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GB & NI off to strong start at the european indoor championships

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Perri Shakes-Drayton

1 March 2013

All seven of the British athletes in action advanced beyond the first qualifying stage of their events in a successful first session for the GB & NI team at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

Shara Proctor (coach: Rana Reider) started GB & NI’s campaign at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg needing only one jump to qualify for  the long jump final. Proctor’s jump of 6.61m in the first round was enough for her to qualify in second place, just 1cm behind defending European Indoor Champion Darya Klishina.

The World Indoor bronze medallist was pleased with how comfortably she qualified for the final, and is now looking ahead to tomorrow’s final.

“It was easy, besides the fact it started so early. It’s 9am back in the UK, so I was a little sleepy. I still had to come out here and make that jump but it was either be smart or keep jumping for the next couple of rounds - I was smart about it and put my sneakers back on. I feel really comfortable going into the final tomorrow.”

All three of GB & NI’s female 400m runners advanced beyond their heat. Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) led from the gun to comfortably win her heat in a time of 51.70 and was happy with the way that she booked her place in tomorrow’s semi-final.

“The race was comfortable – my main aim was just to get through and qualify, which I did. I feel good, now I’ve just got to look after myself, but roll on the semi-finals.”

Eilidh Child (Malcom Arnold) was equally impressive as she held off challenges in the closing stages to win her heat in 52.05 and insists that she will be giving everything in her semi-final as she looks to secure a place in Sunday’s final.

“It felt good, but when I crossed the line I was a bit tired. It’s always hard in a 400m indoors because you have to go out hard regardless of what round it is, but it meant that I could just switch off coming home. I wanted to win the heat to secure a good lane for the semi-final. I’ll need to run the semi-final like a final and go flat out because that’s the only way that I can secure qualification and a good lane draw for the final.”

Shana Cox (George Williams) had to rely on a fastest loser place as she finished outside of the two automatic qualifying places in third place in her heat, but her time of 52.99 was enough to make it through to the semi-finals.

“My heat wasn’t too bad, I would have liked the time to have been a bit faster, but in the first round the goal is to get through to the semi-finals. I just need to work on my sharpness and get into the groove of things, you spend so long preparing and now it’s time to compete so hopefully I make that positive transition.”

All three of the men’s 400m team also safely qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals. In heat 2, Michael Bingham (George Williams) started aggressively and finished in the second automatic qualifying spot in 46.92.

“It was a good test - the Russian (Trenikhin) isn’t very fast, but he’s pretty strong so you have to make sure you get out in front and keep going.”

Richard Strachan (Linford Christie) continued his strong start to the season, winning the third heat comfortably in a time of 46.96. Nigel Levine (Christie) joined his training partner Strachan in the semi-finals finishing in a time of 46.68 behind Czech Republic’s outdoor European Champion Pavel Maslak.

Levine said: “I tried to win but the aim was to come in the top two and that’s I did, so bring on tomorrow. I’ll just wait and see what happens. I’m not going to predict anything, but I know what I’m here to do.”

The action resumes this evening with the next British athletes in action being Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Rana Reider), Dwain Chambers (Rana Reider) and James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) in the 60m heats at 4pm.

The European Indoor Championships will be shown live on the BBC and BBC Online at the following times:

Friday March 1st: 15.40-19.00 on BBC2.
Saturday March 2nd: 10.30-13.00 on BBC Red Button, 14.30-16.30 on BBC1 and 16.30-18.00 on BBC2.
Sunday March 3rd: 10.00-11.40 on BBC2 and 15.15-18.00 BBC2.

Follow us on Twitter @BritAthletics for updates.