BERLIN (Reuters) - Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway’s new sporting sensation, completed a unique European Championships double when he won the 5,000 metres just 24 hours after taking 1500m gold as the youngest track champion in the history of the event at just 17.
Yet the teenage phenomenon and his brother Henrik, who won silver behind him, were not the only athletes writing outlandish tales at the 84-year-old championships.
Dina Asher-Smith conclusively ended the reign of Dafne Schippers as Europe’s sprint queen when she raced to victory in the 200 metres in the Olympic Stadium to complete her own 100m/200m golden double.
Sandra Perkovic, Croatia’s queen of the discus, then became the first athlete ever to win five successive European titles in the same event, pulling out a fifth round winner of 67.62 metres to stop what would have been a German sweep of the medals.
Poland savoured an amazing three-gold night with Adam Kszczot becoming the first man to win three 800m titles while Justyna Swiety-Ersetic won a dramatic 400m before anchoring her team to gold in the 4x400m relay less than two hours later.
Anything the Ingebrigtsens can do, Belgium’s Borlee brothers Dylan, Jonathan and Kevin like to think they can do better. Once again, they all featured in the men’s 4x400 team that struck gold, just as they had in Amsterdam two years before.
Younger brother Dylan, 25, ran the opening leg, while third leg runner Jonathan passed the baton to his 30-year-old twin Kevin, who delivered an astonishing 43.91sec leg to tear past Spain’s anchor man and turn silver into gold.
Ingebrigtsen was again the star of the show, though, using the searing pace that had helped him win the 1500 metres on Friday to race away from the field in a modest-paced race with a scintillating last lap of 54.05 seconds.
Former European 1500m champion Henrik, the oldest of the three remarkable Ingebrigtsen brothers, who are all trained by their father Gjert in the small Norwegian city of Sandnes, was left trailing down the home straight.
“I knew he would eventually become the best in Europe and the world, but that he could do it at 17, I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams,” 27-year-old Henrik said. “He earned it; he didn’t just accidentally grab it.”
Jakob, a phenomenal talent who became the youngest ever sub-four minute miler at 16, won in 13 minutes 17.06 seconds, a European under-20 record, while Henrik clocked 13:18.75.
After consigning Schippers to bronze when winning the 100 metres easily on Tuesday, Britain’s Asher-Smith offered an even more telling blow in the Dutchwoman’s best event as she sped to victory in 21.89 seconds, the world’s fastest this year.
Silver medallist Schippers, twice world champion over the half-lap, ran her fastest race of the summer but was still beaten by a quarter of a second in 22.14 seconds.
By successfully defending her 200m crown, the 22-year-old Asher-Smith joined some of the great names who have achieved the 100/200m European double at the same championships, like Schippers herself (2014) as well as Poland’s Irena Szewinska (1974) and the ‘flying Dutchwoman’ Fanny Blankers-Koen (1950).
“It’s joy and also a shock,” Asher-Smith, who will bid for a third gold in the 4x100m relay on Sunday.
“Things in my life don’t normally go to plan. I looked at the time and couldn’t believe it. This is completely new territory for me.”
Kszczot raced to another stunning victory, tracking down France’s world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, who ended with bronze, on the crown of the final bend and sprinting away easily in one minute 44.59 seconds.
Swiety-Ersetic won the women’s 400m in 50.41 seconds but there was heartbreak for Greece’s Maria Belibasaki, the runaway leader who gave everything, broke her national record but, with legs turning to jelly, tumbled over the line 0.04sec adrift.
German jumpers had the stadium rocking too, Malaika Mihambo winning the long jump with a 6.75m leap and Mateusz Przybylko clearing a lifetime best-equalling 2.35m to take the high jump.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar