Laura Muir retains European title while Dina Asher-Smith settles for 200m silver

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Great Britain’s Laura Muir won her fourth medal of an “insane” summer with gold in the 1,500 metres in the European Championships as Zharnel Hughes also tasted victory in Munich.

Muir, who won bronze in the World Championships and gold and bronze in the Commonwealth Games, powered to a commanding win to retain the title she claimed four years ago in Berlin.

Hughes was also an impressive winner of the men’s 200m ahead of team-mate Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, but Dina Asher-Smith had to settle for silver in the women’s event behind Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.

Muir was happy to sit at the back of the field in the early stages before cruising into the lead with two laps to go and the 29-year-old Scot then kicked for home with just over 400m remaining.

Ireland’s Ciara Mageean dug deep to keep Muir in her sights but the Olympic silver medallist was too strong and crossed the line in 4:01.08, with Mageean 1.48 seconds behind.

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Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui took the bronze ahead of Britain’s Katie Snowden, with Ellie Baker finishing eighth.

Speaking about the packed schedule of championships this year, Muir told the BBC: “It looked hard on paper but actually doing it in person – never again!

“It was an amazing opportunity and a very unique one that we’d never get three champs in a year, let alone five weeks in the summer. It was just insane but I was like ‘You know what, I want to give it a go’.

“My aim was to medal in all three, which I’ve done but to win the Commonwealths and to win here, I’m so happy.

https://sportsloveme.com/athletics/laura-muir-retains-european-title-while-dina-asher-smith-settles-for-200m-silver/

“This was the hardest one. On paper it looked the easiest, one event, only two rounds, so physically it was the easiest of the three but it was so tough mentally. It was the most difficult race I think I’ve ever run.”

Hughes added gold in the 200m to his silver from the 100m after clocking a season’s best of 20.07s, with Charlie Dobson threatening to make it a British one-two-three before being edged out by Italy’s Filippo Tortu.

“I’m so happy,” Hughes said. “My coach and I spoke about this earlier in the season and we just stretched out our programme in order to stay healthy.

“Mostly the European Championships for us was more of a mental game than physical because we knew we were fit. We just had to make sure my mental strength was on par and I think I did a great job on that.”

Asher-Smith, who has endured a difficult season with injuries, ran quicker in the final than in her semi-final but could not catch Kambundji, who took gold in a time of 22.32s.

“Obviously I came here to win so I’m not super happy, but at the end Mujinga put together a better race – she’s been improving for ages so congratulations,” said Asher-Smith, whose team-mate Jodie Williams finished fourth.

“I really thought I was in a bit better shape than that but at the same time I came second so that is what it is.”

Lawrence Okoye won bronze in the discus with his first-round throw of 67.14m, with Sweden’s Simon Pettersson just two centimetres behind in fourth.

Okoye, who spent several years away from athletics as he pursued a career in the NFL, was in tears after becoming Britain’s first European medallist in the men’s discus.

“It’s been a tough year for me in a lot of ways and to do what I did today just means the world to me,” Okoye said. “To medal in this field after some of the things I’ve been experiencing, I just couldn’t hold it back.

“Everyone knows I’ve had a big throw in me for a long time and hopefully this is the start of big things for me.”

Earlier in the day, Olympic champion Tom Pidcock overcame an early crash to win gold in the mountain bike cross-country.

“It was a pretty hard race,” Pidcock said. “I kind of made it hard for myself because on this course with that speed, riding out front by myself makes it all that much harder.

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“I crashed on the first corner – at least it was dry. If it wasn’t it would have been an even bigger crash but thankfully it wasn’t too bad and I managed to get back to the front.

“There’s still a couple of world championships to go (this year) so I’m not finished yet.”

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