Schippers double glory leaves her with a Zurich choice

Schippers double glory leaves her with a Zurich choice
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Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands celebrates her 100m victory at the 2013 European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere.

Breaking a national sprint record is some landmark but to achieve it at two different distances, on the same afternoon, just over a couple of hours apart, is something out of the ordinary.

But that is exactly what Dafne Schippers did at the IAAF Diamond League in Glasgow on Saturday.

Now she has to decide whether to opt out of the heptathlon at next month's European Athletics Championships in Zurich and bid for glory that would put her in the same company as her country’s most famous competitor.

Dutchwoman Schippers may run the 100m and 200m in Zurich and only one athlete from the Netherlands has achieved that golden double at the European Athletics Championships - the greatest of them all, Fanny Blankers-Koen, in Brussels in 1950.

"It is a great day," said Schippers after her second win. "I was relaxed in the 200m race, which is good. In Zurich, maybe sprinting, maybe heptathlon. I do not know. We will see."

At 22, Schippers, who won bronze in the heptathlon at the World Championships in Moscow last summer after taking 100m gold at the European Athletics Under-23 Championships in Tampere a few weeks earlier, is having quite a year.

She broke the Dutch heptathlon record in Gotzis last month and such was her speed at Hampden Park on Saturday that she defeated America’s Allyson Felix, the Olympic champion, in the 200m.

She won the 100m B race in 11.03, smashing the long-standing Dutch record of 11.08, a time which Nelli Cooman ran in winning bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Stuttgart in 1986.

Then, two hours and three minutes later, she settled into her blocks for the 200m with her confidence beaming to produce another blistering performance to triumph in 22.34, and improve the national record of 22.35 she herself had set in Gotzis.

Schippers is now top of the European Athletics rankings at both the 100m and 200m and is second on the heptathlon list with her 6545 from Gotzis when Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson won with 6682.

Johnson-Thompson, who broke her personal best with 6.92m in the long jump in Glasgow on Friday, has opted for the individual events in Zurich because she is competing in the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games back in the Scottish city in two weeks time.

And while that would make Schippers the clear favourite at the European Athletics Championships, she might decide that this opportunity is too good a chance to turn down to bid for golds in the 100m and 200m.

Ironically, she was in the ‘B’ race in Glasgow which she took by powering through in the final 40m to beat Americans Tianna Bartoletta, in 11.07, and English Gardner, in 11.16. Her time would have given her second place in the 'A' race.

Schippers was drawn in lane four in the 200m with Felix on her outside in lane six, and it was the American who led at the at turn.

But the Netherlands star came charging through for her 22.34 victory with Felix second in 22.35 and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare third in 22.41.

Now comes the even tougher bit - the decision over Zurich.


Vienna 1938 - Stella Walaisiewicz (POL).

Oslo 1946 - Yevgeniya Sechenova (USR).

Brussels 1950 - Fanny Blankers-Koen (NED).

Athens 1969 - Petra Vogt (GDR).

Helsinki 1971 - Renate Stecher (GDR).

Rome 1974 - Irena Szewinska (POL).

Split 1990 - Katrin Krabbe (GDR).

Helsinki 1994 - Irina Privalova (RUS).

Göteborg 2006 - Kim Gevaert (BEL).