Jubilant Jeremiah Azu believes a natural ability to thrive on the big stage fired him to his brilliant 100m European bronze.

The Welsh sprinter, 21, finished third behind Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs and British teammate Zharnel Hughes on a memorable night in Munich.

Azu clocked a personal best time of 10.13 to finish 0.18s behind Italian Jacobs – whose 9.95s equalled the Championship record set by Hughes in 2018 – and improve on his fifth-place finish at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The British and Italian sprinters will be both be going for gold when the 4x100m heats get underway this morning.

Italy won Olympic gold in the sprint relay last year ahead of silver medalists Britain but the British squad have been stripped of their medals after CJ Ujah failed a drug test.

Azu wasn't part of the Olympic squad and with Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in action in the 200m final this evening he may well be called upon for this morning's heat.

Britain won bronze, behind the United States and champions Canada at last month's World Championships and have the same squad available. Azu was part of the wider relay squad but couldn't run in Eugene as he didn't want to risk a muscle problem developing into an injury, with his caution paying off.

Munich’s Olympic Stadium was packed to the rafters for Tuesday night's flagship race and Azu says keeping cool in the pressure-cooker held the key to his success.

Azu, who survived a nervous wait before his medal was confirmed, said: “Honestly, that’s what I live for.

“I think a lot of people would feel nervous in that position, but I think it feels natural.


“I think I was born to do this – sprinters are born sprinters. I’ve been gifted a talent and I’m just using it to inspire.

“It’s exciting and I think the celebration says it all.

“I wanted to come out with a medal, so I was nervously waiting for that third to come out.

Jeremiah Azu pictured during the Commonwealth Games has now won a European bronze after a fifth place finish at the Birmingham Games. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
“I was in lane eight so I couldn’t see what was going on beyond Jacobs.

“It was a very fun race – I came out with a PB so I’m really happy.”

The Cardiff sprinter missed out on a spot at this year’s World Championships, having won the British trials in a windy 9.90, which meant he didn't have the qualifying time. But he battled back to finish fifth for Wales in Birmingham this summer.

His time of 10.19s fell agonisingly short of a medal at the Alexander Stadium but he arrived here in Munich with genuine podium aspirations.

Azu kicked off his campaign with a time of 10.17s – finishing second behind Hughes – before going even faster in the final on what marked a turbulent evening for British sprinters.

Daryll Neita won bronze in the women’s 100m as defending champion Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with cramp on 60m.

Azu says he’s loved learning from experienced Hughes, 27, and is relishing the prospect of ‘picking the brains’ of Jacobs, who scorched to a surprise gold in Tokyo, at the medal ceremony this week.

“Zharnel is a really good mentor,” he added.

“He’s been everywhere and seen it all, so to be in the environment with him is really good.
“I haven’t had the chance to speak to Jacobs too much but hopefully, I can pick his brains a bit.

“It’s great to speak to people who have been there and done it.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website