France's Christophe Lemaitre won the 100 metres gold at the European championships in Spain Wednesday, clocking 10.11 seconds. The next four athletes all came in at exactly the same time of 10.18 seconds.
REUTERS - Newly-crowned European 100 metres champion Christophe Lemaitre made headlines this month when he became the first Caucasian to crack 10 seconds but the Frenchman says winning titles matters more to him than records.
The shy 20-year-old from Annecy set a French record of 9.98 at his national championships before heading to Barcelona, where he recovered from a poor start on a sultry evening at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday to claim gold.
"The joy of being European champion is much greater than running under 10 seconds," Lemaitre, wearing a cowboy-style straw hat given to him by a fan on his lap of honour, told a news conference deep in the stadium.
"The important thing for me is winning titles and that's what I am going to focus on," he added.
A former junior world champion in the 200 metres, the softly-spoken Lemaitre can double his gold tally on Friday over the distance and is also planning to compete in the 4x100 relay on Sunday.
"There is a lot of work left to do and I'll keep the celebrations until the end of the championships," he said.
Lemaitre came late to athletics, debuting in 2005 when he was talent-spotted by a local coach and is still juggling his electrical engineering studies with a hugely-promising career.
He lists his hobbies as going out with friends, watching television or using his computer and insists he has no plans to abandon his studies.
"It's very important for me to maintain the balance between studying and athletics although I prefer to be on the track," he said.
Asked whether he was worried about the media attention his latest success would bring, he added:
"Of course it is going to increase, just like for any champion of Europe.
"But I am aware that's part of the job and I'll deal with it the best I can."
Date created : 2010-07-28