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seven more medals for gb & ni on final day in tampere

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson

14 July 2013

GB & NI won two gold, two silver and three bronze medals on the final day of the European Under 23 Championships in Tampere, Finland, to bring their total medal tally for the whole championships to 15 and finish second in the overall medal table.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) won heptathlon gold with a score of 6215, more than 250 points ahead of second placed Kira Biesenbach of Germany. The 20 year old extended her overnight lead in the first event of the day as she leaped to 6.39m in the long jump, the furthest by 13cm, to take a 170 point lead into the javelin.

The world junior long jump champion then threw 36.61m in the javelin to give herself a 195 point cushion going into the 800m, the final event of the competition. She ran a time of 2:15.88 to finish second in her race and secure the gold medal and the 20 year old was delighted to return close to her best form and win the gold medal.

“It means a lot to me to win gold here considering I got injured in May. I didn’t think I’d make it back to this standard this season.

“I haven’t had a chance to see where my fitness is at so coming into this competition I was very nervous because I didn’t know what shape I was in. It’s a huge relief and I can look forward to Moscow. That’s a current World Championship A standard so I’m really happy with that.”

Further gold medals came in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m relays. In the heats, a team of Deji Tobais (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), David Bolarinwa (Tawiah-Dodoo), Dannish Walker-Khan (Linford Christie) and Samuel Osewa (Clarence Callender) comfortably qualified for the men’s final in a time of 39.35.

In the final, Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) anchored the team to gold in a new European Under 23 record time of 38.77 after being set up excellently by Tobais, Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins) and Walker-Khan.

Gemili, who also won 100m gold and 200m silver in Tampere, believes that the relay gold medal rounds off the championships perfectly for him: “It was so much fun. It’s such a great way to finish, it’s been an up and down championships for me and to be going home with another gold medal and a European record I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

200m silver medallist Talbot, who ran the second leg in the relay, said: “It’s brilliant, it’s been an amazing championships. I always think the relay is the best event, you’re doing it with your mates. We’ve known each other for years and we get to come out here and represent Great Britain and we broke the European record so we can’t really ask for much more.”

The GB & NI women’s 4x100m team of Annie Tagoe (Michael Afilaka), Corinne Humphreys (Darren Braithwaite), Rachel Johncock (Afilaka) and Jodie Williams (Stanley Madiri) clinched silver in a closely contested close race.

Williams, who edged ahead of Italy on the last leg to secure second place, said: “It’s amazing, I’m so proud of the team. The team came together really last minute so I’m really proud of everyone. To come out here and get a medal is just insane really.”

Another silver medal came in the men’s 1500m thanks to an excellent performance from Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg). Following a physical race, Grice finished strongly to win silver in a time of 3:44.41 and was pleased to come away with a medal.

“It means the world to me, all that training and hard work in the winter has paid off. I’m not interested in times, it’s all about the hardware and it’s fantastic to actually get it.”

In the women’s 1500m, Laura Muir (Andy Young) won another GB & NI medal as she crossed the line in third place in a time of 4:08.19, just outside her personal best. Muir believes that her hard work in recent years came to fruition with this medal.

“It’s huge for me. I’ve worked so hard over the last couple of years and I’ve never won an individual medal, so that was the aim today and I wasn’t going to let that go. I just wanted a medal today, I didn’t really care which colour.”

Kate Avery (Tony Simmons) ensured that GB & NI’s medal rush continued as she won a bronze medal in the women’s 5,000m with a time of 15:54.07 while Beth Potter was 18th in 16:45.67. Following injury problems earlier in the year, Avery admits that she is delighted to be leaving Finland with a medal.

She said: “At the start of the season I’d pretty much written my season off because I had so many injuries; I had niggle after niggle and wasn’t get anything. All the cross training kind of clicked and I feel really lucky to be here.”

There was also a medal in the field for GB & NI as Allan Smith (Bryan Roy) jumped a personal best of 2.26m to win bronze in the men's high jump, two centimetres short of the winning height of 2.28m. Chris Baker (Aston Moore) came close to challenging for a medal but eventually finished in seventh place with a best height of 2.21m.

Smith said: “I can’t quite believe it to be honest. I wasn’t quite sure how today was going to go, I felt a bit heavy legged yesterday but as I got closer to the competition I felt good. It was great to come away with a PB.”

Jax Thoirs (Pat Licari) finished eighth in the men’s pole vault with a best clearance of 5.30m in difficult conditions as torrential rain fell on Tampere. Lorraine Ugen (Frank Attoh) withdrew from the women’s long jump final as a precaution.

Team Leader Alison Wyeth believes that the championships were extremely successful for the GB & NI team.

“I’m delighted with how the championships have gone. The team has been very professional and we’ve won 15 medals with only 36 members of the team. There was a really high percentage of people performing at their personal bests or close to them so I’m really pleased.”