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easy does it on first morning in tallinn

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Seren Bundy-Davies
09/07/2015

As far as morning sessions go at major championships, it was pretty much perfection for GB & NI on day one in Tallinn as all four athletes in action progressed to their respective finals.

After a slightly shaky start, Sophie McKinna (coach: Mike Winch) drew on her medal winning experience from the European Junior Championships two years ago to book her place in tonight's final. After opening with 14.88m and failing to improve in round two, McKinna upped her game on her final throw, launching the shot to 15.74m. That saw her advance from Pool B with the third best mark, as only four women across both pools exceeded the 16.35m automatic qualifying distance.

“It was a slow start and it took me a while to get going today but hopefully in the final that won't be the case. All the distances of the top three qualifiers are within my reach so if people throw like that in the final I see no reason why I can't go out there and be competitive.

“It's always a really early start for us guys and we always have the qualifying and final in the same day so I'm used to it. I did the same thing at World Youths – completely screwed up the qualifying, qualified on my last throw and then won a silver medal! Now it's time to go back to the hotel, chill out and then come back ready to rock and roll.”

Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson) underlined why he is favourite to take gold here in Tallinn by topping Pool A of qualifying with a first round 71.37m. Ninth at these championships two years ago, the hammer thrower will go for gold on Friday evening.

There were more business like performances for Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) and Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter) as they advanced to Saturday's 400m final, albeit in rather different fashions.

Coming into the championships ranked number one, Bundy-Davies controlled her heat from the gun, coming off the bend in the lead before easing up over the final 50m to take victory in 52.05. However before she could even run a step at these championships her European U23 lead was taken from her, as Bianca Razor of Romania ran a blistering 51.31 to win the first of the three heats. Also in that one was McAslan, who despite running a big personal best had to settle for fourth place. After a nervous wait, it was confirmed that her 52.13 time was enough to see her through, much to her delight.

“I knew it was going to be a really tough heat so I thought I might have to run a PB to get through - I think that helped me to focus beforehand though and really commit to the race. The wait was a bit nerve racking as I was obviously in the first heat but I'm made up to make the final, so hopefully I can go out and smash it then!”

Having seen the first heat containing McAslan, Bundy-Davies knew what to expect.

“I went out pretty hard as I knew a couple of the girls would step up there game as there was no semi-final. I got to the 300m mark in the lead but I knew I couldn't ease down too much as there were girls around me, so I just did what I had to do to qualify. I'm looking forward to Saturday now.”

First up for GB & NI are Iona Lake (Pauline Ash) and Elizabeth Bird (George Harrison) who go in the heats of the women's 3000m at 4pm Estonian time.

For live results from the championships head to: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-u23-championships/2015/schedules-results/