A wonderful European Athletics Championships finished last weekend, with plenty of highlights and memories for both the athletes and the fans alike. The Swiss hosts played a full part, encouraging all the competitors on to greater things besides being rapturous in their support of their own athletes' successes and efforts. Here is an opportunity to remind everyone of the top ten men and women who lit up the event.

1. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad

The apparent 'bad boy' of athletics was at it once again, mixing great moments of athletic ability with outrageous celebrations, as he covered the full spectrum from elation to despair and back again.

He should have become a three-time European champ in the steeplechase, only to take off his vest before the finish and hence contravene the rules to result in ultimate disqualification. His reaction in the 1500m, first in the heats where a late surge secured a final place, and then even more dramatically in the final itself to destroy the field on the last lap, was pure drama. Maybe he will find a happy medium in future, but somehow one suspects not.

2.  Kariem Hussein 

The Swiss hurdler's victory in the 400m event was the clear highlight for the hosts. With expectations high for the female sprinters and relay team, besides the end of Viktor Rothlin's marathon career, it was Hussein instead who provided their greatest moment.

Every Games needs a home win to reward the hosts and involve the fans, so it felt truly fitting when he provided them with the gold.

3. Jo Pavey

The somewhat unexpected women's 10000m gold for Jo Pavey made front and back page news back in England. Her story of a 40 year mum of two, who finally got the title she had battled throughout her career to get was an inspiration to many.

How many women in a similar situation will now take up the sport on the back of that performance ? 

4. Mo Farah

The double Olympic and World champion had been a doubt to compete at all after pulling out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow recently. He was worried he had let his fans down, but took the sensible approach to put his own health and mental state first.

Some viewed the Euros as an easier option, but there was nothing easy about the battle to win the 10000m title as he had to return a 54 seconds last lap to hold off the opposition. A 52 seconds last lap in the 5000m ensured he got the double at the Euros and in doing so became the most successful Euro performer of all time with five golds in total.

5.  Dafne Schippers

The Dutchwoman's sprinting was reminiscent of the great Fanny Blankers-Koen (who also did the double in the 1950 Euros) as she became the Queen of the track, taking a golden double over 100m and 200m. Her 200m was particularly impressive, as she set a world leading time and new National Record into a headwind. Whether the future of the 22-year-old lies in the sprints or the heptathlon will be the subject of much debate from now on.

6. Yohann Diniz

The Frenchman's world record in the 50km race walk was perhaps the most impressive performance of the champs. He destroyed the field and his celebrations in the last kilometre were memorable, including a stop to grab a French flag from the crowd near the finish.

7. Adam Gemili

The British took gold in the 200m, a truly impressive effort as he equalled his best time of 19.98 secs into a strong headwind. On the last day, he anchored the 4x100m relay team to gold in a near National record. Surely it's only a matter of time before John Regis' 200m British record is under threat and Gemili will be keen to push on and challenge the Jamaicans and Americans in future.


Krisztian Pars

The Hungarian hammer thrower not only retained his title in a tough battle with Fajdek (who also went over 82m) but in throwing 82.69m he set a World Leading distance.

9. Ruth Beitia

Beitia of Spain retained her title, the first woman to ever do so in the Euros in the high jump competition. True there were some top jumpers missing, such as Vlasic and current Olympic champion Chicherova, but she scaled a World Lead of 2.01m to take gold with three ladies going over 1.99m behind her in a world class competition.    

10. Cooly!

The official mascot of the championships, Cooly the 'cool cow' seemed to be everywhere during the event. Love or loathe him/her (did we ever find out?) there was no ignoring Cooly's presence and antics, as the fans were entertained and involved throughout in the action.

He/she also demonstrated a prowess in several of the disciplines, with decent hurdles, high jump and pole vault technique on show. Some pundits questioned the timing of some of the demos (too close to the events themselves), but overall Cooly was a hit and will no doubt return for the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting on August 28.