AM 720 KDWN
News, Traffic, Weather

Dafne Schippers gets sprint double at Euros

KDWN

ZURICH (AP) — Suddenly, Europe again has a star sprinter who can compete with the best of the Americans and Jamaicans.

Her name is Dafne Schippers. The 22-year-old is from the Netherlands and on a cold, wet and windy Friday night she ran the fastest 200 meters this year by far to clinch a sprint double at the European Championships.

The thing is – she is a top heptathlete with world championship bronze to show for it, now trying out a summer of sprinting because a training camp in Florida showed she had amazing speed this year.

“Bizarre,” was the recurring word in an interview with the Associated Press after her second sprint gold. “There is no way I could have thought this possible a few weeks ago. Now it is slowly starting to dawn on me.”

Schippers blew away all opposition once she hit the home straight and won in 22.03 seconds running into a slight headwind and on a wet Letzigrund track. Britain’s Jodie Williams took silver ahead of France’s Myriam Soumare.

Schippers put up one finger in the air as she crossed the line before clenching both fists in celebration. Headstrong right up to the medal podium when she finally broke down with tears hearing the Wilhelmus anthem. “Two gold medals, it feels so good,” she said.

The choice for the future now becomes daunting. Stay with heptathlon, a multi-event competition with limited appeal beyond cognoscenti, or go for high-octane sprinting which takes center stage at world championships and Olympics.

Over a week in Zurich, her steadfast determination to stick with heptathlon has started wavering as she started tasting the adulation sprinting brings.

“My family says the whole of the Netherlands is about to explode,” she said. “Now I first have to let it all sink in,” she said.

There is a lot to learn though. Her start lacks zip. It had little impact on the 200, but over 100 it leaves her with a lot of work to do. Against top class global opposition, it would be fatal.

“It has got to get a lot better in the 100. It works in training but in competition it has to get a lot better.” Over the 100, she is only the 13th strongest performer, largely because of it. At her age though, there is a lot of future ahead of her.

“But first I have to enjoy this week,” she said. She can still get a triple by winning the relay with the Dutch team on Sunday.

With her double, she already is evoking memories of her Dutch compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won a sprint triple in 1950, two years after winning four gold at the London Olympics.

In the 1,500, Sifan Hassan, a transferee from Ethiopia, added a second gold on the night for the Dutch, sweeping past Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi in the finishing straight. Hassan also goes for a double, competing in the 5,000 on Saturday.

In the men’s 400, Martyn Rooney led a British one-two across the linve with teenager Matthew Hudson-Smith taking silver. It was another double in the 800, a Polish one at that, where Adam Kszczot won ahead of Artur Kuciapski. And Adam Gemili won the men’s 200 for a second British gold.

France also got two gold – and a world record. Yohann Diniz fought through stomach pains throughout the race and still set a world record in the 50-kilometer walk to win the European title for a third time.

With Schippers sprinting, the heptathlon was wide open, and Antoinette Nana Djimou profited to take gold ahead of Dutch backup Nadine Broersen.

In the men’s high jump, the cold and wet conditions made an attempt on the world record irrealistic but world champion Bogdan Bondarenko still won with a jump of 2.35 ahead of fellow Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko and Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov.

The biggest cheer of the night was for Kariem Hussein, who gave the host nation its first gold of the competition by winning the 400 hurdles.

Raf Casert can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rcasert

Dafne Schippers gets sprint double at Euros

KDWN

ZURICH (AP) — Dafne Schippers clinched her sprint double at the European Championships with a dominating victory in the 200 meters on Friday and still seeks gold with the Dutch relay team over the weekend for a triple.

Schippers won in a world leading 22.03 seconds running into a slight headwind and on a wet Letzigrund track, but powering away once she hit the home straight. Britain’s Jodie Williams took silver ahead of France’s Myriam Soumare.

Schippers, a heptathlete turned sprinter for the season, put up one finger in the air as she crossed the line before clenching both fists in celebration.

“Two gold medals, it feels so good,” she said.

When European sprinters often take second seat to Americans and Jamaicans, Schippers time in tough conditions was by far the best in the world, with U.S. sprinter Tori Bowe getting closest with 22.18.

“The world leading time is something unbelievable after so many starts I already had,” she said after her sixth race since Tuesday.

With her double, she already is evoking memories of her Dutch compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won a sprint triple in 1950. Schippers can still match her over the weekend. A heat and a final would give her eight races over six days.

She said her program was clear: “Eat sleep and rest before the relay” heat on Saturday.

In the 1,500, Sifan Hassan, a transferee from Ethiopia, added a second gold on the night for the Dutch, sweeping past Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi in the finishing straight. Hassan also goes for a double, competing in the 5,000 on Saturday.

In the men’s 400, Martyn Rooney led a British one-two across the linve with teenager Matthew Hudson-Smith taking silver. It was another double in the 800, a Polish one at that, where Adam Kszczot won ahead of Artur Kuciapski.

Earlier on Friday, Yohann Diniz of France fought through stomach pains throughout the race and still set a world record in the 50-kilometer walk to win the European title for a third time.

Walking the early part of the race through driving rain, the defending champion finished in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 33 seconds – slicing 1 minute, 41 seconds off the six-year-old mark held by Russia’s Denis Nizhegorodov.

The 36-year-old Frenchman had gastric trouble for most of the morning but refused to let it affect him.

“I was in pain throughout the race,” Diniz said.

Slovakia’s Matej Toth finished second, more than three minutes behind Diniz. Ivan Noskov of Russia took bronze.

In excellent cool, rainy conditions with temperatures of 14C (57F) in Zurich’s old town, Diniz could have lowered the record even further had he not taken time to pick up a French and Portuguese flag to celebrate his nation and family heritage in the closing stages of the race.

“I could have been even faster if not for the flags,” he said.

Diniz also won the European title in 2006 and 2010. On the global stage, he has done no better than a lone silver medal at the 2007 world championships.

“At 40K, I knew I had won and it was there that I realized I was within world record pace,” he said. “I knew if I continued the way I was walking it would be a world record.”

Dafne Schippers gets sprint double at Euros

KDWN

ZURICH (AP) — Dafne Schippers clinched her sprint double at the European Championships with a dominating victory in the 200 meters on Friday and still seeks gold with the Dutch relay team over the weekend for a triple.

Schippers won in a world leading 22.03 seconds running into a slight headwind and on a wet track, powering away once she hit the home straight on a wet Letzigrund track. Britain’s Jodie Williams took silver ahead of France’s Myriam Soumare.

Schippers, a heptathlete turned sprinter for the season, powered away on the home straight and put up one finger in the air before clenching both fists in celebration.

When European sprinters often take second seat to Americans and Jamaicans, Schippers time in tough conditions was by far the best in the world, with U.S. sprinter Tori Bowe getting closest with 22.18.

With her double, she already is evoking memories of her Dutch compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won a sprint triple in 1950. Schippers can still match her over the weekend. A heat and a final would give her eight races over six days.

In the 1,500, Sifan Hassan, a transferee from Ethiopia, added a second gold on the night for the Dutch, sweeping past Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi in the finishing straight. Hassan also goes for a double, competing in the 5,000 on Saturday.

In the men’s 400, Martyn Rooney led a British one-two across the linve with teenager Matthew Hudson-Smith taking silver. It was another double in the 800, a Polish one at that, where Adam Kszczot won ahead of Artur Kuciapski.

Earlier on Friday, Yohann Diniz of France fought through stomach pains throughout the race and still set a world record in the 50-kilometer walk to win the European title for a third time.

Walking the early part of the race through driving rain, the defending champion finished in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 33 seconds – slicing 1 minute, 41 seconds off the six-year-old mark held by Russia’s Denis Nizhegorodov.

The 36-year-old Frenchman had gastric trouble for most of the morning but refused to let it affect him.

“I was in pain throughout the race,” Diniz said.

Slovakia’s Matej Toth finished second, more than three minutes behind Diniz. Ivan Noskov of Russia took bronze.

In excellent cool, rainy conditions with temperatures of 14C (57F) in Zurich’s old town, Diniz could have lowered the record even further had he not taken time to pick up a French and Portuguese flag to celebrate his nation and family heritage in the closing stages of the race.

“I could have been even faster if not for the flags,” he said.

Diniz also won the European title in 2006 and 2010. On the global stage, he has done no better than a lone silver medal at the 2007 world championships.

“At 40K, I knew I had won and it was there that I realized I was within world record pace,” he said. “I knew if I continued the way I was walking it would be a world record.”