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european athletics team championships day one

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Jessica Judd

22 June 2013

GB & NI made a strong start on day one of the European Athletics Team Championships with victories from Perri Shakes-Drayton (coach: Chris Zah), Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar), Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), Jessica Judd (Rob Denmark) and the men’s 4x100m relay team (relay coach Rana Reider) meaning the team sits in third place overnight at Gateshead.

Team captain Perri Shakes-Drayton led by example as she set a new personal best and European leading time of 50.50 to win the women’s 400m. The double European indoor champion was in dominant form as she raced away from her opponents and believes her role as captain helped to inspire her performance.

“I’m pleased with that. I had to set an example as captain. Even though the race came at the end of the day, I had to give motivation for the rest of the team.”

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah came out on top in a tactical 5,000m race as he obliterated the field with a last lap of 50.89 seconds to finish in a time of 14:10.00.

“The finish was good. That’s what I’ve been working on, we planned that. I felt alright, I’m back to normal training which is great. The aim is just to keep training, keep doing what I’m doing – Moscow is the big one.”

In the final event of the day, the GB & NI relay team set a European leading time of 38.40 to secure 12 more points and finish the first day of competition on a high. Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) got the quartet off to a good start before handing over to Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider), with James Ellington (Reider) on leg three and James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) anchoring the team home.

Gemili, who ran leg one for GB & NI, said: “We wanted to come out and show that it’s a new year and we’re fresh and here to compete. I just did what I could and they did the rest.”

Eilidh Child set a new personal best and Scottish record by over half a second as she ran 54.42, the fastest time in Europe this year, to win the 400m hurdles by nearly a whole second. Child, who won 400m silver and 4x400m gold at the European Indoor Championships in March, was delighted with her performance.

“I’m really delighted. On the back straight I started to attack and I’m really pleased. I’m so eager for a final place in Moscow now.”

18 year old Jessica Judd won a scintillating women’s 800m race as she hit the front with 200m remaining and held off the challenge of Russia’s Ekaterina Sharmina to take victory by four hundredths of a second in a time of 2:00.82 and win the maximum 12 points on her senior GB & NI debut. Judd, who ran less than half a second slower than her personal best of 2:00.37 set last month, believes that the crowd played an important part in her performance.

“It was quite painful. I was so nervous going into it and I was knackered with 250m to go but who couldn’t win with that crowd behind them? They were amazing and I want to say thank you to them. Moscow is well within my capabilities and now I just want to keep up my winning streak.”

In the opening track event of the weekend, Dai Greene (Arnold) just missed out on a fourth consecutive European Team Championships 400m hurdles title as he finished second and picked up 11 points. The reigning world champion ran a time of 49.39 as Germany’s Silvio Schirrmeister set a personal best of 49.15 to take the victory.

Greene said: “I started well, I just got sloppy and made too many errors on the top bend. I’m obviously not fit enough to get away with those technical errors and I was punished for it today.”

Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) led for the whole of the men’s 400m before being overtaken in the final few metres by Russia’s Vladimir Krasnov. The 24 year old, who won European indoor silver in March, held on for second place with a time of 45.88 to pick up 11 points and admits that the conditions made the closing stages difficult.

“It was quite windy coming down the straight but I just had to try and hold it and keep pushing it to get good points for my country.”

As Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Ozbilen quickly built up a substantial lead in the men’s 1500m, Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) ran a good tactical race and came close to clawing back the lead as he crossed the line in second place with a time of 3:39.76. The 19 year old admits to being surprised by the way the race panned out as he wore a senior GB & NI vest for the first time: “It was a weird race with a 53 second first lap, it was the opposite to what I was expecting.”

In the women’s 3,000m Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) battled strongly down the home straight to finish second in 9:03.11 to winner Elena Korobkina of Russsia and was pleased with the result: “It was tough, I gave it everything but couldn’t quite catch the Russian girl. I was pleased to come second and get as many points as I did.”

Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) finished third in a competitive long jump field with a best jump of 8.02m as Russia’s European indoor champion Aleksandr Menkov took the victory with 8.36m.

Contending with a strong headwind, GB & NI’s Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) finished fourth in a close women’s 100m with a time of 11.78. Due to a quicker time in the first heat Philip was fifth overall and won eight points for GB & NI. In the men’s sprint, competing on his home track, Gateshead Harrier Richard Kilty (Christie) ran a time of 10.51 to finish fourth in the second men’s 100m heat and sixth overall to collect seven points.

Lennie Waite (Mick Woods) ran a season’s best of 9:56.19 in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase which was enough for fifth place and eight points for her team before GB & NI’s women’s 4x100m relay team, which consisted of Tiffany Porter (Reider), Anyika Onuora (Reider), Annabelle Lewis (Roger Walters) and Asha Philip, finished a solid fifth in a time of 43.52.

Back in the field, Tom Parsons (Aston Moore) had a best clearance of 2.24m in the men’s high jump. The 28 year old narrowly failed three times at the winning height of 2.28m but collected 10 points thanks to his third place finish. Yamile Aldama’s (Frank Attoh) first round jump of 13.90m put her straight into fourth place in the women’s triple jump and she stayed there for the remainder of the competition to finish with 9 points.

Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) had a consistent series in the women’s discus with all three throws over 57 metres and her best of 58.73m putting her in sixth place. On his GB & NI senior debut, Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) finished eighth in the men’s shot put with a throw of 18.50m.

Izzy Jeffs (David Parker) threw 50.27m for ninth place in the women’s javelin while Mark Dry (Tore Gustafsson) had a best throw of 68.30m in his third and final round of the hammer to finish in 11th place.

Holly Bleasdale (Scott Simpson/Dan Pfaff) entered the pole vault competition at the 4.25m stage but three failures meant that she didn’t record a height and as a result failed to collect any points.

Click here for full results from day one in Gateshead.