Kambundji pips Neita by one hundredth in Euro 200m nail-biter – AW

    Swiss sprinter edges out the Brit in a painfully close end to the race on Tuesday at the Euro Champs in Rome

    A mere one hundredth of a second separated Mujinga Kambundji and Daryll Neita in the European 200m final on Tuesday (June 11) but judging by their post-race reactions the difference between them may as well have been wide as the nearby River Tiber.

    With 22.49 (0.7), Kambundji was all smiles after being given the victory whereas Neita was left bitterly disappointed to come so close to gold.

    After a thrilling race, both athletes dipped at the line after giving their all. For a moment neither knew who had won and they embraced each other. “That was close,” Neita gasped to Kambundji.

    Soon the result was known and the Swiss athlete celebrated while Neita sportingly applauded her rival but then headed away from the arena with her head down and spirit feeling crushed.

    “I am honestly just so disappointed because I really wanted that medal,” said Neita. “I know how much I should have got that [the gold]. I thought it was close on the line, I could feel myself dipping which isn’t my strongest thing.”

    Mujinga Kambundji with Daryll Neita and Helene Parisot (Getty)

    Neita added: “I am happy for the winner. I am not a bitter athlete. I’m upset at myself because I came here for the gold. I’m grateful to finish the race healthy. It is still the middle of the season so I can’t let this dictate how my season goes, there are bigger things happening this season.”

    Neita experienced similar frustration in 2022 when she was just one hundredth of a second behind 100m winner Gina Luckenkemper of Germany and runner-up Kambundji but had to settle for bronze.

    The Italian-based Brit continues to make impressive improvements, though, and has the chance for immediate redemption in the 4x100m on the final day of these championships, although that came as no consolation to her on Tuesday night.

    As for Kambundji, she started her season in under-par form. Was she injured in the winter? “No, the problem was that I wasn’t injured!” she laughed. “Things just didn’t click for me.”

    They did in Rome on Tuesday when it mattered, though, and she will head into the rest of the season with her eye on an Olympic podium spot.

    In third, Helene Parisot of France clocked 22.63.

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