Asier Martínez won gold in the 110m hurdles event by one thousandth of a second. / EFE

Spain finds success at the European Athletics Championships in Munich

Miguel Ángel López and Asier Martínez won gold in racewalking and 110m hurdles, respectively; as Mo Katir came second in the 5,000 metres event


Spanish athletes are enjoying various degrees of success at the European Athletics Championships, which are being hosted this week in Munich, winning seven medals so far.

Miguel Ángel López was the first Spaniard to win a gold medal after the 35km racewalking event on Tuesday, while Mo Katir came second later that day in the 5,000m event. Asier Martínez won Spain's second gold in the 110m hurdles event on Wednesday.

Racewalking to gold

Miguel Ángel López set a stunning time of 2:26:37 to bring home the first gold medal for Spain at the European championships.

His race around the streets of Munich saw him obliterate the competition, finishing almost three minutes ahead of second-placed Linke. López pulled away from his opponents in the fifth kilometre and had a one-minute advantage on his closest pursuer just before the 20-kilometre mark.

It was López's second gold at a European event after his first place in the 20km racewalk at the 2014 championships. He switched to the 35km distance this year, coming tenth at the World Athletics Championships in July.

The finest of margins

Asier Martínez crowned himself as European champion in the 110m hurdles, an event which he was the favourite to win. He pipped Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde to the gold medal by one thousandth of a second with a time of 13.14s (beating his previous record of 13.17s), in what was a closely contested dash to the finish line that required the judges to use the photo finish to determine the winner.

The 22-year-old Spaniard was in a euphoric state two hours before the semi-final as he had reached it without going through the heats, thanks to his results in other events.

But the final itself was no walk in the park. Martínez and his French opponent lead the pack off the start line; they cleared their hurdles in perfect unison, neither of them making any mistakes and giving way to a final sprint towards the finish line.

During that final stretch, the athletes kept their form and it was the Spaniard who eventually won, though by the finest of margins.

Katir on the up

Mo Katir continued his impressive ascent in athletics with a silver medal in an unforgettable 5,000m event final. He was the only runner to really put eventual winner Jakob Ingebrigtsen under pressure.

The Moroccan-born Spaniard finished the race with a time of 13:22.98, the country's best time at the European Championships. Ingebrigtsen had set the pace early on, ensuring that nearly all runners fall behind, as they dropped like flies.

Except Katir didn't struggle at all, instead nipping at the heels of the Norwegian and using his experience and confidence in the final lap to pressure Ingebrigtsen, who still managed to pull away at the end of the race and cranked up the speed with an impressive final sprint as the runners came into the final corner.

The Spaniard came into the European championships in fine form, having finished third in the 1,500m event at the World championships in July and an eighth-place finish in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics last year.