MUNICH: Newly-crowned European 100m champion Gina Lueckenkemper won a second gold as she spearheaded Germany to a decisive victory in the women’s 4x100m relay in Munich on Sunday.
The end of seven breathtaking days of top-quality track and field could not have been better scripted as the German quartet motored to victory in 42.34 seconds in the final event.
Status Quo’s ‘Rockin’ all over the world’ blasted over the tannoy as a packed-out Olympic Stadium went wild as Lueckenkemper celebrated with teammates Alexandra Burghardt, already a silver medalist in the two-woman bobsleigh at this year’s Winter Olympics, Lisa Mayer and Rebekka Haase.
The fancied British quartet, featuring 200m silver medallist Dina Asher-Smith on anchor, didn’t get the baton past the first leg thanks to a botched handover.
The Germans did, and swiftly, their gold ensuring the host country topped the overall athletics medals table with seven golds, seven silvers and two bronzes.
Britain finished second with six golds, six silvers and eight bronzes.
“If someone would have told me before the championships that I would come home with two gold medals, I would have said they’re crazy,” said Lueckenkemper.
Anchor leg Haase added: “Gina always told us that she has a gold medal and that she wanted one more medal tonight. One more, so we made it.”
The men’s 4x100m relay was missing Italy’s Olympic and European 100m champion Marcell Jacobs.
The Italian quartet, whom Jacobs led to Olympic gold in last year’s Tokyo Games, was deprived of a place after Turkey were reinstated after being impeded in the heats.
It was left to a strong British foursome to claim gold in a championship record of 37.67sec, smashing the previous best of 37.94 set by France in Split in 1990.
Jeremiah Azu, bronze medallist in the 100m, led off, handing over to Zharnel Hughes, the 200m champion and 100m silver medallist.
Jona Efoloko ran the second bend before handing over to Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, the 200m silver medallist purring home for a comprehensive victory.
“Zharnel has got three medals, Jona has now got one, Jeremiah has got two, and I’ve got two — just do the maths!” beamed Mitchell-Blake.
In another night of top-notch performances, reigning world indoor champion Mariano Garcia of Spain held off Britain’s Jake Wightman to win the men’s 800m.
Garcia clocked a personal best of 1min 44.85sec for gold, world 1500m champion Wightman taking silver in 1:44.91.
“I was feeling strong and I knew I could fight for a place on that podium so I decided to go for it,” said Garcia.
Wightman had stepped down to the 800m after surprising Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen — who did a 1,500-5,000m double in Munich — for 1,500m gold in last month’s world championships in Oregon.
“I was not quite close enough in the last straight and it is tough when you are not that close with strong opponents,” said the Briton.
“I did not manage to stay strong enough to pass Garcia. This is a tough race with lots of tactics.”
There was a second title for war-torn Ukraine as world indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh triumphed in the women’s high jump.
Mahuchikh, who fled her native country on a three-day odyssey by car to get to the world indoors in Belgrade in March, managed a best of 1.95 meters.
She won on countback from Montenegro’s Marija Vukovic, with Serbian teenager Angelina Topic claiming bronze (1.93).
“I would like to dedicate this medal to the Ukrainian people,” Mahuchikh said.
“I hope to go back home in September, I left my country in March and I miss my home and my friends and my father.”
Germany’s Julian Weber had earlier sent the large home crowd wild in a fair warning to the likely reaction to the women’s relay team as he won javelin gold with 87.66m on his fifth attempt.
Yemaneberhan Crippa of Italy produced a devastating final 50-meter sprint to win the men’s 10,000m in 27:46.13, while the women’s 100m hurdles went the way of Poland, 21-year-old Pia Skrzyszowska producing a textbook display for a runaway triumph in 12.53sec.
Hungary’s Luca Kozak claimed silver in 12.69sec while Swiss family fortunes looked up as Ditaji Kambundji took bronze, following elder sister Mujinga’s gold and silver medal-showing in the 200 and 100m respectively.
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