European Athletics Championships Retrospective Day 3

European Athletics Championships Retrospective Day 3
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Czech Republic's Barbora Spotakova earned the final gold medal missing from her list of major javelin titles on the third day of action at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

Throughout the end of year holiday period, European Athletics is offering a day by day review of the European Athletics Championships held from 12-17 August in Zurich.  

Day 3, Thursday 13 August, Mum's the word as Spotakova triumphs 

It was a night that Barbora Spotakova will never forget - the moment she finally won gold at the European Athletics Championships.

And for the javelin world record-holder from the Czech Republic, the delight of returning to the top of the sport 15 months after giving birth to her first child, son Janek.

She cuddled him by the side of the track as she lapped up her glory after moving into the lead in round five of the competition with a throw of 64.41m which overtook Linda Stahl, the 2010 European champion from Germany, who had been in front from round one with 63.91m.

Serbian Tatjana Jelaca’s fifth effort of 64.21m was a national record, and so close to Spotakova’s distance, as she then secured silver but the champion had achieved one of the great wins of her career.

Spotakova said: "I already had a silver and bronze from past European Championships, so it was good to finally complete my set with gold.  Somebody upstairs must like me.

"Childbirth didn’t change me much and I stayed active and focused throughout my pregnancy."

As defending champion in the 110m hurdles, Sergey Shubenkov had the extra pressure of trying to deliver again.

But he did just when it mattered, with a powerful surge between the last two barriers to come through to take the title again, his hands stretched out as he crossed the line as he basked in his success.

The Russian won in 13.19 from William Sharman, of Great Britain, in 13.27 and Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, who was third in 13.29.

Shubenkov said: "I am super happy with everything but the nagging goal, as it is with most good hurdlers, is to run a sub-13."

The men’s 3000m steeplechase final was full of drama because the winner, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, of France, was disqualified after removing his top as part of his celebration routine as he moved into the home straight.

He was way ahead, crossing the line in 8:25.30, but his actions broke the IAAF rule concerning clothing and after he had initially received a yellow card for “unsporting” behaviour, he was then disqualfied.

France appealed but failed, yet they still ended up with the gold medal as Mekhissi-Benabbad’s teammate Yoann Kowal was promoted from second, where he had run 8:26.66, to first with Poland’s Krystian Zalewski taking silver with 8:27.11 and Angel Mullera, of Spain, finishing third in 8:29.16.

It was proving to be a night of mixed emotions for France who also won gold in the men’s triple jump as Benjamin Compaore leaped to a European-leading distance of 17.46m in a first round where, amazingly, all the medals were decided.

Lyukman Adams jumped 17.09m and his Russian teammate Aleksey Fyodorov cleared 17.04m as they won silver and bronze respectively.

Russia did have another gold to celebrate in the evening at the Letzigrund Stadium as joining Shubenkov on the top of the podium was pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova, who won with 4.65m from Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanini with 4.60m and Angelina Zhuk-Krasnova with 4.60m.

And it has been quite a day for the Russians who had started in style, too, when Elmira Alembekova had too much for her rivals as she won the 20km walk in the morning by 11 seconds in 1:27:56 from Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Olyanovska with Anezka Drahotova, of the Czech Republic, third in a national record time of 1:28:08.