Christophe Lemaitre’s ambition of winning three consecutive European 100m titles looks likely to be frustrated by his French team-mate Jimmy Vicaut, whose 10.06 on the newly resurfaced track was the fastest ever recorded in the Championships heats.
Lemaitre, in 10.16, was second fastest qualifier for this evening’s semifinals, with Britons Dwain Chambers, James Dasaolu and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey all in medal contention.
While the talk before the Championships begun was of Dafne Schippers, the Dutch heptathlete who heads this year’s European listings at 100 and 200m, France’s European 200m champion of 2010, Myriam Soumare, re-stated her credentials in the 100m heats by equalling Schippers’ mark of 11.03.
Schippers, however, looked comfortable in clocking 11.10 and defending champion Ivet Lalova impressed with 11.17.
How fit is Mo Farah? If Britain’s Olympic and world champion has fully recovered from the abdominal pains which put him into hospital for four days last month and caused him to miss the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, he will surely regain the 10,000m title he earned in 2010. But should Farah falter, Italy’s Daniele Meucci, who won bronze in 2010 and silver in 2012, may profit.
France’s Bouabdellah Tahri, Germany’s Arne Gabius and Bashir Ali of Belgium are also interested parties.
Germany’s world and Olympic champion Robert Harting looks an unstoppable force in the discus after reaching tonight’s final with a first effort of 67.01m, with Estonia’s former Olympic champion Gerd Kanter with 65.79 and Poland’s Piotr Malachowski with 64.98, still in contention.
Ukraine’s Ruslan Dmytrenko, winner over 20km at the World Race Walking Cup in May in a national record of 1:18:37, is the man to beat. Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez might be the man to do it. Also watch Russia’s Denis Strelkov and Aleksandr Ivanov.
Kai Kazmirek carries a 129-point overnight lead into the second day of the decathlon, with Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus, who added six centimetres to his high jump personal best with 2.22, in second and another German, Arther Abele, just nine points ahead of Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands in third.
France’s defending long jump champion Eloyse Lesueur was top qualifier for tonight’s final with 6.72m ahead of Germany’s Malaika Mihambo with 6.70 while Russia’s Darya Klishina and Ivana Spanovic of Serbia, who both recorded 6.66.
France’s Cindy Billaud and Tiffany Porter of Britain look like contesting the 100m hurdles gold after winning their respective semifinals in 12.79 and 12.63.
One to watch: Obvious perhaps, but whether he performs to his best, or below his best, all eyes will be on Great Britain’s Olympic and world 10,000m champion Mo Farah in only his second track race of the season.
Stat of the day: Only once has 10 seconds been bettered at the European Athletics Championships – when Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu won gold in Gothenburg eight years ago. Tonight’s finalists will have their sights set on that Championship record of 9.99.