Britain's Matthew Hudson-Smith retained the European 400m title in Munich ©Getty Images

Britain's Matthew Hudson-Smith completed his 2022 medal set here tonight as he finished comfortably clear in the men's 400 metres final, clocking 44.53sec to add European gold to the world bronze and Commonwealth silver he has already amassed in the space of the last month.

It has been a whirlwind of accomplishment for the man who arrived here as defending champion.

Hudson-Smith won comfortably from Switzerland's Ricky Petrucciani, who clocked 45.03, and fellow Briton Alex Haydock-Wilson, who earned bronze in 45.17.

Femke Bol secured the first part of her projected 400m and 400m hurdles double at the European Athletics Championships with a pulverising run which saw her finish a metre clear in 44.94sec, the fastest European time run this season and a big personal best.

The 22-year-old Dutch athlete, who has won Olympic bronze and world silver over the hurdles in the past year, could not resist raising her fist in triumph as she crossed the line pursued by two Polish challengers - Natalia Kaczmarek and Anna Kielbasinska - who clocked 49.94 and 50.29, respectively.

Bol will seek to complete her task on Friday (August 19) night - assuming she moves through tomorrow's semi-finals.

Spain's Asier Martinez won the 110m hurdles title from France’s defending champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde by the narrowest of margins, one-thousandth of a second, as both clocked 13.14, which topped this year's European list.

By coincidence, Martinot-Lagarde won this title in 2018 from Russian athlete Sergey Shubenkov after both clocked 13.17.

Bronze also went to France as Just Kwaou-Mathey recorded 13.33.

Two outstanding women's junior field  performers made a big mark in senior competition tonight as Finland's 24-year-old Wilma Murto equalled the European Athletics Championships pole vault record of 4.85 metres and Romania's Bianca Ghelber won the hammer throw.

It was something of a belated triumph for the Romanian, now 32, whose early blizzard of titles - world youth in gold 2005 and 2007, world junior crowns in 2006 and 2008 - gave way to a highly respectable career which, save for a European under-23 gold in 2011, has yielded no big medals.

That all changed here as a first-round throw of 72.22m proved enough to secure the title - although only by 0.10m after the final-round effort of 72.12m from Poland's Ewa Rozanska.

As far as the women’s pole vault is concerned, in Murto a star is not so much born as confirmed.

Still the world junior record-holder thanks to her indoor 4.71m in 2016, the year in which she won world junior bronze, Murto failed to qualify for the 2019 World Championships and the 2021 European Indoor Championships, but the mark of her quality was clear from her equal-fifth placing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

At last month’s World Championships in Eugene Murto felt she had big vaults in her, but was not quite able to deliver, finishing equal sixth.

In this European arena, however, she was inspired - getting better the higher the bar went to overcome a champion's effort from the Greek athlete won win this title in Berlin four years ago, Katerina Stefanidi, who must have thought she had retained it after a faultless sequence all the way up to a season’s best of 4.75m.

For much of the competition it seemed the 32-year-old defending champion’s main danger was her 33-year-old rival, the revitalised Tina Sutej of the Czech Republic, who matched in first-time clearances up to 4.70m, which she only managed at the second attempt, although she took made 4.75m on the first time.

Murto had required two attempts to clear 4.55m and 4.65m and had passed after one failure at 4.70m, but she cleared 4.75m and then 4.80m, which proved to be the winning height as both her remaining rivals could go no further.

As Stefanidi and Sutej embraced, Murto remained utterly calm, composing herself for an attempt on 4.85m after a brief confab with her coach - and clearing it on the second attempt, at which point, even on the way down, the emotion poured out before she knelt briefly on the mat with head in hands.

Portugal's world and Olympic triple jump champion Pedro Pichardo earned his first European title with peerless ease thanks to a best effort of 17.50m that left him clear of his nearest challenger.

The 29-year-old Cuban-born athlete, who began representing his new country in 2018, now has a European outdoor title to set alongside the indoor version he won in Torun last year.

Finland's Wilma Murto equalled the European Championships record of 4.85m in winning the women's pole vault title in Munich ©Getty Images
Finland's Wilma Murto equalled the European Championships record of 4.85m in winning the women's pole vault title in Munich ©Getty Images

As things turned out Pichardo’s opening effort of 17.05m - his only other scoring mark after two passes and two fouls – would have been enough to secure gold, although only by a centimetre.

Italy’s Andrea Dallavalle went out to 17.04m in the fifth round to claim silver, with bronze going to France’s Jean-Marc Pontvianne, coached by the 2013 world champion and former world record-holder Teddy Tamgho, who had a best of 16.94m.

Pichardo, who keeps his emotions private during competition, offered a big smile of relief before taking his final jump, which was a foul - not that it mattered.

Meanwhile Nafissatou Thiam remained on track to retain her heptathlon title as she established a 214-point overnight lead after four of the seven events, improving her own high jump European Championships best en route.

Belgium’s world, Olympic and defending champion has 4,063 points, with compatriot Noor Vidts on 3,849 and the Dutch Olympic and world silver medallist Anouk Vetter third on 3,824.

If Thiam wins tomorrow the title would come as an early present for her 28th birthday on Friday.