Double delight for Ukraine in the 200m

Ryemyen Mariya
Ukraine's Mariya Ryemyen celebartes after winning the 200m gold
in Helsinki on Saturday.
Ukraine, didn't quite win the 100m gold, but in the morning they qualified as favourites in the 4x100 and here they came very close to taking a clean sweep even though the European leader Elyzaveta Bryzhina wasn't running as they won their first ever gold at 200m.

In Bryzgina's absence, Mariya Ryemyen was Ukraine's great hope. A member of their 4x100m medal winning team in the World Championships and their winning team in the last Europeans, her previous biggest success was a silver medal in the 60m at last year's European Athletics Indoor Championships. Drawn in the tight lane three, she was in contention as she hit the straight and she edged clear to win by a metre in 23.05.

The time was poor, the slowest winning time since 1969, but the weather conditions, wet, cold and a 1.3mps headwind were not conducive for a fast time.

Ryemyen had run 22.82 in the better conditions of the semi-final, one of four who were quicker than the winning final time, and she had run an even faster 22.77 in winning the semi-final.

The 24 year-old also had been in action in the morning in the 4x100, where she hopes to add to her gold collection in tomorrow's final.
The delighted winner said, "The time wasn't good but with the weather it was the best I could do. Of course gold and silver for Ukraine is not what we expected. It means a lot to my country and a good step towards the Olympics."

The silver medallist didn't run in the relay though this morning but she may tomorrow. Hrystyna Stuy another member of Ukraine's World championship 4x100 relay medal winning team gained her greatest individual success to date when she finished strongly to take the silver in 23.17. She had been just tenth fastest in the heats and fifth fastest in the semi-finals and was a surprise runner-up.
She said, "I'm really really happy. The race was really good."

Defending champion Myriam Soumare of France was drawn in lane five and she had the fastest reaction time of 0.147 and led into the straight but she tied up and only just about held on to third clocking 23.21.

The Frenchwoman explained. "I gave it my all at the start and it was the best one. At the end I just couldn't keep up but I'm happy with a medal."

Ukraine's number three Viktoria Pyatchenko, a semi-finalist in the world indoor championships 60m and also in relay action in the morning finished strongly and fell just four hundredths of a second short of the Frenchwoman.

A big disappointment in fifth was Dafne Schippers, the European junior heptathlon champion. She had won her heat in 23.01 and then then recorded the fastest semi-final time of 22.70 which put her just a single hundredth of a second down on the Bryzghina. However in the final she had been in contention for a medal for 120m but slowed and ran a disappointing 23.53 to just edge her countrywoman Jamile Samuel.

The European junior silver medallist was drawn in lane one and after a careful bend, she finished well to time 23.55.

Cyprus's 2009 World championship finalist Eleni Artymata who has a 22.61 PB, was almost a second down on that in seventh in 23.59

French number two Johanna Danois, who is a World Championships semi-finalist was last in 23.61

Britain's top sprint hope, Abi Oyepitan the Olympic 200m finalist was a shock non qualifier. Oyepitan, who ran 22.71 in Oslo had won her heat easily in 23.05 but she couldn't reproduce that in her semi-final and slowed in the last 30 metres and was relegated to fourth and she missed out on a final place by a hundredth of a second in 23.22.