Anguilla celebrates Zharnel Hughes’ gold at European Champs

Zharnel Hughes

Anguilla born athlete Zharnel Hughes is being celebrated on the island as he picked up his second individual title at the European Athletics Championships in Munich, Germany.

Hughes won the men’s 200-metre sprint in a season’s best time of 20.07 seconds.  His fellow team Great Britain member,Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, placed second and Italian Filippo Tortu was third.

The win gave Hughes his second medal of the championship after he won a silver in the 100m where he was the defending champion.

“I’m so happy,” Hughes said. “My coach and I spoke about this earlier in the season and we just stretched out our programme in order to stay healthy.

“Mostly the European Championships for us was more of a mental game than physical because we knew we were fit. We just had to make sure my mental strength was on par and I think I did a great job on that.”

Zharnel Hughes

Anguillan Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam is leading the chorus of people sending congratulations to Hughes.

“Anguillans across the globe send congratulations to Zharnel Hughes for winning the gold medal [yesterday] in the men’s 200m race at the European Championships 2022,” the Governor’s office said.

Born and raised in Anguilla, Hughes has competed internationally for Great Britain in World Athletics and European Athletics events since 2015. He holds the Anguillian national records in both 100 m and 200 m and has personal bests of 9.91 seconds for the 100 m and 20.02 seconds for the 200 m. As of June 2018, he is the second fastest British 100-metre sprinter ever, after Linford Christie and fourth fastest European. His time of 20.02 ranks him fourth fastest British 200 metres sprinter in history and 13th fastest European.

He had significant success in his youth representing Anguilla, winning sprint gold medals at the CARIFTA Games, Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in Athletics and the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships. He placed fifth in the 200 m final at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics. Injury affected his 2016 and 2017 seasons and he was eliminated in the rounds-stage at the 2016 European Athletics Championships and 2017 World Championships in Athletics. He returned to fitness in 2018 and won the 4 × 100 metres relay title at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with England. Hughes crossed the line first in the final of the 200 metres at the Games, but was disqualified for impeding an athlete in the neighbouring lane.

Hughes trains with the Racers Track Club in Jamaica under coach Glen Mills, with club mates including Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Delano Williams.