Britain struck gold 22 times in the 12 years and 9 championships between 1986 and 1998 in what was a golden era for British athletics

In the third part of our feature on British European Indoor successes we cover the successful period from 1986 to 1998.

For 1966-1975 CLICK HERE

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In our member-only Clubhouse there are articles on the most successful women at the European Indoor Championships and the greatest male athletes at the events.

1986 Madrid, February 22-23 (GB: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

Gold: Linford Christie 200m 21.10
The previous year Christie, failed to get through his heat and even here, still with no real international form of note, he probably would have been happy with a place in the final on the tight 164m track.

He was well beaten in his heat by the favourite and two-time champion Aleksandr Yevgenyev 21.23 to 21.42 and only got through to the semi finals as a fastest loser. There he was beaten by another Soviet athlete Nicolay Razgonov (21.29 to 21.33).

In the final he was drawn in lane four and Yevgeniy swept past inside him on the final turn but the Soviet began to tighten in the straight and Christie powered past him on the outside to snatch a shock gold in 21.10 to the Russian’s 21.18.

In the summer Christie would go on to win the European 100m title but this time here was an overall electrical timing PB as his best outdoor times were a mere 10.42/21.38 at this stage of his career despite being 25 years-old.

Other medallists:
Geoff Parsons High jump bronze 2.28m (D Mogenburg 2.34m)
Yvonne Murray 3000m silver 9:01.31 (Ines Bibernell-Obst 8:54.52)

1987 Lievin, February 21-22 (GB: 2, 1, 3)

Gold: Todd Bennett 400m 46.81
Bennett regained the title he had won in 1985 but not without a few hiccups. He did not run at his best in the morning heat and his third place in 47.36 only advanced him as a fastest loser. He was more awake in his semi which he won in 47.09.

In the final he tried to control the race and went through in a far too fast 21.43 – quicker than two of the 200m finalists ran! He was overtaken by the other semi final winner Arjem Visserman, who had beaten him in his heat, along the back-straight but was able to kick past in the finishing straight as the Dutchman paid for the pace. Bennett just about held on at the line to repel Momtchil Harizanov (46.89) and a fast-finishing Paul Harmsworth (46.92).

Gold: Yvonne Murray 3000m 8:46.06
After a third in 1985 and second in 1986, the Scot naturally progressed to first. The first kilometre was a slow 3:02.43 but then Murray blasted a vicious 66-second 400m between 1200m and 1600m. She completed the kilometre in 2:51:38 and carried on at a pace quicker than world record tempo to run the last in 2:52.25 to win by 35 metres and her time moved her to fifth all-time.

Future triple champion Elly van Hulst was second (8:51.40) and the 1984 champion (and a previous double 1500m winner) Brigid Kraus was third (8:53.01).

Other medallists:
John Regis 200m bronze 20.54 (B Marie-Rose 20.36)
Paul Harmsworth 400m bronze 46.92 (Bennett)
Colin Jackson 60mH silver 7.63 (A Bryggare 7.59)
Nigel Walker 60mH bronze 7.65 (Bryggare)

1988 Budapest, March 5-6 (2, 2, 2)

Gold: Linford Christie 60m 6.57
Christie underlined his position as favourite by winning his semi final in a British record 6.55 when no one else broke 6.60. It moved him to eighth all-time in the world.

He was not quite as fast in the final, not helped by a terrible start but his mid-race acceleration was astonishing as he won by a fairly narrow margin from Ronald Desruelles, Valentin Atanasov and Sven Matthes, who all ran 6.60.

Christie later finished third in the 200m not helped by a poor lane draw.

Gold: David Sharpe 800m 1:49.17
Three Britons made the final but it was the world junior champion Sharpe who proved the strongest at the finish and he won clearly from 1987 champion Rob Druppers (1:49.45) who had been second in the 1983 World Championships.

Sharpe had only finished fourth in the AAA Championships and was fortunate to be selected.
In the final he got to the front and slowed the race down and led through 400m in a pedestrian 57.51 before Druppers took off with 300m to go and the Dutch runner was five metres clear at the bell.

The Briton closed to two metres going into the final bend and completing a 51.66 last 400m, he won going away.

Tony Morrell was fourth and Ikem Billy was sixth.

Other medallists:
Christie 200m bronze 20.83 (N Razgonov 20.62)
Brian Whittle 400m silver 45.98 (J Carlowitz 45.63)
Jon Ridgeon 60mH silver 7.57 (A Hoffer 7.56)
Wendy Sly 3000m bronze 8:51.04 (E van Hulst 8:44.50)

1989 The Hague, February 18-19 (GB: 4, 4, 1)

Gold: Ade Mafe 200m 20.92
This proved an all British battle for gold with Mafe narrowly beating John Regis (21.00) after favourite Christie was a late withdrawal from the team.

Mafe, who made the Olympic final at the age of 17, gained his biggest ever win as a senior after some lean spells due to injury, using the camber in lane five to build momentum for a strong finish to propel himself past his rivals.

Third place was Bruno Marie-Rose who had set a world record 20.37 at Lievin.

Regis, who was drawn in an unhelpful lane three here, went on to win the world title in this event a few weeks later from Mafe (20.54 to 20.87).

Gold: Steve Heard 800m 1:48.84
Again Druppers missed out on gold (this time in front of an expectant home crowd) to a British athlete even though defending champion Sharpe failed to finish having been balked and pushed on a rough first lap.

The powerful Heard, not the shape you would normally expect of an indoor specialist, beat the Dutch athlete by a metre (1:48.96) in just his second final ever indoors having lost the AAA final to Sharpe.

The first lap was a fast 52.41 despite the pushing and Druppers moved four metres clear at 600m with Heard third but the Briton gradually closed and edged by in almost his last stride in an exciting finish.

Gold: Colin Jackson 60m hurdles 7.59
Jackson won his semi final by two metres in 7.53 to miss the British record by a hundredth of a second. He wasn’t as dominant in the final as he got an average start and clipped the first hurdle but he produced a strong finish only going ahead after the last hurdle and with a spectacular dip that went below the photo finish beam. That finish gave him a surprisingly large margin of around half a metre from Holger Pohland (7.65).

Gold: Sally Gunnell 400m 52.04
The Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist (and future multi hurdles champion) was only fourth in 1987 in an UK record 51.77, but she went three places higher with a slightly slower time as she won by three metres from the Soviet Marina Shmonina (52.36).

She dominated the first lap leading through 200m in a PB 200m of 24.12 and though slowing nearly four seconds on the second lap, always held a clear advantage.

Tatana Slaninova (formerly Kocembova) the second fastest runner in history with a 49.76 PB could only manage 54.16.

Other medallists:
Michael Rosswess 60m bronze 6.59 (A Berger 6.56)
John Regis 200m silver 21.00 (Mafe)
Brian Whittle 400m silver 46.49 (C Cornet 46.21)
Dalton Grant High jump silver 2.33m (D Mogenburg 2.33m)
Nicky Morris 3000m silver 9:12.37 (E van Hulst 9:10.01)

1990 Glasgow, March 3-4 (2, 1, 2)

Gold: Linford Christie 60m 6.56
In the first ever Championship held in Britain, Christie defended his title but not by a huge margin as he defeated Pierfrancesco Pavoni (6.59).

Pic: Mark Shearman

The Italian had actually ran the faster time in the heat and semi but Christie now a proven big-time competitor and Olympic medallist, proved the best under pressure. However, he got another poor start and only took the gold medal and maintained his European dominance with a typically strong finish to run down the Italian.

Christie almost did not compete and it was only pressure from top promoter Andy Norman that made him change his mind in a Championships that was claimed in AW to be very poorly organised.

Gold: Tom McKean 800m 1:46.22
In front of his home crowd, McKean proved a class apart from the opposition winning by exactly a second from Tomas de Teresa (1:47.22).

He looked unconvincing in the heats and constantly got boxed and in bad positions but he ran a faultless race when it mattered.

In the final he went straight to the front and led through 200m in 25.6 and 400m in 53.35 before accelerating through a 26.5 third 200m to stretch the field out and then a 26.3 final 200m to pull away and as a bonus he broke Seb Coe’s championships record from 1977.

Pic: Mark Shearman

Other medallists:
Tony Morrell 1500m bronze 3:44.83 (JP Herold 3:44.39)
Tony Jarrett 60mH silver 7.58 (I Kazanov 7.52)
Lorraine Baker 800m bronze 2:02.42 (L Gurina 2:01.63)

1992 Geneva, February 28-March 1 (GB: 2, 1, 2)

Gold: Jason Livingston 60m 6.53
Livingston had been a poor sixth and last two years earlier in 6.75 and did not convince in his heat when he got left at the start and barely qualified with a 6.72.

Looking a totally different athlete he won his semi final in 6.59 and then went even quicker in the final but needed to as Vitaliy Savin pushed him all the way with a time of 6.54 with Michael Rosswess finishing third.

Livingston, who had equalled Christie’s European record of 6.51 in the build-up to the Championships, also impressed in the early summer but failed a drugs test and was sent home in disgrace from the British team before the 1992 Olympics had begun.

Gold: Matt Yates 1500m 3:42.32
The Briton had looked good in winning his heat when a last 200m of 26.1 gave him a 3:42.10 indoor PB.
After watching the 3000m and in viewing of the tactics used by Italian runners there to intimidate other competitors he decided to go earlier than planned.

After a very slow first 400m of 64.92, his next two laps were 30.61 and 29.72 and then after passing 800m in 2:05.25, he blasted the next 400m in a vicious 54.76 to pull well clear of the field. His last 300m of 42.31 was not as convincing as the pack closed but he held on to win by a metre from Soviet Sergey Melnikov (3:42,.44) and Branko Zorko (3:42.85) who won the newly affiliated Croatia’s first ever medal.

This was Britain’s first win at the distance since John Whetton’s in 1968.

Matt Yates (pic: Mark Shearman)

Other medallists:
Michael Rosswess 60m bronze 6.62 (Livingston)
David Grindley 400m bronze 46.60 (S Brankovic 46.33)
John Mayock 3000m silver 7:48.47 (G Di Napoli 7:47.24)

1994 Paris March 11-13 (5, 0, 2)

Gold: Colin Jackson 60m 6.49
He may have been the world record-holder and world champion at 110m hurdles but he showed he could sprint as well in one of his brief forays into non hurdling action.

Jackson ran the fastest heat time of 6.57 and then equalled his PB of 6.55 in the semi finals and then went faster again in the final which he won in a championships record as he kept the title in British hands.

Despite the speed it was not that clear a victory though as despite Jackson’s bullet start, Greece’s Alexandros Terzian (6.51) was only 0.02 behind with Michael Rosswess third again in 6.54.

It would have been a European record had Christie, absent here, not run 6.48 10 days earlier.

Gold: Colin Jackson 60m hurdles 7.41
Looking unbeatable after his 60m flat win, he won his heat in 7.48 to equal the championships record and then went even faster in his semi, blazing to a 7.39 three metre victory with 7.58 the next best time in the three semis.

The six hour wait for the final did not help the Briton though but he still won by two metres in what would have been a championship record earlier in the day from George Boroi’s 7.57.

Gold: Du’aine Ladejo 400m 46.53
Ladejo looked sharp when he won the semi final in 46.26 but the final was a much closer affair.
He passed 200m in 21.47 and then held on to win by about a foot as as Mikhail Vdovin (46.56) pushed him all the way. Fellow Briton Jamie Baulch failed to finish after being balked and top-ranked Mark Richardson exited in the semis.

Gold: David Strang 1500m 3:44.57
The American-based Scot with the big kick, kept the title in Great Britain but only by a small margin as Zorko (3:44..64) and Abdelkader Chekhemani (3:44.65) fell victim to his powerful last 50 metres and 26.5 last lap.

Gold: Dalton Grant High Jump 2.37m
This was a good quality competition with five over 2.31m and it proved to be the best win of his career for an athlete with a big-time temperament who did not always get the results he deserves.

Grant was the only athlete able to clear 2.37m as an inspired home athlete Jean-Charles Gicquel (2.35m) and Wolf Hendrik Beyer (2.33m) won the other medals as the better-known Stefan Holm could only finish fourth.

The Briton failed his first two attempts at 2.31m and then had to clear 2.33m with the next attempt just to win a medal but when Gicquel cleared 2.35m, a height Grant failed at his first attempt, he needed a final clearance at 2.37m to win the gold.

Other medallists:
Michael Rosswess 60m bronze 6.54 (Jackson)
Rod Finch 3000m bronze 7:53.99 (K Bauermeister 7:52.34)

1996 Stockholm, March 8-10 (GB: 1, 3, 0)

Gold: Du’aine Ladejo 400m 46.12
Ladejo defended his title with far more style than he did in 1994 and he was a very clear winner from Pierre-Marie Hilaire (46.82). Since his first title, the confident Briton who celebrated his 50th birthday a few weeks ago, had won the European outdoor title.

In 1998 he finished a remarkable seventh in the Commonwealth Games decathlon with 7633 points and he ran exactly the same time in the Decathlon 400m as he did in Stockholm!

Other medallists:
Jason John 60m silver 6.64 (M Blume 6.62)
Anthony Whiteman 1500m silver 3:44.78 (M Canellas 3:44.50)
Francis Agyepong Triple jump silver 16.93m (M Bruziks 16.97m)

1998 Valencia, February 27-March 1 (GB: 3, 1, 2)

Gold: John Mayock 3000m 7:55.09
This was the Briton’s finest ever moment as he took on three top quality Spaniards who had fervent home supporters and won.

The home nation though pushed him hard (literally) as in a very rough race, European record-holder Manuel Pancorbo (7:55.23), Alberto Garcia (7:55.24) and Isaac Viciosa (7:55.45) all finished within a few metres.

Pic: Mark Shearman

While Mayock was only propelled into the lead on the last lap due to a push, it was the Spanish who protested about the Briton with the runner-up claiming. “If Mayock had chisels on his elbows, my chest would have been full of holes.”

Gold: Jonathan Edwards Triple jump 17.43m
The 1995 world outdoor champion and world record-holder contested this Championships for the only time here after a disappointing 1997 outdoor season and he won easily from Charles Friedek (17.15m). The Briton sealed victory with his opening jump but also had a back up jump of 17.40m in the final round way in excess of his rivals.
The German though would go on to win both the world indoor and outdoor title in 1999.

Gold: Ashia Hansen Triple jump 15.16m (world indoor record)
The Briton headed qualifying with 14.48m but she was much better in they final as she bounded out to a top class 15-metre jump to win by a huge 40 centimetres from world champion Sarka Kasparkova.

She started with a 14.48m but later in the round Kasparkova jumped 14.64m to take the lead.
The Czech athlete improved to 14.67m in the second round though Hansen closed the leading margin with a 14.56m. The Briton though edged ahead in the third round with a 14.69m though Kasparkova response of 14.63m just fell short.

Ashia Hansen (pic: Mark Shearman)

In the fourth round it was now the Czech athlete to jump first and she put the pressure on with a fine 14.76m. The Briton’s response though was magnificent adding 13 centimetres to Yolanda Chen’s world record and it killed the competition with no one jumping further than 14.43m in the last two rounds.

READ MORE: Ashia Hansen’s world record remembered

Other medallists:
Jason Gardener 60m silver 6.59 (A Pavlakakis 6.55)
Allyn Condon 200m bronze 20.68 (S Osovich 20.40)
Diane Allahgreen 60mH bronze 8.02 (P Girard 7.89)

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