July 08, 2016

AMSTERDAM (AP) Dafne Schippers won the 100 meters at the European championships with ease Friday, speeding away from all opposition to clinch her first title of the championships.

On a chilly, windy night at the Olympic Stadium, she finished in 10.90 seconds, which was all the more impressive since silver medalist Ivet Lalova-Collio crossed a massive .30 seconds behind her.

She immediately thrust her finger in the air, clearly No. 1 when it comes to European sprinting but also the biggest star at the championships for the adoring 22,000-strong sellout crowd.

''It was quite windy so it was difficult to set a good time,'' Schippers said. She will be running the 4x100 relays on Sunday but did not compete in the 200, where she is the world champion, so as not to overexert herself.

At next month's Olympics, she will run both sprints and the relays. ''I am shaping up well for Rio,'' she said.

If Schippers performed to expectations, Olympic pole vault champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie did not. The Frenchman failed to clear his opening height with the gold medal at stake and lost his title.

He only started jumping at 5.75 meters, with Robert Sobera holding the lead at 5.60. Instead of a fourth straight title for the Frenchman, it was the first major gold for the Pole. Czech Jan Kudlicka won silver on a countback.

''During warmup, I cleared 5.80 two times without problems,'' Lavillenie said, but he could not master the swirling gusts.

''The wind was making things very difficult for us,'' he said.

Sobera, however, didn't complain. ''Maybe the wind was a problem but for me it was not very disturbing.''

For an athlete used to dominating with ease, it was a devastating loss for Lavillenie, barely a month before the Olympics.

''I will have to work hard now and try to do well in Rio,'' he said.

In the medal standings, Turkey shot to the top with two more golds from foreign-born athletes - Polat Kemboi Arikan in the 10,000 and Yasmani Copello Escobar in the 400 hurdles. Turkey has three gold and eight medals overall, and leads Britain - 3 golds, 7 overall - going into the concluding weekend.

On a hot-and-cold night for France, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad recaptured the steeple chase title he lost two years ago for taking his vest off in celebration before crossing the line. He kicked with on lap to go and won easily with a more subdued celebration of outstretched arms crossing the line.

It was the same feeling for the Dutch. Before the Schippers finale, it had seemed like Churandy Martina had clinched a Dutch double when he added the 200 gold to his 100 title which he won on Thursday. But he was disqualified for stepping outside his lane and Bruno Hortelano of Spain took gold instead.

Martyn Rooney won Britain's third gold at the championships, coming back from behind to win the 400 meters in a defense of his title.

Rooney won in 45.29 seconds, edging Czech Pavel Maslak by .07 while Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands took bronze.

In the women hammer's throw, Anita Wlodarczyk continued her domination of the event, with a throw of 78.14 meters for her third European gold to add to the world title and record. Only an Olympic title is still missing from her resume. Her longtime rival Betty Heidler of Germany took silver.

On Thursday, Greg Rutherford in the long jump and Dina Asher-Smith in the 200 got Britain's first titles in the five-day event.

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