The strength of European athletics came to the forefront in remarkable fashion in Marrakech as the team won the IAAF Continental Cup on Sunday night in style.
After six individual triumphs 24 hours earlier, Europe finished first in 10 events on the second day to take the title with 447.5 points from the Americas with 390, Africa with 339 and Asia-Pacific with 257.50.
Wherever you looked at the Le Grande Stade, it seemed like a European athlete was winning a race or going clear in the field as the team shone again.
It was some Sunday, too, for France as their athletes won three individual titles - all from gold medallists from the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
France’s third gold came in the long jump as Eloyse Lesueur followed up her glory in Zurich with an extraordinary win.
The eight points were heading Europe’s way as world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic, of Serbia, led with 6.56m after Lesueur had fouled the first three of her four attempts.
But then with her last go she reached 6.66m to take the title from Spanovic with American Tianna Bartoletta, the Diamond Race winner, third with 6.45m.
Schippers back in first place
Having finished third in the 100m on Saturday, Dafne Schippers came storming back in style to win the 200m and end the summer season as the most-talked about woman sprinter in the world.
What a few months it has been for the Dutch star who is still planning to compete in the heptathlon, the event where she had made her name before her sprinting exploits on the Diamond League circuit.
That took her to Zurich where she won double gold and now it is glory in the 200m at this Continental Cup as she triumphed in 22.28 from American Joanna Atkins and European teammate, France’s Myriam Soumaré, who was third in 22.58.
Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, the double European champion, gave the team a winning start with victory in the opening field event, the hammer, as she took the title with 75.21m from her third round throw, with her teammate Martina Hrasnova in third with 70.47m as American Amanda Bingson finished second with 72.38m.
The European 1500m champion from the Netherlands had so much speed in the final stages as she won in 4:05.99 from American Shannon Rowbury, second in 4:07.21, and Dawit Seyaum, of Ethiopia, who was third in 4:07.61.
Europe celebrated a first and third in the women’s high jump as Mariya Kuchina, the world indoor champion, triumphed again with a best of 1.99m, just one centimetre adrift of the furthest she has cleared this year.
Porter runs a British best
Britain’s Tiffany Porter was second in the 100m hurdles - and not only did it bring her seven points for the team but her run of 12.51 was a national record.
The European champion was flying in a race won by American Dawn Harper Nelson in 12.47 with Germany’s Cindy Roleder third in 13.02.
Europe took second in both the 4x400m relays.
In the women’s, Spain’s Indira Terrero, Malgorzata Holub of Poland, Ukraine’s Olha Zemlyak and Libania Grenot, of Italy, combined for 3:24.12 as the Americas won in a world-leading time of 3:20.93.
But by then Europe were way ahead on a glorious weekend.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images