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gold for bleasdale and silver for dasaolu in gothenburg

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James Dasaolu

2 March 2013

Holly Bleasdale (coach: Dan Pfaff, Scott Simpson) and James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) won GB & NI’s first medals at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg this afternoon.

Bleasdale was victorious in the pole vault following a jump-off with Anna Rogowska of Poland after both athletes cleared 4.67m. The 21 year old insists that she was confident that she could come out on top in the jump-off.

“I think we had the option to share the gold medal or do a jump off and I wanted to do the jump off. I thought instead of sharing gold, why not get it for myself and I’m glad I did that.

“In another situation when I had my third attempt at 4.67m I might have crumbled and thought, ‘I’ve lost it now’. I was in fourth position and it was tough to stay positive, but I did, and cleared it and went from fourth to first, which is a massive thing and I’m so happy.” 

There were two GB & NI representatives in the final of the men’s 60m after both Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Rana Reider) and James Dasaolu made it beyond their semi-finals. Dasaolu ran a personal best and world leading 6.48 in the final, the same time as winner Jimmy Vicaut of France, to take the silver medal after a photo finish.

“I’m still trying to take it in really, I’ve just run 6.48, which is a really quick time, and on top of that I got a silver. At the beginning of the championships I wouldn’t have thought 6.48 would have got silver, but I’m just happy to be injury free and enjoying competing.”

Aikines-Aryeetey ran another season’s best of 6.63 as he finished in seventh the final and is taking plenty of positives from his performance.

“I finished seventh at the European Indoors and I came in being ranked 26th in Europe and I'm going back ranked higher. I came here running 6.69 and walked away with 6.63 - I'm healthy, no injuries and now it's all about outdoors.”

Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) was in third for the majority of the women’s long jump following a jump of 6.68m in the first round, which she then improved to 6.69m. However, Sweden’s Erica Jarder’s final round jump of 6.71m saw Proctor agonisingly miss out on a bronze medal by just 2cm.

“I’m very disappointed. I came out here after qualifying yesterday to jump far and get a medal but that didn’t happen. At the end of the day it’s a learning experience, it just gives you that extra fire to come back outdoors and do a lot better.”

In the men’s high jump, Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) also missed out on a medal as he failed to clear 2.27m and had to settle for a best height of 2.23m, leaving him in sixth position.

“I think I came in and put a lot of pressure on myself to win and maybe didn’t enjoy myself out there, which I think is what the performance showed. Yesterday was about getting used to the surface, today was to go out there and win and nothing else.”

In the women’s 1500m final, Laura Muir (Andy Young) finished in eighth place with a time of 4:18.39 and the 19 year old believes that the experience of her first senior championship will stand her in good stead for the future.

“I’m not really disappointed - I knew yesterday was probably one of the best performances I could put in so I knew it was probably going to take it out of me and it was a really tactical race. I knew I had nothing to lose even if I did come last. I just tried to get myself in a good position but it wasn’t in the legs today.” 

Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) managed to manoeuvre her way through a tricky 400m semi-final with a second place finish, later promoted to first following the disqualification of Romania’s Angela Morosanu, in a time of 52.29 and the Scot is relieved to have made the final after avoiding a fall halfway through the race.

“It was very messy, I kind of wished I went out a little bit harder. But if I’d done that, I might have got caught in all the argy-bargy. I’m happy I managed to qualify after all that mess, I just need to be a little bit more aggressive over that first lap.”

Shana Cox (George Williams) ran a season’s best 52.86 in the same race and was eventually promoted to third place to qualify for tomorrow’s final.

“It was a tough lane draw, but I came here to do well. Everybody has a lane on the track and it’s 400m for everyone. It’s a season’s best, so it’s a positive and you’ve got to take all those things and be grateful for them.”

Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) will line up alongside Child and Cox in tomorrow morning’s final after a dominant performance to win the second semi-final in a time of 51.03 - the quickest time indoors by a European this year.

“I was pleased with that. Like I said yesterday, the track is fast. I felt good, basically I just wanted to run well so I would get a good lane for tomorrow. I thought I’d run close to my PB but not actually run a PB.”

Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed) won his semi-final to secure a place in the 800m final and the 22 year old is in confident mood ahead of his first senior international final.

“I feel so good, better than I did yesterday – it was a terrible race yesterday, but all clear today and I feel so strong. In the next round I hope it will be the same race, I know that I’m hard to beat when I’m at the front in the first two or three.”

Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) finished fourth in the other semi-final meaning that he missed out on a place in the final and the Welshman expressed his disappointment at the race not going the way he had hoped.

“I tried to make a move with about 250/300m to go and someone got pushed out in front of me, so I had to wait and the opportunity never came to me again.”

In the women’s 800m, defending champion Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) stretched out the field and held on to win her semi-final in 2:01.04 and book her place in Sunday’s final.  

“Since I’ve been in quite good shape with training the last two weeks, I felt all frustrated yesterday. I just decided to run my race and if I ran pretty fast that would come top three.”

All three GB & NI athletes made it through to the final of the men’s 400m as Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) finished second in the first semi-final with a time of 46.50 before Richard Strachan (Linford Christie) and Michael Bingham (George Williams) finished second and third with times of 46.88 and 46.91 respectively.

Levine was pleased to have made it through to the final and said: “I feel good qualifying from lane three – I can’t say I can ask for any more than that really.”

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

Sunday March 3rd: 10.00-11.40 on BBC2 and 15.15-18.00 BBC2.

Follow us on Twitter @BritAthletics for updates.