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World Juniors (9)

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World Junior relay team

14 July 2012

Day 5 at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, didn’t bring any medals for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team – the first day in the whole campaign the squad could not celebrate awards of some sort.

The challenges of the relay struck again as the two 4x100m teams hit trouble: the women’s teams of Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie), Rachel Johncock (Philip Oliver), Desiree Henry (Mike McFarlane) and Sophie Papps (Neil Diamond) did not finish the race after failing with the third handover in a race won by the United States in a time of 43.89s. Germany were second (44.24s) in front of Brazil (44.29s).

After the race, the four members of the team consoled each other and completed the remaining 100m, hand in hand, receiving the applause of a very sporting audience at the Olympic Stadium in Montjuïc.

The men’s relay brought the baton over the line, but was disqualified from the official results after a faulty handover at the end of leg one. Emmanuel Stephens (Julian Golding) seemed to trip and fall as he was passing the baton to Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo); Ujah continued the race, handing over to David Bolarinwa (John Powell) before Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) brought the team’s race to the end in the anchor leg.

Their result wouldn’t stand, however, and the British team were left to see the United States win in a time of 38.67s, followed by Jamaica (38.97s) who just pipped Japan for silver in the last leg.

Away from the relays, there were positives in the performance of Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes), who finished fifth in the second semi-final of the 100m hurdles, albeit ending her involvement in competition here in Barcelona.

The newly crowned long jump World Junior Champion, who had achieved a new PB in the first round with 13.48, crossed the line in 13.94, but the young Liverpool Harrier had plenty of reasons to be satisfied of this week’s performances.

“I have absolutely no complaints” Johnson-Thompson said after the race. “I wasn’t tired as our team’s physios had sorted me out this morning, but I felt as I was running between the hurdles and then jumping as opposed to sprinting and hurdling them properly. But I am still a happy girl!”

The focus for KJT now turns to the biggest stage of all, the Olympic Games in London. “The next time I will be doing hurdles, it will be as part of my Olympic heptathlon. I am happy to come away from Barcelona with a new PB – asking for another one was probably a bit too much, but I did try.”

Ben Waterman (Steve Mann) likewise saw his championship journey end in the semifinals, although the 800m runner had several positives to look back to.

“I am happy about my Championships, I was pleased of how I ran yesterday. My goal was to get to the semis and I managed to do it, and even though I am going out I was competitive throughout the race. I gave everything and that is all that I could ask of myself.”

“It was not a bad race actually” said the Ealing, Southall & Middlesex athlete. “The first lap was much slower than I thought it would be, so I stuck in there and I made a move with 300 to go, although perhaps I could have been more decisive. Unfortunately, with 200 to go my legs had nothing left to give. Yesterday’s round took the life out of them.”

The evening session had been opened by hammer thrower Abbi Carter (Dave Smith), who finished her final in twelfth place with a best throw of 56.49m. France dominated the event, with a new Championship Record by winner Alexandra Tavernier, who threw an impressive 70.62m.

Tomorrow's evening session will be the final one in these IAAF World Junior Championships and will provide the opportunity to lift British spirits - in the shape of Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman), who will attempt to achieve a mighty double by adding a medal in the 1500m to the one she won in the 800n, Jennifer Walsh (Deborah Rowlands), who will compete alongside Judd in the 1500m, and Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon), who will line up in the 3000m steeplechase final, one of only two Europeans qualified to this event.