Reigning champion Martina sails through 100m heats

Churandy Martina
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Churandy Martina was the fastest qualifier from the 100m heats on the first afternoon session of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

Reigning champion Churandy Martina didn’t have to expend too much energy to progress through to the 100m semifinals on the first afternoon session of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships on Monday (6).

Now 34, Martina was the fastest across the five heats in 10.24 into a negligible headwind, just four hundredths adrift of his season’s best. “This round went well, better than I expected. With the first round, you do not know how it will go. The weather is nice and hot,” said Martina, who will also be contesting the 200m in Berlin.

But for now, Martina is fully focused on the 100m in which he has grand ambitions. “My ambition is to perform better than last time - to win with a better time than in 2016. I changed my coach and we work in a different way now, we listen more to the body,” he added.”

The Swiss sprinters were also in good form in the first round with Silvan Wicki (10.28) and Alex Wilson (10.31) also among the heat winners this afternoon. 

The loudest roar of the day was reserved for Germany’s Lisa Marie Kwayie in the heats of the women’s 100m. Kwayie won a competitive second heat in 11.30 - the fastest time of the day - ahead of reigning European U23 champion Ewa Swoboda from Poland (11.33) and Naomi Sedney from the Netherlands (11.45).

“How did I achieve this? Well, I stayed relaxed, I stayed by myself and did not look left or right to my competitors,” said Kwayie, who will also be part of the German 4x100m team in Berlin.

“This is my first time to compete in this stadium in Berlin. I had goose pimples when I entered the infield. People supported me everywhere and cheered for me. I have never experienced such a great thing before.”

The fastest qualifier in the 400m hurdles heats was France’s Victor Coroller with 50.10 ahead of Switzerland’s Alain-Herve Mfomkpa (50.34) and Serbia’s former world bronze medallist Emir Bekric (50.46). Former world and European champion Dai Greene sadly succumbed to yet another injury and was a non-starter in heat one.

There were also good results from reigning age-group champions in the field events. Reigning European U20 champion Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece led the qualifying round of the men’s long jump with 8.15m ahead of Germany’s Fabian Heinle with 8.02m - the only two jumpers to surpass the automatic qualifying line of 8.00m.

Hungary’s reigning European U23 champion Bence Halasz led the first round of hammer qualifying with his opening round throw 76.81m although that effort was surpassed in the second pool by reigning world and European champion Pawel Fajdek who produced the longest throw of the day of 77.86m.

Fajdek has been supplanted as the leading Polish thrower by perennial major championships bronze medallist Wojciech Nowicki. He was another automatic qualifier with 76.03m from the first pool.

Down at the European Mile, reigning three-time European shot put champion David Storl put down a marker ahead of the final. He led the two qualifying pools with his opening throw of 20.63m