BERLIN: Pole vaulter Armand Duplantis claimed Sweden’s first gold of the European championship in fine style Sunday, the teenager soaring to a world junior record of 6.05 meters as Briton’s Dina Asher-Smith bagged her third gold.
Aged just 18 years and 275 days, Duplantis is the youngest athlete to win a field event at the Euros and follows in the footsteps of 17-year-old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s double gold showing in the 1500 and 5000m.
At a packed Olympic Stadium, Duplantis became just the 22nd man to go over the mythical 6-meter barrier, and the youngest ever, as he set an 11th junior record in his remarkable, fledgling career.
Timur Morgunov, the Russian competing under a neutral flag as his country remains banned because of a state-sponsored doping programme, took silver with a vault of 6.00m, while France’s world record holder and three-time European champion Renaud Lavillenie claimed bronze (5.95).
Duplantis’ mark of 6.05m matches Lavillenie’s best outdoors, with only Ukraine great Sergey Bubka having gone higher in a stadium.
On the track, Dina Asher-Smith produced a fantastic anchor leg in the women’s 4x100m relay to seal an unprecedented third European sprint gold for Britain.
Having already won the 100 and 200m titles, Asher-Smith took the baton in fourth place after conservative handovers between Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, and Bianca Williams.
But Asher-Smith showed all her form to power past the opposition, offering up a clinical finish for a third gold.
“I’m just honestly so proud. You go in aiming for this but you never know if it will be possible,” Asher-Smith told BBC.
“I’m so grateful for all these girls for putting out their best for our country and coming home with gold.”
Stand-in Harry Aikines-Aryeetey held off 200m champions Ramil Guliyev of Turkey to hand Britain gold in the men’s 4x100m relay, meaning a second championship gold for 100m champion Zharnel Hughes.
Two-time world bronze medallist Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands smashed the championship record for the women’s 5000m, the Ethiopian-born runner timing 14:46.12, with Britain’s Eilish McColgan claiming silver, almost 7sec off the pace.
Kenya-born Turk Yasemin Can took bronze (14:57.63), but there could easily have been another Kenyan-born runner on the podium had Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, now competing for Israel, not pulled up a lap short thinking the race was over.
With five throws that would have won the competition, Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, arguably the best women’s hammer thrower of all time, completely dominated the discipline for her fourth successive title.
The world record holder, who is the double defending Olympic champion and a three-time world gold medallist, threw a championship record of 78.94m, more than four metres better than France’s Alexandra Tavernier in silver.
Poland’s fine field medal showing continued with Joanna Fiodorow taking bronze (74.00).
Berlin’s packed Olympic Stadium were gifted a home gold medal when Gesa-Felicitas Krause defended her 3000m steeplechase title.
A fast first mile split the field, but Krause, who fell in the London worlds last year, thrived on the crowd’s energy to clock a winning 9:19.80.
Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlumf took silver in 9:22.29, with Norway’s Karoline Groevdal claiming bronze (9:24.46).
Scottish vet Laura Muir improved on her world indoor silver by winning the women’s 1500m in 4:02.32 ahead of Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui in 4:03.08, with another Briton, Laura Weightman, taking bronze (4:03.75).
Portuguese veteran Nelson Evora left it late for gold in the men’s triple jump, going out to 17.10m on his fifth of six attempts.
The 34-year-old Ivorian-born athlete, who initially competed for Cape Verde and was 2008 Olympic champion and 2007 world gold medallist, had enough to beat out Cuban-born Azeri Alexis Copello (16.93).
30 dead in Italy motorway bridge collapse ‘tragedy’
GENOA (Italy): About 30 people were killed on Tuesday when a giant motorway bridge collapsed in heavy rain in the Italian city of Genoa in what the government called an “immense tragedy”.
The collapse, which saw a vast stretch of the A10 freeway tumble on to railway lines in the northern port city, came as the bridge was undergoing maintenance work and as the Liguria region, where Genoa is situated, experienced torrential rainfall.
“Unfortunately there are around 30 dead and many injured in a serious condition,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters.
Rescuers scouring through the wreckage, strewn among shrubland and train tracks, said there were “dozens” of victims, as rescue helicopters winched survivors on stretchers from the ruined bridge.
Cars and trucks were tangled in the rubble and nearby buildings damaged by vast chunks of concrete, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
“We’re not giving up hope, we’ve already saved a dozen people from under the rubble,” a fire official, Emanuele Giffi, told the Media.
“We’re going to work round the clock until the last victim is secured.”
The incident — the deadliest of its kind in Europe since 2001 — is the latest in a string of bridge collapses in Italy, a country prone to damage from seismic activity but where infrastructure generally is showing the effects of a faltering economy.
Aerial footage showed more than 200 metres (650 feet) of the viaduct, known locally as the Morandi bridge, completely destroyed.
“I’m following with the utmost apprehension what is happening in Genoa and what looks like it could be an immense tragedy,” Transport and Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said on Twitter.
Salvini, who is also leader of the nationalist League party in a power-sharing government, vowed to hold those responsible for the disaster accountable.
“I have gone over this bridge hundreds of times, and I commit to digging and finding out who is responsible for an unacceptable tragedy, because it’s not possible that in 2018 you can work and die in these conditions,” he said.
The cause of the disaster was not immediately clear, although weather services in the Liguria region where Genoa is situated had issued a storm warning Tuesday morning.
The national motorways body said on its website that “maintenance works were being carried out on the base of the viaduct”, adding that a crane had been moved on site to assist the work.
Shares in Italian company Atlantia, which runs much of Italy’s motorway network including the collapsed stretch of the A10, closed the day down more than five percent at 23.54 euros.
The mayor of Nice, 200 kilometres (125 miles) west along the coast, said he had authorised firefighters in the French city to assist their counterparts in Genoa.
Genoa, home to half a million people, is located between the sea and the mountains of northwestern Italy.
Its rugged terrain means that motorways that run through the city and the surrounding area are characterised by long viaducts and tunnels.
The Morandi viaduct, completed in 1967, spans dozens of railway lines as well as an industrial zone housing several factories.
One factory, immediately next to one of the viaduct’s support columns, was virtually empty on Tuesday the day before a national holiday, and seems to have sustained minimal damage.
“I live nearby and I cross the bridge every day on foot,” said Ibou Toure, 23, a translator. “I was never sure of it, you’d always hear these noises whenever lorries were going over.
“When I heard it had collapsed, I wasn’t surprised.”
In March last year, a couple were killed when a motorway overpass collapsed on their car near Ancona on the country’s Adriatic coast.
A pensioner died in October 2016 when his car was crushed by a collapsing bridge over a dual carriageway between Milan and Lecco.
That incident was blamed on bureaucratic bungling which led to a fatal delay in the bridge being closed after it was reported to be showing significant cracks.
A relevant piece published earlier:
14th August: Pakistan’s flag hoisted at Bradford!
BRADFORD: Consul General, in presence of other guests, including the MP Bradford Imran Hussain and Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, has hoisted the flag of Pakistan here on 14th August to mark the 42nd Independence Day of Pakistan.
A relevant piece:
Sweden: Masked vandals torch dozens of cars before elections!
STOCKHOLM: Up to 80 cars were set on fire overnight across western Sweden by masked vandals, police said today, in what they suspect was a coordinated attack weeks before a general election.
Most of the cars were burned at around 20 locations in Sweden’s second largest city of Gothenburg late Monday.
Authorities said no suspects have been arrested so far and no motive has been established.
But police said they had identified several people in connection with the blazes, which they believe were organized on social media.
“We’ve never seen these many cars set on fire before,” Hans Lippens, a police spokesman in western Sweden, told AFP.
The incident triggered outrage among Swedish politicians who are busy campaigning for the September 9 general election.
“I’m furious. My question to (the perpetrators) is: what the hell are you doing?” Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told public broadcaster Swedish Radio on Tuesday.
“You’re ruining things for yourselves, your parents and your neighborhoods,” Lofven said, adding the incident “looked very coordinated, almost like a military operation”.
Cars set ablaze is common in Sweden. In Stockholm’s suburbs alone, such crimes happen almost on a daily basis, usually attributed to disadvantaged youths.
Last year, 1,457 cars were “deliberately” set on fire across Sweden, compared to 1,641 in 2016, according to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s figures.
“Sweden has tolerated this for too long. This must end now,” Ulf Kristersson, leader of the conservative opposition party, the Moderates, wrote on his Facebook account.
Last year in February, two days after US President Donald Trump’s baffling comments linking the crime to immigration in Sweden, riots broke out in the immigrant-heavy northern Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby.
Dozens of youths clashed with police after they arrested a suspected drug dealer in Rinkeby. The rioters threw stones at police, burned cars and looted shops.