Robbie Grabarz and Rhys Williams win European gold

European Championships

  • Venue: Helsinki
  • Date: Wednesday, 27 June - Sunday, 1 July 2012

Coverage: Red Button & Online: Fri 29 (16:00-20:35) and Sat 30 (17:00-20:35); BBC Two & Online: Sun 1 July (14:00-18:00).

Robbie Grabarz won high jump gold for Great Britain and Rhys Williams took the 400m hurdles title at the European Championships.

Williams held off Serbia's Emir Bekric to win in 49.33 seconds, under the Olympic 'A' standard qualifying time.

The Welshman is now set to join Dai Greene and Jack Green in London.

European Championships: Rhys Williams wins 400m hurdles gold

Grabarz won his gold on the basis of fewer failed jumps from Lithuanian Raivydas Stanys after they both cleared 2.31m.

Williams, the son of Wales and British Lions rugby international JJ Williams, was delighted to win his first senior title after many years of coming close.

"It's a fine line between messing it up, like I did at the trials and fell flat on my face, and really nailing it," he said.

"Now I feel relief more than anything. I've won European bronze, European silver and back in 2003 I won the European juniors and didn't think it would take nine years to finally win a senior title. I wanted to make the most of this opportunity today."

Grabarz lost his UK Athletics funding after poor performances in 2011, but is now tipped for success at London 2012 after an impressive year.

The 24-year-old opted to begin his competition once the bar had been set at 2.24m, while Stanys entered the competition at 2.15m.

Robbie Grabarz's progress

Personal bests by year

  • 2012: 2.34m (indoor) 2.33m (outdoor)
  • 2011: 2.28m
  • 2010: 2.28m
  • 2009: 2.23m (indoor)
  • 2008: 2.27m
  • 2007: 2.21

And the Briton only had one failed jump, compared to the Lithuanian's four, giving Grabarz the title on countback despite Stanys jumping a personal best.

Grabarz successfully cleared 2.24m and 2.28m at the first attempt and said: "That's what clinched it, being as clinical as possible.

"It helps me keep the faith. I was really happy and confident in myself and the training we've done. It just solidifies that the stuff I am doing really does work."

Abi Oyepitan moved closer to selection for the Olympic 200m after running the 'A' standard qualifying time, clocking 23.05 seconds in winning her 200m heat, although she missed out on a 200m final appearance, however, by one hundredth of a second after finishing fourth in her semi-final..

Lynsey Sharp won silver in the women's 800m after a magnificent effort on the home straight, finishing with personal best time of two minutes 00.52 seconds, but she was outside the Olympic 'A' qualifying time of one minute 59.90 seconds.

In the men's 200m event both Daniel Talbot and Chris Clarke reached the final with times of 20.69 seconds and 20.90 seconds respectively - Talbot has already achieved the 'A' standard qualifying time of 20.55 seconds.

Analysis

"Some neat statistics emerged from Britian's medal success in Helsinki on Friday....

  • Robbie Grabarz is our first European high jump champion in 52 years.
  • Lynsey Sharp wins a European silver, just as her father Cameron did at the same championships 20 years earlier.
  • Rhys Williams completes the perfect medal progression. Bronze in 2006, silver in 2010 and now gold."

There was disappointment for Goldie Sayers , however, who could only finish fourth in the women's javelin final with a throw of 63.01m, while Lee McConnell was fifth in the final of the women's 400m.

Richard Buck finished fifth in the men's 400m final with a time of 45.92 seconds, meaning he must wait longer to discover whether he will claim the final individual 400m spot available for London 2012.

Lawrence Okoye , who has also qualified for London 2012, was the only Briton to go through in the discus with a throw of 64.86m, with Abdul Buhari and Brett Morse both failing to reach the final.

Sophie Hitchon ,who will compete in London, reached Sunday's hammer final with a throw of 67.08m but fellow Briton Sarah Holt came last with a throw of 61.18m.

In the long jump JJ Jegede was the only Briton to go through, qualifying with a season's best jump of 8.01m, but Chris Tomlinson and Julian Reid both missed out.