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UK Athletics

Judd ace for GB & NI in Glasgow

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Jess Judd Glasgow International
24 January 2015

The British Athletics indoor season got off to a storming start at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match on Saturday 24 January, with Jess Judd (coach: George Gandy) one of five GB & NI wins at the Emirates Arena.

Judd clinched maximum points for the team in the 1,500m with a dominant performance in just her third ever indoor race. Acting as the British team ‘ace’, Judd’s four points were doubled to eight, but that still wasn’t enough as Germany secured overall victory. France were disqualified in the last event of the day when it looked as if they’d finally won the match for the first time since its inception in 1988.

Judd, who finished fourth over 800m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last summer, hit the front at the half way mark and pulled away from her rivals to secure the win with an indoor personal best of 4:14.53.

“I really enjoyed it and just raced it how George [Gandy] told me. I messed up the first couple of laps mainly because I haven’t done it for so long; I thought I was miles off the back. It was tough – the first time I’ve done it in a couple of years so I have to be quite happy with that. It was a lot quicker than I’m used to at the moment but a win’s a win and I’m very happy.”

Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) had earlier succeeded in getting the GB & NI team off to a flying start with victory in the first event on the track, the women’s 400m. The 30-year-old set a new lifetime best of 52.95 after a terrific start out the blocks, although the Sale Harrier believes she is capable of much more.

“It was ok, I’m not really happy with the time but it was the first race out this season. It’s always good to collect a GB cap so it was good to run here.”

Chris Kandu (Fuzz Ahmed) equalled his personal best of 2.23m to take victory in the men’s high jump, although the 19-year-old was still slightly disappointed with his performance.

“I’m a bit disappointed with the height, but the main thing was to come here and win and get the points for the team. I’ve been jumping well recently so I can step it up now.”

In the men’s 400m four points went to the host nation as Jamie Bowie (Piotr Haczek) got the better of GB & NI team captain Conrad Williams in a closely fought race.

The Scot – part of the 4x400m silver medal winning quartet at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships – stayed tucked in behind Williams for 300m before making his move round the final bend. The pair tussled for the lead but it was the 25-year-old who pushed to the line in the final 20m, clocking 47.38. Williams took second in 47.52.

Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) secured maximum points for GB & NI in the women’s 60m hurdles, taking the scalp of France’s Cindy Billaud, who finished fourth at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Solomon started strongly and continued to power over the hurdles, and as Billaud tried in vain to catch up, she hit the final hurdle before limping over the line. The Briton set a new personal best of 8.13 with Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz in second place.

“I wish I had gone 8.00 but I’m heading in the right direction which gives me confidence ahead of the next race. I’m quite surprised to get the win.

“Conrad’s speech yesterday was great. He kept reminding us that it was all about the team and the importance of bringing back those four points and I’m delighted to have done that.”

There was double victory for the GB & NI team in the 4x400m relays, with both the women and men's teams triumphant at the close of the day.

The women’s quartet – Emily Diamond (Dan Cossins), Seren Bundy-Davies (Ball), Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola) and Massey – enjoyed a convincing victory after Bundy-Davies ran the team into a decisive lead on the second leg.

This performance, coupled with her individual victory at the start of the day saw Kelly Massey crowned Sainsbury’s Performance of the Day.

In the men’s 4x400m Conrad Williams put the British quartet out front from the gun, with Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams), Jared Dunn (Keith Holt) and Richard Buck (Nick Dakin) all running strongly to ensure victory with a season’s best 3:08.90.

France played their ‘ace’ card in the men’s 60m hurdles and it proved a wise decision as Pascal Martinot-Lagarde powered home for the win in 7.63, whilst young David Omoregie (Mike Guest) finished in third place after an impressive start out the blocks, clocking 7.82 on his senior debut.

France scored maximum points too in the women’s 800m as Renelle Lamote stretched the field early on, leaving Germany’s Christina Hering and GB & NI athlete Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Falola) battling it out for second place. With 50m to go Oskan-Clarke pulled ahead, but she was pipped on the line by the German.

Scottish Commonwealth Games 800m finalist Guy Learmonth (Gandy) carried the ‘ace’ card for the Scotland team but the 22-year-old left it a little too late in his sprint for the line, meaning he just couldn’t quite catch Germany’s Robin Schembera who took victory. He had to settle for second in 1:48.59 behind Schembera’s new stadium record of 1:48.41, whilst another GB & NI debutant, James Bowness (Bill Parker), finished fourth in 1:49.80.

Germany also made great use of their ‘ace’ with a win and double points in the men’s 1,500m. Florian Orth clocked 3:40.20 - just shy of his personal best – as he crossed the line well clear of the rest of the field. Making his GB & NI debut, Steve Mitchell (James Thie) narrowly lost out in the battle for second place, clocking a new indoor personal best 3:43.30 for third.

Glasgow 2014 silver medallist Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) cleared 5.40m in the men’s pole vault to clinch second place, and three valuable points behind Frenchman Jerome Clavier who set a new stadium record of 5.50m in the process.

GB & NI youngster Rachel Johncock (Leon Baptiste) looked in great form in the women’s 60m, finishing second with a new personal best of 7.34. Victory went the way of Germany’s team captain and favourite Verena Sailer  - the fastest on paper and winner here two years ago, another ‘ace’ scoring maximum points.

It was disappointment for GB & NI in the men’s event though, as reigning World Indoor Champion Richard Kilty was disqualified after twitching in the blocks, meaning the team’s male ‘ace’ card was wasted. Victory went to France’s Emmanuel Biron in 6.69, with Christian Blum second in 6.73 and Scotland’s young talent Cameron Tindle (Henry Gray) third with a personal best of 6.92.

And there was further frustration for the GB & NI team as Chris Tomlinson was forced to withdraw from the men’s long jump after his first attempt of 7.61m due to a hamstring injury. Victory in that event went to Germany’s Julian Howard with a season’s best 7.81m.

France scored maximum points in the women’s long jump, with Eloyse Lesueur leaping to a new stadium record of 6.59m in her first attempt, whilst GB & NI’s Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) finished third with an indoor personal best of 6.45m.

Full results from the Sainsbury's Glasgow International Match can be found here.