European Athletics Championships Retrospective Day 1

European Athletics Championships Retrospective Day 1
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Jo Pavey set high standards on the opening night of the championships in Letzigrund Stadium, this was the first of several gold medals to follow for Great Britain. 

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 1, Tuesday 12 August, Pavey and Storl give Championships a memorable start

When Jo Pavey reached 40 in the autumn of 2013, who could have believed what the next year would bring?

Just a few weeks before she had hit that milestone she had given birth to her second child and talk was of her returning to further her marathon career.

The opening night of the European Athletics Championships provided one of the great track and field stories of this, or perhaps any other, summer.

A bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow the month before, Pavey produced the run of her career to win the 10,000m at the Letzigrund Stadium on an evening when she was just unstoppable.

Age was an irrelevance in a field that was younger than her. But the Briton had so much grit and power and then, when she took the lead with 800m, pace mixed with defiance to win in 32:22.39 and secure her first gold medal.

A final kick in the home straight made sure of victory as she beat the French duo of Clemence Calvin, 24, who was second in 32:23.58, and Laila Traby, 35, who was third in 32:26.03.

"The whole thing seems surreal this year," said a delighted and disbelieving Pavey, who had won silver in Helsinki four years earlier. "I didn’t know I would qualify for any championships after giving birth last year – and I was still breast-feeding in April.

"But I am happy to have a supportive husband and I have been a busy mum which gives me endurance.

"This season has inspired me to keep running.  I am not going to retire soon. Rio is still in sight."

The first day of the championships saw two gold medals decided. Along with Pavey, there was glory, too, for Germany’s David Storl who retained his shot put crown from his first attempt in the final when he reached a distance that was just too much for the rest - 21.41m.

But the champion was troubled by an injury and felt he could have won by more.

Storl beat Spain’s Borja Vivas with 20.86m and Poland’s Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski with 20.83m and said: "I lost my technique after my first throw and could not improve."