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British team continue to impress in tbilisi 

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Jason Nicholson

15 July 2016 

It was a perfect start to day two of the European Youth Championships in Georgia, Tbilisi with all eight athletes advancing from their opening rounds and Niamh Emerson (coach: David Feeney) continuing from where she left off in the heptathlon.

Going into the second day of action in the heptathlon, Niamh Emerson (David Feeney) was again in imperious form recording the second furthest jump in her career. After a first round foul, Emerson went out to 5.54m in the second round before saving her best until last with a leap of 5.95m.

The Amber Valley athlete will head into this afternoon’s javelin and 800m on 4413 points in third with only 44 points difference separating her from the gold medal position held by Austria’s Sarah Lagger.

Jason Nicholson (Janice Kaufman) was in personal best form in the 110m hurdles shaving a quarter of a second off his lifetime best to win his heat in 13.50.

“It was a massive PB, so it’s a big confidence booster going into the semi-final later. I was expecting to PB at the championships, but not straight away. The start could have been better and I hit one of the hurdles, but I can’t complain coming away with that result.”

Nicholson will be joined in the semi-final by teammate Ethan Akanni (Tony Jarrett), who despite clipping a hurdle crossed the line in 13.83 to go through second in his heat behind Italy’s Mattia Di Panfilo, who set a European lead of 13.43.

After passing the opening heights in the high jump, Ada’Ora Chigbo (Ken Holmes) and Abby Ward (Ian Hill) both made it through to the final clearing the required automatic qualification standard of 1.78m with ease.

A delighted Chigbo spoke afterwards: “I’m really happy especially with all my jumps being first time clearances. I haven’t done that for a while, so that’s really pleasing. I’m hoping to pull out some big jumps (in the final), I’m feeling in really good form, so we’ll see what I can do.  

“I didn’t feel any more pressure than I have done in any other competition because you’re doing the same thing every time. I competed in Colombia at the World Youth Championships and at the British Championships, so that was really good preparation for this.”

Alex Knibbs (Julie Feeney) and Alistair Chalmers (Dale Garland) made light work of their opening round of the 400m hurdles winning their respective first round races. Knibbs running from lane one eased his way past his competitors in the first heat slowing down in the final 20 metres to make the semi-final in a time of 53.70. Chalmers meanwhile running from the outside lane in heat four was comfortable from start to finish, but was slightly disappointed by the way he executed his race.

Knibbs said: “I’m surprised by that race – I won that heat quite comfortably, which meant I could relax in the last 100m. Now I’ve run once, I’m ready to keep going and pushing on. This morning I was quite nervous, but when I got to the track it was more confidence than nerves.

Chalmers added: “It’s nice to get through, I was quite nervous going into the race so getting it out the way it was good. It was a poorly executed race. However, it’s the heat and I’m through and that’s what it’s all about at this stage.”

It was the same story for George Mills (Joanne Day) and Markhim Lonsdale (David Lowes), who were in dominant form in the 800m. The duo both took control of their heats comfortably securing their passage into the semi-finals, which take place tomorrow evening.

A confident Mills said: “I pleased with the race - I expected to get through looking at the times on the sheet. I wanted to avoid any nicks or stumbles so went to the inside and take control. The aim was to get myself into the next round easily without any problems and I’m pleased I did that.”

Lonsdale, one of the team captains in Tbilisi reiterated Mills’ sentiments: “I knew the heat was going to be cramped so the aim was to lead from the front. I’m proud with how it went and got the job done.

“I was annoyed with my performance last year (went out in the 1500m heats of the World Youth Championships), so this time I’m up for it and ready.”