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Unlucky for some, GB & NI secure 13 final spots in session two 

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Jake Wightman Rieti
18 June 2013

Matt McLaughlin (coach: Ayo Falola), Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) and Shaun Wyllie (Jeff Seddon) all took automatic qualifying spots in the men’s 1500m, meaning there will be a full allocation of British athletes in Saturday’s final. McLaughlin went in the first semi-final, and avoided the bumping and barging well before holding his form down the home straight, despite a lot of pressure from behind, to finish fourth in 3.50.83. The second semi-final went out at a ferocious pace but Wightman and Wyllie made the right moves at the right times to come home second and fourth respectively, with times of 3.43.95 & 3.45.02.

After the race Wightman commented: “It was always going to be a quick one from the start [being in the second semi-final] and with it going through the first lap in 56, and 1.58 at 800m, I knew we were on for a fast time.

Of the prospect of all three GB & NI representatives competing in the final, Wightman also said: “It’s going to be a good one - we can work with each other and try and get as high up as we can.”

Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) notched up her second victory of the day, winning the second semi-final of the women’s 100m in a time of 11.77. Sprint times were significantly slower than in the morning session, due to headwinds and a very wet track, but qualifying for the final was Papp’s only aim.

“I had a really good start and got out ahead of everyone, I think, and I’m really pleased with that - that was where I won the race. I really wanted to keep my form, so that I knew I was ready for the final.”

Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) once again led the GB & NI qualifiers in the men’s 100m semi-finals. The World Junior sixth place finisher was the second fastest qualifier for tomorrow’s final, and will line up in lane three thanks to his semi-final victory. On his performance, Ujah commented:

“I don’t train to lose. I’ve had an up and down season but now I’m coming into some kind of form, so I’m happy with that. I’m just focused on doing well in the final and coming back with the right colour [medal].”

Also progressing to tomorrow’s final thanks to a second place finish in semi-final three is Josh Cox (Alan Watts). Despite a sluggish start, Cox clocked 10.67 into a -1.4m/s headwind.

“It was a race of two halves really – the first half terrible, but in the second half I came through like I always do. It was always my aim to get into the final.”

Roy Ejiakuekwu (Keith Hunter) finished fourth in his semi-final, running 10.75 into a -1.5m/s headwind, which meant he missed out on a place in the final by just five hundredths of a second.

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Amy-Eloise Neale (Frank Dauncey) and Katie Ingle (Margaret Riley) did their best to record identical performances, both finishing in the top four to guarantee a place in Saturday’s final. Neale recorded a new lifetime best of 10.13.74 to finish third in semi-final one, whilst Ingle also ran a new lifetime best of 10.20.67 to finish fourth in semi-final two.

Ben Snaith (Mick Graham) finished sixth in the first of the men’s 400m semi-finals, clocking 47.66 from lane eight, not enough for a place in the final. He will now make up part of the men’s 4x400m squad, for which the heats are on Saturday morning.

GB & NI’s sole representative in the women’s 800m, Loren Bleaken (Adrian Clover), was drawn in the same semi-final as the World Youth champion, who ensured the race was fast from the start. Despite a late charge, Bleaken just missed a place in the final, finishing fifth in 2.07.43.

The final field event of the evening was the men’s pole vault qualifying. In group A, Rowan May (Peter Hill) equalled his lifetime best with a vault of 5.05m, whilst in group B, Daniel Gardner (Alan Richardson) cleared 4.95m, both good enough to qualify for the final, which takes place on Saturday at 14:30pm GMT.

There was further success in the men’s long jump where GB & NI duo Elliot Safo (John Shepherd) and Feron Sayers (Femi Akinsanya) both advanced to tomorrow afternoon’s final, thanks to jumps of 7.62m & 7.33m respectively.

The men’s high jump qualification was heavily disrupted due to early afternoon thunderstorms, and despite a delayed start, the athletes were forced back inside before the competition even started. Chris Kandu (John Herbert) struggled to find his feet in a competition where not a single athlete cleared the automatic qualification height; such was the difficulty of the conditions. Kandu eventually had to settle for a best of 2.03m, 5cm shy of what was needed to progress to the final.

The women’s discus was another field event with a testing automatic qualifying mark, which was made all the more difficult by the wet conditions. Shadine Duquemin (John Hillier) acquitted herself very well though, throwing 46.97m to progress to tomorrow’s final.

Benji Pearson (David Parker) threw 66.23m in the final round of group A qualifying in the men’s javelin, which unfortunately wasn’t enough to progress.

For start lists and full results, please click here: http://la.sportresult.com/ajax/eaa2.asp?module=timetable_date&event_id=10013400000002&lang=en 

You can also follow updates of all GB & NI performances via our twitter page: @BritAthletics 

A live stream of the event can be found on the European Athletics website: http://eurovision.digotel.com/ea/index.html