Christophe Lemaitre surged to the finish line to complete a sprint double last night, catching Britain's Christian Malcolm in the final stride to win the 200 metres by 0.01secs. Lemaitre, who had won the 100m title in Barcelona on Wednesday night, followed that success with another gold after triumphing in 20.37secs, ahead of Malcolm and his French compatriot Martial Mbandjock.
Lemaitre, 20, started slowly in lane four and was fifth coming off the curve, more than a metre behind Malcolm. Lemaitre struggled to close the gap on Malcolm, but a strong final 50m enabled him to duck his head over the line, inches ahead of the Briton, although he had to wait a few agonising seconds for the result to be confirmed before he could celebrate his success. Despite being beaten, Malcolm was delighted with his effort, which saw him clock a best time for 2010 of 20.38.
He told the BBC: "It means a lot. It's been a very tough year. I've come through with a medal. I can't believe he caught me on the line. It's hard being so close to winning it. "To take a medal, I can't argue with that. I have mixed emotions. Later on I'll be so happy to have a medal." In other action yesterday, a season's-best time of 13.28secs was enough for Britain's Andy Turner to take the gold medal in the 110m hurdles.
He took advantage of Petr Svoboda, the favourite from the Czech Republic, hitting a barrier heavily midway through the race, which ruined his momentum, leaving him to finish sixth. Russia dominated the women's 400m final as they claimed the top three places. Tatyana Firova took the gold medal as she held off a fierce challenge from her compatriot Kseniya Ustalova. Third place went to Antonina Krivoshapka.
Jessica Ennis saw her lead in the heptathlon trimmed to just 11 points after the third of seven events. The Briton, who led from start to finish to win the world title in Berlin last year, remained on course to do so again after winning the 100m hurdles and high jump. That gave her a 134-point lead over Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska, but that lead was nearly erased in the first round of the shot in the Olympic Stadium.
After three events the double world champion had 3,022 points, with Ukraine's Dobrynska on 3,011 and Jennifer Oeser of Germany on 2,867. There was disappointment for British hurdler William Sharman, who was disqualified from the semi-finals of the 110m hurdles. Sharman reacted too soon in lane eight and made a false start, and was disqualified. Previously, two false starts were required before disqualification.
The 25-year-old, a shock fourth in the World Championships in Berlin last year, said: "I just found it an extremely long hold. I felt the Polish athlete (Dominik Bochenek in lane seven) twitch and I just fell out of the blocks. "It was like a nightmare, I think this new rule is horrible." * Compiled by Graham Caygill with agencies