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silver lining for sharman in zurich

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William Sharman

14 August 2014

William Sharman (coach: Jerzy Maciukiewicz) showed the composure of a champion as he recovered from clattering hurdle eight to take silver in the men’s 110mH final, taking Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s medal tally to eight at the halfway point in these championships.

Sharman knew he was in the shape of his life as he stood on the start line; his Commonwealth Games silver medal and 13.16 personal best in the semi-final earlier in the evening proving that. But it was defending champion Sergey Shubenkov of Russia who put together the perfect race in the final, taking gold in 13.19, with Sharman snatching silver in 13.27.

“I’m so glad that they all didn’t catch me! That’s the way the cookie crumbles – it was so difficult in the final, fatigue-wise, because I had just run a personal best moments before. That frazzled me I’m not going to lie, and on the start line, I thought just one big last effort William, because it had taken that much out of me.

“It could have gone so many ways – if it had gone to the form book I’d have been pleased – that had me in third! I’m pleased.”

After finishing third in his semi-final earlier in the evening to book his place in the final, Lawrence Clarke (Malcom Arnold) was forced to withdraw after tweaking his hamstring in warm up.

The women’s 200m semi-finals couldn’t have gone much better from a British point of view, with a win, a British junior record and three girls through to tomorrow’s final.

It was a day to remember for Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) who found out she’d got into Kings University and won her heat this morning, before qualifying for the final in a British junior record of 22.61 in the evening. The IAAF World Junior 100m Champion ran a great bend, setting her up perfectly to finish second to 100m silver medallist Myriam Soumare, and break Kathy Cook’s 35 year old junior record.

“Is this the best day? Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt! I got the junior record, I got into Kings and I made the final! I really just couldn't have asked for much more out of this day.

“I'm going into the final fit as well and I feel like I can go faster than I did because I slowed down at the end. I'm just over the moon and I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!”

There was a win for Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker) in the third semi-final, who would have run just as quick as Asher-Smith had she not had the luxury to be able to ease down considerably in the last 50m when way out in front.

She said: “I did what the coach told me; run round the bend, see if you can shut it off and then if you can, shut it off. All three of us qualified – nice!”

Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) also booked her spot in the final despite a poor start. Unlike the other two Brits, she had a lot of work to do coming into the home straight, but showed her class running down three athletes ahead of her to finish second behind 100m champion Dafne Schippers in 22.91.

“It was good, I enjoyed it. My start and the bend were a bit pants, but I came to the end strong you know. I feel less tired than I was this morning, which is good. I never pictured myself coming this far this year so I feel really good. It's been a hell of a crazy two weeks, running seven times in Glasgow, so to keep running now I am so amazingly happy; I don't know why I am crying!”

In the men’s semi-finals, Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) was the only British athlete to advance, looking majestic easing off the gas but still winning in 20.23. Fifth in Moscow last year and silver medallist over 100m at Glasgow 2014 10 days ago, Gemili is one of the class acts in the field, and is likely to do duel with Christophe Lemaitre tomorrow for gold.

“It was a good race; I'm just trying to save as much energy as I can for tomorrow. I needed to qualify, I've done that, made another senior final and anything can happen now. Quickest is myself and Christophe, and I know what a great athlete he is. It's going to be tough, but good fun, really good fun.”

As with Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) in the 100m two nights ago, James Ellington (Rana Reider) missed out on the final fastest loser spot by less than one hundredth of a second, running 20.52, the same time as Pole Karol Zalewski. In the same semi as Gemili, Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) was sixth in 20.62, meaning he also missed out on a final spot.

Just as she did in the 400mH heats yesterday, Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) got out hard and came home a convincing winner in her semi-final. Stopping the clock at 54.71 with seemingly plenty in the tank, Child will go into Saturday’s final looking to live up to the blue bib she wears, which indicates that she is the fastest in Europe this year.

“It was nice to come back out here. I've had over 24 hours recovery so I just wanted to run the same way I ran yesterday but obviously I needed to finish it off because I knew I'd have girls closer to me on that home straight, so thankfully I did that.

“Yesterday was just medal after medal and not even that, everyone performed well, even just the 400 boys winning their heats. It lifts the rest of the group and everyone is kind of like, I want a bit of that as well!”

Like Child, Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) decided she wanted to run her semi-final the same way as she ran her heat and again like Child, it paid off. The defending European Champion got out hard and despite moving wide after 300m to see if anyone else would take over, led from gun to tape, winning in 2.01.32.

“I'm feeling really confident at the moment. I'm in the shape of my life somehow so I am just enjoying racing again. It felt really good and it was a fast pace which I am really surprised at. I just had to run my own race and stay calm.”

In the same semi-final, youngster Jess Judd (Rob Denmark) tracked Sharp all the way, eventually finishing third, just two tenths behind her teammate, to bag herself one of the automatic spots in Saturday’s final.

“That was really good; I felt better today than yesterday, which I needed to. I'm really relieved and happy. I didn't look at the clock at all which was nice. There is another gear there which is good. But I'd have been disappointed if I hadn't made it so I am really happy.”

Of the atmosphere inside the GB & NI camp, Judd added:

“Being part of this team is brilliant. We were watching last night and it was so inspiring - I didn't want to let the team down!”

There was disappointment for Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro), who after looking so good winning her heat yesterday stepped off the track with 200m to go in the first semi-final.

After delivering a captain’s speech to remember on Monday night, it was down to business for Goldie Sayers (Mark Roberson) in the women’s javelin final this evening. Finding her arm in the third round, she threw 58.33m to secure a further three throws, but couldn’t muster any more in the last three rounds to finish eighth.

“That was just incredibly frustrating – I didn’t have a big throw in me today; if I did, I didn’t get it out. My arm feels as good as it has ever been – that to me just shows the lack of throws in my training over the last 12 months.

“I put a lot into my speech. Everyone in life wants to have a positive effect on people, and I think for a number of people to say how good it was and that its made them think and perform, even one percent better, then my presence here isn’t wasted. And even though I can’t perform as well as I would have wanted, if I’ve made a difference to my team mates then I am incredibly happy.”

Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) was pleased to end his career on his own terms, as he finished seventh in the second 110mH semi-final, ending a long and successful international career.

“I gave it all I had and that's all I had. I didn't hit a hurdle, I just ran but it wasn't fast enough. I'm not going to go away disappointed! I finished my career where I wanted to be and that is on the track. I didn't want these achilles problems to determine the end. It sits well with me, there's not a next time but I'm cool with that.”

Full results from all of day one can be seen here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2014/schedules-results/

Tomorrow morning sees double World Junior Champion Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) compete in high jump qualification, whilst GB & NI has finalists in the men’s and women’s 200m and 400m, as well as the women’s 1500m and the men’s high jump.

GB & NI team performances:

GOLD – Jo Pavey – Women’s 10,000m
GOLD – Mo Farah – Men’s 10,000m
GOLD – Tiffany Porter – Women’s 100m hurdles
GOLD – James Dasaolu – Men’s 100m

SILVER – Andy Vernon – Men’s 10,000m
SILVER – William Sharman – Men’s 110mH

BRONZE – Ashleigh Nelson – Women’s 100m
BRONZE – Harry Aikines Aryeetey – Men’s 100m

4th – Dwain Chambers – Men’s 100m
7th – Desiree Henry – Women’s 100m
8th – Goldie Sayers – Women’s javelin