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Olympics 2008 - Day 1 Evening Session Report

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Jo Pavey, 12th in the 10,000m
15th August 2008 


Team GB continued their pursuit of athletics medals on Friday night at the Bird’s Nest, with Andy Baddeley and Tyrone Edgar making further progress and a British record for Helen Clitheroe in the 3000m steeplechase.

Birchfield Harriers Kelly Sotherton and Julie Hollman continued day one of their heptathlon challenge with the shot put and finishing with the 200m.

In fifth position following the morning’s programme, Sotherton sent the shot put 13.87m and then improved to the bronze medal position in the evening after a strong 200m, clocking 23.39. Her day’s total of 3938 keeping her in the mix but less than satisfied.

“My performances are just not up to par with what I know I can do,” she said in frustration. “But I suppose it’s my first heptathlon of the year and I’m not as competitive as I should be.

“I know I’ve got another three events and hopefully I can do something – I don’t know what is possible.”

Hollman meanwhile sits in 33rd – having thrown 12.45m with the shot and ran 25.41 for the 200m. American Hyleas Fountain currently sits in gold medal position with 4060.

Earlier in the evening, in the 1500m Andy Baddeley calmly evaded the dangers of being boxed in, running wide over the last 150m and easing through automatically in 3.36.47 for third place in his heat.

For this year’s Dream Mile winner it was just another day in the office.

“It felt good, really pleased with that,” he said.  “At the moment I’m in the semis and there’s a long way to go yet and that’ll be my next final – I’m not looking any further ahead.”

Tom Lancashire however was the victim of an edgy slow race and faded in the home straight to see his Olympics end in 3.43.40 – seventh place in his heat.

“It wasn’t nerves, I was really really ready for it and I was good enough to qualify, “he said. “Something didn’t click today. It was slow and tactical but that’s not an excuse I should be able to handle it.”


"Come London, I'll be a different animal"

Tyrone Edgar confirmed his form with another impressive turn in the men’s 100m, but team-mates Simeon Williamson and Craig Pickering were eliminated in tough quarter-final races.

For Williamson, it is the first major occasion he hasn’t performed to his optimum.

“I don’t know what to say – obviously I’m disappointed and I didn’t perform,” he said “I don’t really like to use reasons I felt good – I felt better than this morning.

“The only thing I can put it to is three weeks of an ankle injury between the national championships and coming out to Macau - but it’s not an excuse because I didn’t perform when I needed to.

“I’ll be back. Big races, big occasions, world championships next year – hopefully I can bring my time down and run consistently and I’ll be there.”

Edgar – fastest of the morning’s qualifiers – finished third in his heat and his 10.10 proved he is getting faster and faster.

“I’ve come here to the Olympic Games and I made the semi-final,” he said. “Now I just want to go home tonight and sleep knowing I made the semi and make sure I get ready for the semi!

“I’m very confident I can make it through if I make a good start.”

For Pickering he was left to rue what could have been had he not drawn a race alongside Usain Bolt, Francis Obikwelu and Jaysuma Saidy Ndure. Bolt won it in 9.92 - a time he made look easy and made Pickering’s task look nigh impossible:

“I knew I had to run well, I ran a season’s best in probably the hardest of the quarter finals such is my luck this year,” said Pickering.

“I always knew it was going to be tough to go through - to try and be the fourth guy or the fastest loser - if you’ve got the World record holder, European record holder and European number one in your race.

“I’m going to have to – I’m not going to let my self mull over it – I’m going to have five minutes now and then tomorrow start on the relay.

“It shows the quality of the Olympic Games - I ran 10.18 and didn’t get through the quarter-finals, yet in Osaka at the World Championships I made the semi running 10.21.”

In the 3000m steeplechase, Helen Clitheroe and Barbara Parker ventured over the barriers in an event making its debut at the Beijing Olympic Games, but despite Clitheroe clocking a national record of 9.29.14 for sixth in her race, neither athlete could qualify for the final – Parker fading to 9.51.93 for 12th in her heat.

“I knew it had to be a PB if I had any chance of qualifying,” said Clitheroe. “I put myself out there and ran a PB – it’s good that steeplechase is becoming a good event now – a lot of people have moved up from the 1500m.”

Philippa Roles, competing in the discus qualifying was honest in appraising her evening’s work. “It could have gone really far or it could have gone really badly – and it came off really badly,” she said.

Her best of 57.44m meant she finished 27th from the two pools and did not qualify for Monday’s final.

The first day of athletics action ended with the women’s 10000m. Jo Pavey ran a personal best of 31:12.30 to finish 12th, while Kate Reed came 23rd in 32:26.69.

Pavey reflected on her performance, saying "It's very tough and it's easy to feel like I've made a fool of myself. I feel so disappointed, even though I ran a personal best, but it was just such a blistering pace. I've probably got to learn a bit, I wasn't ready for that. I'm disappointed, but what can you do? I'm going to have think about what I do now, really."

Reed said: “It was a good experience, but in this field I didn’t have a huge amount there. I’ve learned a lot from this. I’ve never been at anything as big as this – the Olympic Games are absolutely massive. But I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to run here.”


Tomorrow, Kelly Sotherton goes into day two of the heptathlon in third place after the first four disciplines.

World champion Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders, Silver medallist at last year’s World Championships, begin their 400m campaigns with the heats.

Tyrone Edgar goes in the 100m semi-finals, as do Marilyn Okoro and Jenny Meadows in the 800m semis.

For results and startlist click here