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Irina Davydova wins 400 hurdles at Europeans

 Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy crosses the finish line to win the Men's 800 meter final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Fr...
 Britain's Robbie Grabarz reacts after an attempt in the Men's High Jump final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Friday, J...

Finland Athletics Europeans

Russia's Yuriy Borzakovskiy crosses the finish line to win the Men's 800 meter final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Fr...

Finland Athletics Europeans

Britain's Robbie Grabarz reacts after an attempt in the Men's High Jump final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, Friday, J...

Irina Davydova underscored her Olympic gold medal credentials by winning the 400-meter hurdles at the European Championships on Friday in the year's best time.
Davydova has made major progress this year and powered away on the finishing straight to cross in 53.77 seconds, improving on her former world best by .10 seconds.
`'The time totally surprised me," she said, as the race was in blustery, cool 15-degree (59 F) conditions.
Czech Denisa Rosolova took silver in 54.24.
On a big day for Russia, Yuriy Borzakovskiy also triumphed.
Eight years after his Olympic title, Borzakovskiy finally won another major race when he came from behind in the 800 meters.
At 31, the Russian needed a slow race and got it, lying well back for most of the race before proving he still had that old finishing kick. He timed 1:48.61, more than six seconds off his best.
`'I came here to check my condition before the Olympics. Now Im happy that I got my first gold at the European Championships," he said.
Andreas Bube of Denmark crossed .06 seconds later, and Pierre Ambroise Bosse of France got bronze.
Borzakovskiy won gold at the 2004 Athens Games, but the closest he ever got to a major title since then was finishing second at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
Another veteran also had a major breakthrough.
Shot-putter Nadine Kleinert of Germany won her first major title at 36, beating Irina Tarasova of Russia and Chiara Rosa of Italy. Kleinert had won three world silvers before.
In the steeplechase, defending champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was threatened until the final hurdle in a slow race, but at that point, Spain's Victor Garcia crashed, allowing the Frenchman to coast to gold. Garcia quickly got up again and was passed by only Tarik Langat Akdag before ending up with bronze.
Ivet Lalova comfortably cruised into the 200 semifinals to stay on track for a sprint double.
Lalova won the 100 late Thursday and took it easy in the heats during her third straight day of competition. She finished third in her heat with a slow time of 23.58 seconds, but did not push since she knew the top four of each heat advanced automatically into the semifinals set for later Friday.
On a day featuring 12 finals, defending champ Betty Heidler failed to make the final of the hammer throw, a major setback on the road to the Olympics.
Heidler won the 2007 world title and was runner-up in 2009 and 2011 and is considered a gold medal contender for the London Games.
She botched her qualifying on Friday, though, finishing only ninth in her group and outside the top 12 overall with a throw of 65.06 meters. Her European record stands at 79.42.
She apologized to fans and said that `'at least I know now what I must not do during the Olympic Games."


Updated : 2021-07-28 14:48 GMT+08:00