Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s first victory at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig came at the end of the day but it was worth the wait, as the men’s 4x100m quartet produced victory in an eye-catching time of 38.51.
The foursome of Richard Kilty (coach: Rana Reider), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Rana Reider), James Ellington (Rana Reider) and Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) were also just outside the event record of 38.39.
“This is a solid team and this is hopefully a team that will push for the British record,” said Kilty, who assessed his first leg was a solid performance.
That victory, along with five other top-three finishes on the first day, leaves the young and developing GB team in fourth-place overnight with 158.5 points, and just 2.5 points adrift of France in third behind hosts Germany (188) and Russia (192).
Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins), who ran a 9.0 anchor leg in the heats of the World Relays last month today just competed in the 100m. He finished second to Jimmy Vicaut from France, who drove to victory in 10.03 with Talbot was a clear second in 10.30 for eleven points.
“In my head I was aiming at points,” said Talbot, who was aware of the task of facing Vicaut in the Frenchman’s primary event. “Obviously you want to go out there and win every race. Vicaut has been running nine seconds this season and just ran 10.03 in not the best conditions.
“Everything is aimed at the Sainsbury’s British Championships next week. Hopefully we can go out there and put on a show for the fans. I’m expecting quick times in the 100 and 200 for everyone,” added Talbot, who is the top-ranked 200m runner domestically with 20.36.
Last year’s winner Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) was hoping to claim a full quota of points in the 400m hurdles again but Ukraine’s Hanna Ryzhykova had the better momentum coming off the final hurdle, and overturned last year’s result to win in 55.00 to Child’s 55.36.
I’m a bit gutted I didn’t win it,” admitted Child, who had the fastest season’s best on paper at 54.82. “I’ve not had a great week coming into this competition; I’ve had a bit of a cold and not really trained.
“I was thinking I either come in today and I feel really fresh and run well or I’ll feel quite sluggish. I just felt sluggish out there.”
Likewise, Olympic champion Greg Rutherford was slightly disappointed not to claim maximum points in the long jump. The British record-holder had to settle for second with 7.99m behind Christian Reif, who received one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon after taking the lead with 8.13m.
“I came here to win maximum points for the team so it’s still a disappointment in that way,” said Rutherford. “I said this year I wanted to jump over eight metres in every single competition. It’s about picking myself up and jumping well again next week.”
Former decathlete Daniel Awde (Chris Zah) finished third in the 400m from the outside lane in 46.10 but he didn’t view his draw as a handicap: “I enjoy outside lanes – I actually run worse inside.”
Rick Yates (Stephen Ball) also performed up to par in the 400m hurdles, finishing third in 50.11 behind pre-race favourite Denis Kudryavtsev from Russia in 49.38 and last year’s winner Silvio Schirrmeister from Germany in second in 49.80.
In the women’s sprints, Rachel Johncock (Leon Baptiste) won the 100m second heat against a strong headwind in 11.77 to finish sixth overall, while a sprint relay quartet of Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker), Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider), Hayley Jones (Donald Moss) and Louise Bloor (Toni Minichiello) finished fifth overall in 43.66.
The best performance in the middle-distances came from Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg), who ran a positive race to finish fifth in the 1500m in 3:38.63 but admitted he ran out of steam a little after attacking down the back straight on the last lap.
One of the most promising performances came from Nick Miller (John Baumann) in the hammer, who was making his debut in a senior GB vest. He came within one metre of his PB, finishing fifth with 73.56m.
“I was happy with that,” said Miller. “I’ve just flown back from America last week so my body is still kind of tired.”
Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) finished equal fifth in the high jump with 2.19m. He said it was the worst he’s jumped all season, although he still performed up to expectations.
On the track, another US-based athlete Luke Caldwell (Robert Russell) finished sixth in the 5000m in 13:59.25; Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter), Shana Cox (George Williams) and Lennie Waite (Jim Bevan) finished seventh in their respective events; and Kate Avery (Tony Simmons) finished ninth in the 3000m in a solid PB of 8:56.24.
Elsewhere, Izzy Jeffs (David Parker) finished seventh in the javelin with 52.63m; veteran Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) also finished seventh in the triple jump with 13.31m; Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) finished eighth in the discus with 53.71m; Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) also took eighth in the shot put at the start of the programme with 17.94m; and junior Lucy Bryan (Charles Preston) finished ninth in the pole-vault with 4.00m.
Sunday’s action sees Lee Doran (Chris Watts) start the GB & NI account in the men’s javelin.