Just 24 hours after he claimed the 100 metres title, Christophe Lemaitre set himself up for a sprint double at the European Championships as he cruised through to the final of the 200m last night. The 20-year-old French athlete won his semi-final in 20.39secs in wet conditions in Barcelona. His main rivals for the gold medal tonight are Said Ndure of Norway and Marlon Devonish of Great Britain, who were first and second in the other semi-final.
On Wednesday night, Lemaitre had first taken the headlines by winning gold in the 100m ahead of Mark Lewis-Francis, a Briton, and Martial Mbandjock of France. wLemaitre was the first Frenchman to win the European 100m since 1968. But ahead of today's 200m final, which starts at 9.25pm, Lemaitre said he was not putting pressure on himself. "The important thing for me is winning titles and that's what I am going to focus on," he said.
The 200m title will have a new home after Francis Obikwelu, the 2006 champion from Portugal, did not start his heat because of a muscle strain. A Portuguese team spokesman said they were hopeful the sprinter would be fit for the 4x100m relay competition. firstname.lastname@example.org