edging American-born Israeli Donald Sanford who timed 45.77 who just edged France's Yannick Fonsat for the final automatic spot. Poland's Marcin Marciniszyn who led into the straight faded to fourth in 45.88 but both the third and fourth advanced to the final.
The second heat was won by Italy's Marco Vistalli in 46.01 from Richard Buck, who had initially been disqualified from the heats but got reinstated on appeal. The Briton timed 46.13.
The final heat was won in impressive style by young Czech Pavel Maslak who looks the favourite for the final based on his 45.66 win. Also qualifying for the final was Ireland's Brian Gregan who clocked 45.76.
Latvian Janis Leitas equalled his Latvian record with 45.88, which matched Marciniszyn's time to the hundredth but lost out when compared in thousandths.
After six eliminations in the heats just two runners were disqualified for lane infringements.
In the women's 800m semi-finals, Russian Yelena Arzhakova won comfortably in 2:01.28 with Lynsey Sharp finishing strongly in second to take the second automatic spot with 2:01.88. The Briton's father Cameron won the 200m silver medal in 1982. Natalijia Piliusina set a PB in third of 2:02.12 and that proved enough to get her through on time.
Belarus's Maryna Arzamasava clearly won the second heat in 2:00.54. Liliya Lobanova of Ukraine, who timed 2:01.60 just held off Briton Jemma Simpson, who tried to pass on the inside and couldn't quite squeeze through the gap.
However Simpson's time of 2:01.64 was surprisingly the best fastest losers time.
The final heat was the slowest with 62.16 at the bell and it was only in the last 200m that the pace picked up. It was Russian Irina Maracheva who had the best kick and she won in 2:02.48 from Slovakian Lucia Klocova who timed 2:02.55.
Turkey's Merve Aydin was not fast enough with her 2:02.81 to advance to the final on time.
The world and European bronze medallist Jenny Meadows was a late withdrawal from the event. Not having competed thus far in 2012, it puts her participation in the Olympics in doubt.