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Dafne Schippers boosts her Rio gold bid by retaining her European Athletics 100m title

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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805   //    09 Jul 2016, 22:39 IST
 Dafne Schippers
Schippers switched to full-time sprinting from heptathlon a year back

One month ahead of the Rio Olympics, Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers is peaking at the right time. Switching to full-time sprinting from heptathlon just a year back, the 24-year-old has been wowing the world with her remarkable speed and dedication in this discipline.

It was the surprise gold medals at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in both 100m and 200m that paved the way for the change. And since then, the Dutchwoman has been a revelation.

Just two months before the 2015 World Championships last year, she announced to the world her decision of focussing on sprints. In August, she stormed through the field to clinch the 200m world gold, setting a new European record and also secured the silver medal in 100m behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Nine months on, Schippers showed that she has not slowed down even a bit. She was the biggest star of the European Athletics Championships this year which, interestingly, is being held at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.

22, 000 home fans braved the windy, chilly conditions to watch their most in-form athlete perform on Friday night and Schippers did not disappoint.

In 10.90 seconds, she burst through to the finish line, leaving behind silver medallist Ivet Lalova-Collio of Bulgaria who trailed a good 0.30 seconds behind her. That turned out to be the biggest margin of victory in European Championships history since Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1950.

Her form is clearly ominous and her confidence sky-high at the moment and she self-admitted, “I am shaping up well for Rio.”

Schippers also knows the importance of scheduling properly. Not willing to overburden herself she had opted out of the 200m competition at this continental meet. Despite that, she still has a chance to pick up another gold medal in front of her adoring fans when she runs the 4x100 relay on Sunday.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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