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UK Athletics

Rimmer makes impressive Senior debut

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It was 20 years ago in Stuttgart that Britain had a cleansweep in the men’s 800m at the European Championships when Lord Sebastian Coe beat Tom McKean and Steve Cram.


The Men’s 800m got underway on Thursday morning, with confident performances from the young trio of members of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team.


Michael Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton) and Sam Ellis (Barnsley) were both making their senior British debuts and both reached the semi-finals.


Rimmer, a History student at Liverpool John Moores University looked smooth when he won his heat in 1:47.10, the fastest time of the morning. He controlled the race and along the home straight had enough time to look around to ensure no one would pass him.

'I’ve been itching to get on the track and race. It is great to finally get my heat out of the way. The medical support I have received at Manchester has been great; I had a problem with my knee that they sorted, its fine now.


The lottery support (World Class Development programme) makes a real difference.'


Ellis really went for it in his heat, charging along the back straight with 250m remaining and just running out of steam without 30 metres to go. He finished fourth in 1:47.72 as Florent Lacasse, of France, won in 1:47.22, but progressed as one of the best qualifiers.

Ellis said: 'I didn’t hear the Spanish guy, it was a silly thing to do to get dipped on the line. It was an amazing feeling when I came out in the stadium, it was a bit daunting. I’m lucky to get through.'


The records will show that Richard Hill (Notts) competing at his first major championships at the age of 20, was sixth in his heat, but that deflects from his performance. He was in front with 250m to go, lost the lead, kept his position in second, but in the end was beaten for pace when he crossed the line in 1:50.26 as Spain’s Manuel Olmedo won in 1:49.54.


Hattie Dean (Hallamshire Harriers) was the first member of the British team in action this morning.


The 3000m steeplechaser was part of history. She ran in the opening race, which was the first time the discipline had been part of these Championships.


She finished eighth in 9:52.97, just a second outside her personal best as Tatyana Petrova, of Russia, won in 9:42.08.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Sara McGreavy (Sale Harriers Manchester) is through to tomorrow’s semi-final but Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) and Gemma Bennett (Newham & Essex Beagles) failed to qualify.


McGreavy, making her British senior debut, was fifth in her heat in 13:30, but it was one of the fastest races and she made it through as one of the fastest losers.


Ironically, Bennett, also on her debut, was higher up in her race, third in 13.40, but only the first two qualified by rights and she went out on times.


The same happened to Claxton, third in her heat, the first, in 13.39.