Shubenkov adds senior to under-23 gold
Sergey Shubenkov, Russia's 21-year-old European under 23 champion over the 110m hurdles, added the European senior title in impressive fashion here as he held off the pressing challenge of the men either side of him – Garfield Darien of France and Artur Noga of Poland – to take gold in 13.16 before dancing an exuberant jig of joy, his face a wide smile.
Shubenkov maintained his form despite the presence of the two larger men, and moved marginally ahead of the final three flights of hurdles. Darien – beaten by Shubenkov in Torino at the start of the month - took silver in 13.20, with Noga earning bronze with an effort of 13.27 which equalled the Polish record. Alexander John of Germany just missed out on the podium with a season's best time of 13.38.
The young Russian had announced his intentions in the clearest possible fashion by reaching the final as the fastest qualifier, finishing two metres clear of the field in 13.09sec, a national record which improved his own European best of the year – the 13.18 he ran in France on May 31 – by 0.09sec and lifted him to fifth in the world rankings.
Shubenkov smiled broadly and shook his head as he received the congratulations of others in the field, before making a sweeping bow to the crowd as the stadium announcer confirmed his time as a new national record.
The first semi-final had seen the unexpected departure of the athlete who won the world 110m hurdles title here in 2005, Ladji Doucoure. The Frenchman was exerting pressure on the leader, Noga, in the second half of the race when he clipped the penultimate hurdle and clattered the last, dropping from second to seventh as he staggered home in 13.66. For the 29-year-old from Jusivy sur Orge, who also has European indoor titles from 2005 and 2009 to his name, experience had not been made to tell, and his fortunes were in stark contrast to those of Russia's young rising star.
But judging by the confident fashion in which Shubenkov had gone about his work, it seemed unlikely that Doucoure would have been able to do anything to prevent him gaining his first senior international title.
Noga had secured qualification with victory in 13.43, with the other automatic place going to Philip Nossmy of Sweden in a season's best of 13.47. Britain's William Sharman equalled his season's best of 13.55 to finish fourth, but missed qualification, as did fifth placed Maksim Lynsha of Belarus, despite a season's best of 13.58.
The third semi-final had been won with some ease by Darien in a personal best of 13.15sec, with Douvalidis setting a Greek record of 13.37 for the second automatic place. Behind these two Emmanuel Abate of Italy, who had set a personal best of 13.28 earlier this season, progressed as one of the two fastest losers with a time of 13.39, despite seeming distracted beforehand and causing the start to be delayed as he spoke to an official standing directly behind his blocks.