On the first morning of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, team captain Goldie Sayers (coach: Mark Roberson) lead by example, qualifying for the women’s javelin final with her first and only throw.
After throwing 58.07m in the first round to secure automatic qualification, Sayers said:
“I hope I lead by example? It was nothing to write home about but people were struggling for some reason, I think it was because the track was so quick. People were having to put their run ups back and I had to put mine back twice despite the fact I wasn’t coming in that quick! It’s all about getting ready for the final now where people will throw much further.”
Second was the order of the morning for our sprinters, who took advantage of the quick track to set personal bests and secure easy passage into the semi-finals. Desiree Henry (Rana Reider) got the trio off to the perfect start, clocking an 11.21 personal best in second place. Henry, who is making her senior debut here in Zurich was understandably delighted with her run:
“What a time! The last couple of weeks were a bit tough for me following the World Junior Championships as I was kind of disappointed. I wanted to come back home with a medal, so for me to come out here in the first round of a senior championships and run a PB, shows you have to step up your game and I am glad I was able to do that.”
Sainsbury’s British Champion Asha Phillip (Christine Bowmaker) went in the next heat, and she too finished second in 11.28 to advance with ease. Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka) ensured all three British girls will line-up in tomorrow’s semi-finals, running a fantastic personal best of 11.19 to complete the second place finishes.
Tiffany Porter (Reider) laid down a marker to her rivals in the first round of the women’s 100mH, tearing away to win the fourth and final heat by a large margin in 12.69. Running her own race out in lane eight, her time was unsurprisingly the fastest in qualifying, and afterwards she said:
“That was good, I’m happy with it. It was pretty easy and I’m looking to be better in the next few rounds. I’ve ran in every single lane before, so I just executed my race and sometimes that’s even better, if you can just focus on your own lane.”
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) and Martyn Rooney (Reider) were both victorious in their 400m heats, and with Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) third in his, all three British men will line-up in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Rooney qualified second quickest overall thanks to his 45.48 time from lane eight in the final heat, with Williams also going inside 46 seconds. But it is Hudson-Smith who most people will be talking about after his superb anchor leg in Glasgow ten days ago. He left it late to win heat four, but was satisfied with his performance.
“It was alright – I didn’t take it out the way I wanted to, as I went out way too slow. I left more to do than I should have in the home straight but it was comfortable, it was easy. I’m new, I’m here to perform, and that’s what I am going to do.”
Oozing with confidence after her Glasgow 2014 silver medal, Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) looked in complete control as she eased down to finish fourth in her 1500m heat and bag herself an automatic qualification spot for the final.
As is often the case in the middle distance races, the second heat containing Weightman and Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) was much quicker than the first, meaning England’s time of 4.10.73 in fifth was quick enough to see her through. It was disappointment for Laura Muir (Andy Young) though, as she finished sixth in heat one, her time of 4.14.69 not enough to see her through.
It was a case of job done, and job done well for the GB & NI trio in the men’s 400m hurdle heats. Seb Rodger (James Hillier) got off things off to a good start, finishing third in heat three to secure one of the four automatic semi-final spots in 49.88, his second quickest time of 2014.
In heat four it was victory for Niall Flannery (Nick Dakin) who ran a very controlled first 200m before coming through to take victory with as little effort as possible.
“I’m happy with that. I just ran my own race, as I knew I was better than a lot of the guys in that field and just made sure I got in the top two to get a better lane for tomorrow. When I saw I could just pip the winner I went for it – why not!”
Tom Burton (Dakin) competed in the fifth and final heat, finishing third in 50.47 so ensuring GB & NI have a full quota of athletes in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Ashley Bryant (coach: Ian Grant) was the first British athlete to get their European Championship campaign underway this morning, finishing fourth in the heat one of the decathlon 100m. His time 11.24 bagged him 808 points, before going on to jump 7.39m in the long jump, very close to his personal best.
The final decathlon event of the morning session on day one was the shot put, where Bryant was slightly down on his best with a 13.28m effort. This left him in 16th position after three events with a running total of 2400 points.
There was disappointment for James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend), who after struggling with a cold over the last few days was run out of a qualifying spot in heat one of the men’s 3000m steeplechase, his time of 8.39.78 just a couple seconds outside the ‘fastest loser’ spots.
Julian Reid (Aston Moore) was also agonizingly close to a spot in the men’s triple jump final thanks to his 16.52m effort, but on count back he ended up thirteenth.
Full results can be seen here: https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2014/schedules-results/
The first final of the championships takes place this evening, and after her brilliant bronze in Glasgow, Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey) will be hoping for more silverware in the women’s 10,000m. The first round of the men’s 100m also gets underway, whilst Tiffany Porter goes again in the 100mH semi-finals.