Gemili stunned as he secures European 200m title

15 August 2014 / 22:13

Just two years after taking up full-time sprinting Adam Gemili powered to 200m gold at the European Championships - destroying French rival Christophe Lemaitre in the process.

Gemili, a 100m silver medallist at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, scorched to a personal best of 19.98 seconds, despite chilly conditions and a stiff headwind in Zurich.

Lemaitre simply trailed in his wake as the 20-year old became the first British athlete to win over 200m at the Championships since Dougie Walker 16 years ago.

"I used to think the only way I'd be able to hear the national anthem was with the England football team," said Gemili, who was playing non-league football just three years ago. "It's a great feeling, it's the best feeling in the world.

"It was really cold and the track was really wet and I don't know why the race was on so late. 

"I had the big man Christophe in the lane inside of me and I knew he’d be coming, so I tried to just run the bend as I usually do and hang on for dear life. 

"I could hear the footsteps coming, and you could probably see the tension in my face, but then I crossed the line and saw a sub 20 seconds and I was gob-smacked.

"To become European champion was a big target for me this year and to achieve it is amazing."

Martyn Rooney also stormed to gold in the 400m, with British team-mate and rising star Matthew Hudson-Smith taking silver in a personal best a 44.75.

“I’ve never won anything major in my life," said Rooney. "I’ve won the trials and stuff, but to win the European Championships, I’m ecstatic. It was great to have a 1-2 as well, that’s great for British Athletics, for me personally to have someone to race for the next couple of years – it’s amazing.

“Matt’s a fantastic kid. Call up rooms are good fun with him - I love having him about, he’s got a great coach, great family and great set up. It's brilliant we’ve got another young British talent coming through.”

It was another night to remember for the British team in Zurich, who dominate the medal table after Jodie Williams also took 200m silver and Laura Weightman claimed 1500m bronze.

Williams produced her third personal best of the summer behind an impressive run from Holland's Dafne Schippers, who stormed to the fastest time in the world this year, with British team-mate Bianca Williams in fourth.

Williams, just 20, clocked 22.46 , despite the conditions, the fastest time by a British woman since 1984.

"Obviously Dafne ran insanely fast and I was just trying to chase her down as much as possible," she said. 

"It got to a point where I didn’t think I was going to get a medal so I just tried to push as hard as I could and managed to come away with a silver medal and a PB so I’m really happy.”

Elsewhere, world champion Christine Ohuruogu finished fourth in the 400m and Hannah England was sixth in the 1500m.

© Sportsbeat 2014