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By RAF CASERT,
Updated June 30, 2012
HELSINKI (AP) Two-time reigning discus world champion Robert Harting of Germany added the European Championships title on Saturday, beating Olympic gold medalist Gerd Kanter.
A strong throw of 224 feet, 1 inch in the rain and cold gave him a title that had eluded him, meaning only Olympic gold is missing for the 27-year-old German.
While others struggled in the conditions, Harting thrived. He had been yearning for the rain.
`'I wished for a rainy competition before London and I got it," said Harting, who is counting on typically British summer weather to provide a wet London Olympics.
With driving rain, temperatures of 59 degrees and few established stars competing, the championships were short on thrilling performances Saturday with only 21,104 fans braving the conditions at Olympic Stadium.
Three days after winning bronze in the 5,000 meters, Kenyan-born Polat Kemboi Arikan of Turkey added gold in the 10,000, leading much of the way and providing the best finishing kick in a slow race. He beat Italian runner Daniele Meucci and Yevgeny Ribakov of Russia.
In the women's 200, Ukraine dominated, with Mariya Ryemyen beating Hrystyna Stuy for gold, leaving defending champion Myriam Soumare of France to settle for bronze.
In the triple jump, Italy's Fabrizio Donatao had a massive leap on his first attempt and no one got close, leaving Sheryf El Sheryf of Ukraine with silver. It would have been a world-leading mark but for the blustery excessive wind his back.
In a tight pole vault final containing few real stars, Jirina Ptacnikova of the Czech Republic won with a vault of 4.60 ahead of Martina Strutz of Germany and Nikolia Kiriakopoulou of Greece on count-backs.
Merlene Ottey, 52, anchored the Slovenian 4x100 team but she failed to get her team into the final.
Left with too much to make up on the final straight, Ottey crossed the line in sixth place. Only the top three automatically advanced from the semifinal heat.
Ottey won three world titles as a Jamaican - the 200 twice and one sprint relay - before she moved to Slovenia in 1998.
France was anchored by 38-year-old Christine Arron and finished second in the same heat to advance to the final.