Idowu's giant jump for gold stops Tamgho in his tracks

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It takes two to Tamgho. One bright new thing of French athletics might have snatched European Championship gold from a favoured Briton in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium on Wednesday, but not last night. Twenty-four hours on from Christophe Lemaitre's win in the 100m and Dwain Chambers' demise, it was Phillips Idowu who reigned in the Spanish rain. The Belgrave Harrier took the triple jump gold for himself and Great Britain. Teddy Tamgho had to settle for the bronze.

The 21-year-old Parisian might have won the world indoor title with a world indoor record distance of 17.90 metres in Doha in March and jumped a mighty 17.98m in New York in June, but last night he was no match for the 31-year-old Londoner.

That Idowu has become the man for the big occasion is beyond any question. He won the world indoor title in Valencia in 2008 with 17.75m, a lifetime best. He won the world outdoor title in Berlin last year with 17.73m, a personal best outdoors. In the Catalan capital last night he captured the continental crown with the jump of his life, 17.81m.

It was a second gold in three days for the Great Britain team, following Mo Farah's triumph in the 10,000m on Tuesday, and there in the promise of much more to come with Dai Greene, in the 400m hurdles, and Michael Rimmer, in the 800m, the fastest qualifiers from their semi-finals last night and Farah cruising through to the final of the 5,000m.

All three will be going for gold on what promises to be a truly super Saturday night for Britain. Jessica Ennis will be completing the heptathlon then, too, after embarking on her two-day mission this morning.

There was a surprise high jump bronze medal last night, courtesy of the inspired Martyn Bernard, making it five British medals in all halfway through the championships' six days: two gold, two silver, one bronze.

Idowu's hair was dyed red but his form had the glint of gold from the start. He led from the first round, jumping 17.46m, and nailed the victory with his 17.81m effort in round four. Tamgho's best was 17.45m in the fifth round but that was only good enough for third place. Marian Oprea of Romania took the silver with 17.51m.

"It feels fantastic to have jumped my personal best," Idowu said. "My build-up to the championships was not great but I am very happy to have been able to jump consistently tonight. I am a good athlete and with the World and European titles under my belt I am just missing the one title: the Olympics."

Tamgho, who had been doubtful for the championships because of a calf injury, said: "I'm not satisfied with my performance at all. Physically, I was here, but not mentally. It's a shame. Anyway, congratulations to Phillips and Marian. They both put on a great competition."

There promises to be great competition for a medal in the 200m final tonight between two other thirtysomethings in the British team. For much of the first semi-final last night Christian Malcolm was leading Lemaitre – until the newly crowned 100m champion shifted into overdrive halfway down the home straight, shooting clear to win in 20.39sec.

The sprint double would appear to be his for the taking. Still, Malcolm, who finished the runner-up in 20.55sec, will line up with hope of winning his first individual European Championship medal at the age of 31.

To do that, the Newport man looks like he will have to get the better of Marlon Devonish, who at 34 is fast approaching Zimmer-frame age for a sprinter. The Coventry runner, a member of Great Britain's victorious 4x100m relay quartet at the Athens Olympics, also secured his place in the final as a runner-up, clocking a season's best time of 20.58sec behind Jaysuma Saidy Ndure.

There were British winners of both 400m hurdles semi-final, Greene emerging victorious from the first in 49.48sec and Rhys Williams from the second in 49.61sec. The training partners and Welsh compatriots clocked the two fastest times and look capable of producing the kind of British one-two in tomorrow's final that Farah and Chris Thompson delivered in the opening track final of the championships. Greene starts as the favourite, as will Rimmer in the 800m.

The Merseysider could not have won his semi-final with greater assurance, easing to victory in 1min 47.67sec and walking straight off the track as though he was strolling on Southport prom. It was a relative stroll for Farah in his first round 5,000m heat. He finished a comfortable winner in 13min 38.26sec – 0.21sec ahead of Jesus Espana, the Spaniard who beat him to the 5,000m title by a tantalising 0.09sec in Gothenburg four years ago. Thompson also qualified, finishing fourth in his heat. The final promises to be another cracking affair.

Brits in Barcelona


18:50 110m hurdles final: William Sharman seeks to better his fourth place from last year's World Championships, while team-mate Andy Turner hopes to improve on his bronze from Gothenburg in 2006.

20:10 Jemma Simpson, looking to go one better than her 10,000m silver-medal winning boyfriend Chris Thompson, competes alongside Jenny Meadows in the 800m final.

20:25 Martin Rooney and Michael Bingham impressed in their heats and are medal prospects in 400m final.

21:00 Andy Baddeley and Tom Lancashire face home favourites Diego Casado and Diego Ruiz in the 1500m.

10:00 Current world champion Jessica Ennis starts as favourite as she opens her heptathlon campaign in the 100m hurdles. Event concludes tomorrow.


18:35 Michael Rimmer hopes to take his fine recent form into the 800m.

19:10 Dai Greene is a hot tip for the 400m hurdles, with Rhys Williams and Nathan Woodward also in contention.


18:35 Dwain Chambers is part of the British quartet in the 4x100m relay. Can he win a medal to make up for missing out in the 100m on Wednesday night?

18:45 Italy, Germany and the favoured France look to relieve the GB men of their 4x100m relay title.

20:15 World silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey could be joined by Hannah England and Stephanie Twell in the 1500m final.

20:40, 20:55 GB's 4x400m relay sides are hopeful of making the finals. All events on BBC 2 and Eurosport