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World Youth Championships: Day 2 PM report

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Asha and Ashlee
Asha and Ashlee

16 year-old Asha Philip has become the first British woman to ever win a 100m title at a global major championship, by taking gold at the World Youths in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Thursday night by the narrowest of margins possible.

Philip (Newham & Essex) and silver medallist Rosangela Santos of Brazil both clocked the exact same time, right down to the nearest thousandth of a second; 11.459. But using the most up-to-date computerised methods, the judges awarded Philip the victory by a single pixel from the high-definition photo finish image.

Initially it appeared that two gold medals would be awarded after the stadium scoreboard displayed both athletes in first place with 11.46, before Philip was eventually declared the sole winner after an agonising few minutes.

Team-mate Ashlee Nelson (City of Stoke) made it a double celebration for the Norwich Union GB & NI team as she claimed a superb bronze in 11.58.  Philip always looked the class act throughout the rounds, but her mettle was put to the test in a nervy final, which saw two false starts and the eventual disqualification of USA’s Erica Alexander.

Philip made the best start of all and looked to have the race tied up as she pulled clear, but in the last 10 metres Santos made a late dash and almost nicked it.  Reacting to her historic feat: “It won’t be the last. Not with me and Ashlee about!

“I wasn’t aware of the Brazilian girl until about five metres out and I thought ‘Oh no!’  I think it’s the first time I have actually dipped properly.”  Reflecting on her success, she agreed it was her greatest accomplishment to date. “Yes, so far.” She said. “It’s one of those stepping stones I’ve jumped and hopefully there will be many more.”

Nelson was following in the footsteps of her elder brother Alex, who won 100m silver at these championships two years ago in Marrakech, Morocco, behind another Briton; Harry Akines-Aryeetey. “I thought ‘I want one of them’”. She said on her brother’s return to their Stoke base two years ago.

“I came to these championships, having not had much of a winter with problems with my Achilles, so I’m really pleased.” Elsewhere Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) and Jordan McGrath (Solihull and Small Heath Harriers) both booked their places in Friday’s men’s 400m final with impressive semi-final performances.

As in Wednesday’s heats, McGrath ran another well-judged race to finish second in the first semi final in a new PB of 47.48, doing most of his hard work in the third 100m. “It felt fine. I’m so pleased I reached the final, it has been my season’s ambition.

“There will be no pressure in the final. I will just go out there and run for fun and when that happens, I normally run fast.”  In the second semi, Clarke was a nonchalant victor, virtually coming to a standstill towards the finish as he coasted home in 47.85.

“The first 200 was good and the second 200 was too. It all feels so good. I just wonder what time I would have got if I’d really pushed it. I didn’t see anyone around me at all.” He said.

Speaking of his experience at the World Youths thus far, he said: “It is so exciting, I think this sort of atmosphere brings out the best in me.” The men’s 400m final will take place on Friday at 16:30 UK time.

There was disappointment for Jordan Huggins (Enfield & Haringey) and Chris Harvey (Cannock & Stafford AC) who both missed out at the semi final stage in the men’s 100m and 800m respectively.  Both however, felt they had learned from the experience.

Huggins was 7th in the second semi final in 10.96. “It’s a learning process, all I can do is learn from it. My goal this year was the English Schools, not to come to the world Youths, so I have done well. I’m still an under 17, so I’ve got the Commonwealth Youth Games to go for next year and can always try for the World Juniors too.

“I’ve had the experience of coming here, I got to the semis, so it’s not too bad.  This is just the start.”  Harvey was sixth in his semi final of the men’s 800m in 1:52.92, after suffering from a brutal 52 second opening lap.

“I know it was going to be hard in the last 100m after that first lap.” He said. “I felt good with 300m to go and made a move up to second.  But then they started to get away from me again and I lost confidence. “I need to work on my endurance a bit more.  I can kick off a slow pace, but I can’t kick off that.”

Louise Webb (Team Southampton) and Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester AC) were due to contest the heats of the women’s 2000m steeplechase, but the organisers have decided to run the competition as a straight final.

The British duo will form part of a 17 strong field for Saturday’s final at 19:00, UK time.




World Youth Championships: Day 2 - AM report

There was only a few seconds of action from the Norwich Union Great Britain Team on Thursday morning at the World Youth Championships…but what a few seconds!


Peter Smith (Kingston-upon-Hull AC) was the sole member of the team due to compete in the session and he wasted little time as he sailed through the first round of the men’s hammer by bettering the automatic qualifying distance of 70 metres in his first throw of the competition.


Smith, whose elder brother Alex won hammer bronze at the World Youths in Marrakech, Morocco two years ago, produced a superb effort of 71.48m to secure his spot in Friday’s final.


"I felt ready for it." He said "In warm up everything was going nicely. It is a big weight off my shoulders. I’m not well known for producing big throws in my first three, but I did today! I had good group of supporters behind me. My mum, dad and all the throwers were here. I just need to get a good sleep now and chill out. I feel great!"