Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with cramp in a dramatic women’s 100m final as fellow Briton Daryll Neita won bronze, while Olympic gold medalist Lamont Marcell Jacobs was victorious in the men’s 100m final at the European Championships in Munich.
Asher-Smith was left disappointed as she failed to defend the first of three European titles won in Berlin four years ago, lasting 60m before slowing down and eventually crossing the finish line in last place.
Neita battled through cramp herself to make the podium in a time of 11.00 seconds after an incredibly close finish, with Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper taking gold in 10.99 seconds and Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji winning silver.
Asher-Smith has endured mixed fortunes since a hamstring injury spoiled her hopes at the Tokyo Olympics last year, winning 200m bronze at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last month before having to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games due to an injury sustained in the world 4x100m relay final.
That bronze medal in Eugene came after Asher-Smith suffered personal tragedy with the death of her grandmother this year, with the 26-year-old admitting that athletics had been at the “back of my mind” as a result.
The 26-year-old said there was no lasting damage from the cramp suffered in the 100m final — a problem she had not experienced before.
“I’ve never cramped in a race in my life,” Asher-Smith said. “I don’t even cramp in training. I’m just so irritated.
“There was no tear, no damage and I am able to run and train, but I got cramp in both of my calves and I wasn’t about to run a whole race on two cramping calves — [if I had] I’m probably going to tear them.”
In the men’s 100m, meanwhile, Italy’s Jacobs followed up his surprise win in Tokyo last year with European glory, while the British pair of Zharnel Hughes and Jeremiah Azu took silver and bronze.
Jacobs was forced to pull out of the 100m semifinals at the World Championships with a thigh injury, but a strong finish meant he powered past defending champion Hughes in a time of 9.95 seconds.
Hughes’ silver in 9.99 seconds added to gold and silver medals won at the Commonwealth Games, while Azu’s personal best of 10.13 seconds was enough for an impressive bronze medal.
“I saw first come up, I saw second come up and I said, ‘Surely I have done enough to get third,'” Azu said. “I was waiting and waiting and I saw my name and just screamed.”