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Britain’s Neita wins European 200m silver


Daryll Neita came within one hundredth of a second of a first major title as the Briton claimed 200m silver at the European Athletics Championships in Rome.

Neita, 27, embraced Mujinga Kambundji following a dramatic photo finish, with the Swiss champion clocking 22.49 seconds to edge the gold.

That GB medal came after 22-year-old British team-mate Megan Keith won 10,000m bronze, her first senior medal, in 31 minutes 04.77.

Neita’s silver secured Great Britain’s 11 medal overall, on the fifth and penultimate night of action in the Italian capital.

Neita & Keith add to Britain’s medal tally

Having won five global medals as an ever-present in the British women’s 4x100m team, including two Olympic bronzes, it is now individual honours that Neita is targeting as she builds towards Paris 2024.

Qualifying fastest for the final in 22.51secs, Neita pulled alongside the leading Kambundji but was beaten in a dip to the line.

A European bronze medallist over 100m two years ago, Neita made a promising start to the year which included two Diamond League victories in Suzhou and Doha as she continues to develop under coach Marco Airale in Italy.

Keith will make her Olympic debut this summer after taking victory at the Night of the 10,000m PBs in May, which doubled as the Olympic trials for the event.

In Rome she demonstrated her talent on a major international stage as she stuck with the leaders and held out for a podium place, less than a year after winning European under-23 5,000m gold.

Italy’s Nadia Battocletti (30:51.32) completed a long-distance double by adding to her 5,000m title, followed by Dutch athlete Diane van Es (30:57.24).

However, Eilish McColgan’s return to international competition following a long injury lay-off ended prematurely, and British team-mate Jessica Warner-Judd also did not finish.

The 33-year-old McColgan, winner of European silver two years ago, pulled up after 6,000m after losing touch with the leading group – and she now faces an uphill battle to prove her fitness and make her fourth Olympic Games.

Warholm & Bol star as Tamberi delights home crowd

Britain’s Lina Nielsen finished seventh in the women’s 400m hurdles final in 55.65secs, as Dutch star Femke Bol improved her own championship record to win her fourth European title in 52.49secs.

The 28-year-old was contesting her first major final after a distressing week, with twin sister Laviai revealing in an emotional interview following her 400m final on Monday that their coach, Tony Lester, recently suffered a cardiac arrest.

Nielsen said: “I’ve learned a lot from that first major final experience. I think that those medals are in my reach so I’m very disappointed.

“I would have liked to have made Tony proud today. I know I could have snuck into the medals but I can’t dwell on it too much, we have the Olympics coming up so everything is working towards that.”

There was also a championship record for Norway’s Olympic and three-time world champion Karsten Warholm in the men’s 400m hurdles final.

Warholm, world record holder in the event, clocked 46.98secs to win his third successive European title.

Despite disappointing crowds over the opening five days of competition, the stands behind the high jump were packed in anticipation of Italian star Gianmarco Tamberi’s bid for gold on home soil.

The hugely popular Olympic and world champion, who shaves half his beard for major finals, was the only athlete to clear 2.31m.

But he continued to entertain the captivated crowd with a further first-time clearances at 2.34m and 2.37m, before joining them – and the Italian President Sergio Mattarella – in brilliant celebrations.

In a high-quality men’s triple jump final, Portugal’s Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo was denied gold despite breaking Jonathan Edwards’ 26-year championship record with a 18.04m leap, as Spain’s Jordan Diaz Fortun bettered that with a title-winning 18.18m.

Elsewhere, Estonian Johannes Erm won the men’s decathlon by 129 points with a total of 8,764. while Austria’s Victoria Hudson won women’s javelin gold with a best throw measuring 64.62m.

Earlier on Tuesday, defending champion Keely Hodgkinson cruised through the fastest women’s 800m semi-final in European Championships history.

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