European Athletics Championships 2014: James Dasaolu and Tiffany Porter deliver on night of glory for Britain’s sprinters

Athletes secure men's 100m and women's 100m hurdles gold

Letzigrund Stadion

This season was supposed to see British sprinting’s coming of age and so it has proved. James Dasaolu became the first British sprinter since Darren Campbell in 1998 to win 100m European Championship gold in a comfortable victory, with fellow countryman Harry Aikines-Aryeetey narrowly avoiding disqualification for a faulty start to take bronze.

It was hardly a final to leave the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, quaking behind his sunglasses as he watched from the stands, Dasaolu crossing the line with a winning time of 10.07sec to deny France’s Christophe Lemaitre a third consecutive European title over the distance.

The event had been billed as an Anglo-French tussle for gold but, with event favourite Jimmy Vicaut pulling out of his semi-final with a thigh injury, Dasaolu’s path to gold was relatively straightforward.

There was, however, to be no fairy-tale ending to the night for Dwain Chambers. Remarkably, he had finished with silver behind Campbell in Budapest 16 years ago. There was an irony that Aikines-Aryeetey, often criticised for being too bulky, should pip Chambers to the bronze by virtue of his bigger chest.

On another impressive night for the British team, there was gold too for Aikines-Aryeetey’s training partner Tiffany Porter in the 100m hurdles while Ashleigh Nelson, previously bedevilled by injuries, bounced back to win 100m bronze.

But for a nation starved in recent years of a sprint king to take on the world, or even just the continent, it was Dasaolu’s star that shone brightest.

Britain's Tiffany Porter celebrates after winning the 100m hurdles final during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland Britain's Tiffany Porter celebrates after winning the 100m hurdles final during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland (AP)
He was adamant his previously frail body would not let him down this time, and he crossed the line seemingly fully fit from three rounds in two days. There had been hopes he would dip under the 10sec barrier and break Francis Obikwelu’s European record of 9.99sec dating back to 2006 but it was not to be.

Dasaolu, whose indoor season had been brought to a premature end by a hamstring tear, said: “It’s a lovely feeling to be European champion. I’m still trying to take it all in. I didn’t get a good start in the race but I battled to the win. I’m so happy.

“Track and field has its ups and downs, I’ve had injuries and didn’t know if I’d be able to compete this season so it’s a lovely feeling to come away with a gold.” At 25, Aikines-Aryeetey finally backed up the promise of his youth when he won a string of world junior and youth titles, describing his bronze as “a landmark for me”. But he might well have not raced at all, the Londoner twitching in his blocks before the gun but given a second chance.

Like Dasaolu, it was a first title for Porter, who had come in as a mere second favourite for gold behind Cindy Billaud. But while the Frenchwoman faltered in the final, Porter appeared to get stronger, running increasingly aggressively to take gold in a time of 12.76secs. “I’m just so happy to win, this is my first gold medal so I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I performed when it mattered most.”

In an increasingly bright era for British sprinting, Ashleigh Nelson became the first British female to win a European 100m medal for 40 years, matching Andrea Lynch’s bronze in Rome in 1974. She marked it with a smile as wide as the night in a race that always looked destined to be won by Dafne Schipers of the Netherlands.

Nelson said: “The last few years have just been managing injuries and it’s been tough. I didn’t feel like it was my best race and I feel like there’s a lot more to come.”

The six medals won so far by Team GB – five tonight and six in total with Jo Pavey’s gold – is the best start ever by a British team at a European Championships.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power