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strong start for gb & ni in Eskilstuna 

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Ojie Edoburun
16 July 2015

The first day of action at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Eskilstuna, Sweden proved to be a successful one for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland contingent.

Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, Shaftesbury Barnet) underlined his status as European U20 number one by making it through the heats and semi-finals as the fastest qualifier clocking 10.32 and 10.44 respectively. Edoburun will face teammates Joseph Dewar (Gladys Bird, Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) and Reuben Arthur (Ryan Freckleton, Enfield & Haringey) in tomorrow’s final as the trio bid for a clean sweep of medals.

Edoburun, who won bronze at the Sainsbury’s British Championships earlier this month said:  “Today was good, I just wanted to keep it easy and reserve my energy for tomorrow. From the heats I felt really smooth and felt I could have run a PB in the semi but the weather wasn’t allowing for fast times.

“It’s really good for the country (to have three in the final) and think the last time we had three guys on the 100m podium might have been the U23 championships in 2009, so if we can emulate that tomorrow that would be really positive for us moving forwards as seniors.”

In the women’s equivalent, Darryl Neita (Tawiah-Dodoo, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Imani Lansiquot (Joseph Felix, Sutton & District) successfully navigated their way through to the showpiece final running 11.58 and 11.69 to qualify as second and sixth fastest.

Laviai Nielsen (Frank Adams, Enfield & Haringey) sporting the blue bib courtesy of her European number one ranking did not let that pressure get to her, as the 19 year old went through to tomorrow’s 400m final as the fastest qualifier clocking a time of 53.52. Twin sister Lina Nielsen (Adams, Enfield & Haringey) will join her after finishing second in the opening heat in 54.35, while Cheriece Hylton (John Blackie, Blackheath & Bromley) goes through as the second fastest qualifier after running 53.52 in heat three.

Afterwards Laviai Nielsen said: “I’m somewhat happy and unhappy. I felt really good as I’m in the best shape of my life but  I was expecting a quicker time than that just so I knew I had it in me. I’ve been injured so I just wanted to know that I haven’t lost anything, but I’ll take it and hopefully I can go through quicker tomorrow.

“I hope we can do a 1, 2, 3 tomorrow that would be really cool. We’ve got a really strong 400m this year, which is really exciting.”

It was a gutsy display of distance running from Jack Rowe (Mick Woods, Aldershot, Farnham & District), who finished eighth in the 10,000m final. The 19 year old, who was making his GB & NI debut showed all his grit and determination to stay with the leading pack until the last 600m in only his second outing over the distance.  

“I left everything out on the track and you have to do that in the 10,000m. The boys in front of me just had that little bit extra at the end of the race, but I’m really happy. It was my first GB vest and my second 10km and I’ve come eighth in Europe so I’m over the moon.

Taylor Campbell (Paul Dickenson/Chris Black, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) the joint captain for the championships led by example as he threw himself into the final, which takes place tomorrow. A throw of 73.37m was enough to secure automatic qualification and believes there is much more to come as he targets a place on the podium.

The British junior hammer record holder said: “It makes it easier knowing I’m in the final and can now relax a little bit. The throws were easy ones and I was working on the technical elements. Now that’s there, I’ll go into the final and go for it.

“The throw is there and now it’s about applying the right force and getting the speed. To guarantee myself a medal I think I’ll need to go in and around my personal best.”

Also in the throws, Harry Hughes (Mike McNeill, West Suffolk) produced a career best 71.73m in the javelin, which was good enough to see him through to the final. His opening throw, which was a 22cm improvement of his previous best came as somewhat of a surprise to the 17 year old.

Hughes said: “The first thing I wanted to do what get here and the next thing was to qualify. To throw a PB I can’t ask for any more. My heart was coming out of my chest and I was shaking, so that first throw was pure adrenaline.”

Both Mhairi Hendry (Andy Young, Victoria Park City of Glasgow) and Molly Long (John Knowles, Bristol & West) secured their spots in the 800m final on Saturday clocking 2:06.21 and 2:06.87, while Josh Kerr (Mark Pollard, Edinburgh) and Robbie Fitzgibbon (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix) final berths were also achieved in the 1500m. Unfortunately for Liam Dee (Ricardo Santos, Shaftesbury Barnet), seventh place in his heat wasn't enough to take him through. 

After a bright start to the morning, the heavens opened just as Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Matt Barton, Leeds City) started his long jump qualification. Undeterred by the torrential rain he qualified in fourth position just 10cm behind Russia’s Anatoliy Ryapolov, who went through with the longest jump of 7.49m.

A rain-sodden but delighted Fincham-Dukes said afterwards: “I’ve had conditions like this all year in fairness in Bedford a few times and the north has its typical bad weather, which probably gave me a bit of an advantage. 7.39m is a decent jump especially when I was barely touching the board so with some sun there is potential for a medal.

Emma Achurch (Steve Arnold, Leicester WC), who was first on the track for GB & NI finished 22nd in 10,000m race walk, while Amy Holder (Neville Thompson, WSEH) was unable to make it through the qualification of the women's discus. 

You can find a full list of results and information on the live streaming here: http://www.european-athletics.org/