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10km Silver for Lawson

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Simon Lawson with Euro Junior silver medal


23 July 2009

The Aviva GB and NI team opened their European Junior medal account on Thursday evening with a silver in the 10,000m.

Simon Lawson (Cardiff) took  Great Britain’s first ever medal of 10,000m at the European Juniors when finishing second to Azerbaijan’s Hayle Ibrahimov (30.06.64) whilst team mate Dewi Griffith took fourth spot with 31.14.54. The self-coached medical student from Wales ran an impressive race, moving away from the main pack and building a significant cushion to finish in 30.35.62. 

Having run a PB of 30.03.9 earlier this season it was hoped that he might figure in the top positions, and his strength throughout the race was key to his achievement.  

Having dallied with running since the age of 12, Lawson was almost lost to the athletics as other sports caught his eye, including a spell playing for Manchester United at under 15 level. In the last couple of years he played with 1500m and concentrated on his A-level studies in a bid to make it to medical school, it was this he felt was responsible for his surge in running form.

“I’ve decided to give it a go and I love the way it gives me structure,” he said. “Sometimes I’m up at 5am to run before lectures and the gym– I just think get out and get it done. I’m self coached because I’ve not got time to train with other people. I like the individuality of the sport – I can just go out and train, it’s best that way as I don’t have to wait for other people or organise my life too much. 

“Coming here and taking a medal is great. I think more athletes should run 10k, but I know they can be discouraged from doing it. I’m running about 100 miles a week and yes I may burn out but you don’t know unless you try. What’s the point of running 1500s until you’re 26 or 27, by then it could be too late. Just get out there and do it – that’s what I’m about!”

All of the British 100m sprinters made it through to tomorrow’s finals with varying degrees of ease. 

Torema Dorsett (Enfield & Haringey) had a close call in the women’s 100m but managed to squeeze through in a fastest loser position with 11.88 (-1.6) in her semi-final for fourth place.  

“There were bits of that that were good, but lots of it wasn’t very good,” she said of her run. “I felt better tonight than I did before my heat this morning, but didn’t run as well.”

There was a slightly easier experience in the men’s 100m as all three Brits made the final. First up was Max Galliers (Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) who tensed up in the final third and was subjected to a photo finish to distinguish the qualifying places.

Galliers was declared second in 10.72 (-1.3) and expressed relief following a tough day at the championship:


“I feel better now – today was tough, I just couldn’t rest and it was hard to come out again. But now I’m glad I can concentrate on the final.” 

Eugene Ayanful (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) was next up and powered down the straight to take second in 10.47 (-1.3), but indicated there was more to come in his confident post event chatter: 

“That felt great, I was aggressive, I was angry – this is my year!” he declared. “Last year at the World Juniors I went with the relay but didn’t even get a run so I came back trained hard and now I’m feeling good about this year. It’s my last year as a junior and I want to do something here. 

“Last year I didn’t feel part of a team because I didn’t get to run, but this year I feel much happier, I’m pleased with that and I’m determined to make the final all about me.” 

Andrew Robertson (Sale) rounded off the GB qualification hat trick with a victory in his semi in 10.59 (-1.5). 

“I’m pleased with that, it felt a bit scrappy at the end but I’m pleased with how I came through. 

“I’ve been shopping this afternoon – I had to get some food and take my mind off the semi final and then I had some rest. But I’m pleased- really chuffed.”

Decathletes David Guest (Bridgend) Daniel Gardiner (Leeds City) Ashley Bryant (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) continued their campaigns with high jump and 400m set out before them.

In the high jump, Gardiner cleared 1.89m to take 705 points, whilst Guest went one better with 1.92m and 731. Bryant’s 1.80m clearance gifted him 627 points in the second pool of competitors.

Gardiner jumped well, But he was down on the event winner Belgium’s Thomas Van Der Plaetsen who put on a solo show of jumping taking the bar successfully up to 2.13m for 925 points, wrestling the overall lead off Gardiner with 3307 points to 3293 – a margin of 14. Guest was in seventh with 3078 and Bryant in 21st with 1.80m

In the 400m all three Brits found the going tough as the day’s events caught up with them. Gardiner managed 50.82 for 777 points, Guest 49.25 for 849 points and Bryant 50.01 for 814.

It meant the trio finished day one as follows: Gardiner in second with 4070pts (behind Germany’s Thomas Van Der Plaet with 4137); Guest in seventh with 3927 and Bryant in 20th with 3571) 

Gardiner said. “I’m pleased with today – I’m up there with the big boys. The high jump was good, I was just a few centimetres off my recent PB of 1.93m so I’m happy with that. The guy who won the high jump should have competed this morning in the individual event! But it’s ok as it makes it more interesting, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and giving it all I’ve got.”

Guest said:”I was a few off my best in the high jump and the 400m wasn’t that great. The German in the lane outside me went off and it was hard to keep my rhythm. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to the hurdles, pole vault and the 1500m.”

Bryant said: “I’m just lacking that spark and zip today. I’m doing technically well, but there is something lacking. I’m hoping to turn it round tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the javelin – it’s my strongest event and with a nice little tailwind perhaps I can go near 70m.”

In the women’s 800m Alison Leonard (Blackburn) showed her major championship experience as she plotted a neat course through to the final with an intelligent run, but team-mates Jenny Tan (Fife) and Leigh Lennon (Newham & Essex) exited the competition in tough heats.

Leonard, who had the luxury of the last heat knew exactly what she had to do in order to qualify and managed to plan her race accordingly following a fast first lap and finished a safe second.

With the first two plus two fastest losers set to qualify, and an opening lap of 63 seconds, Leonard was in confident: 

“That was hard but I felt in control,” she said, pouring a bottle of water over her head. “It went off very quick and when we went through the bell I knew I didn’t need to make the top two as the previous heats had been so slow.

“I know these girls and the championship experience helps as I know what I’m up against and how to handle qualifying, but for now my feet are burning, I can’t believe how hot it is!”

Tan struggled to stay in contact with the main group in her heat finishing in fifth with 2.09.37.

“It was awful. I had a short warm up – shorter than usual because of the heat and I tried to keep in the shade but it feels like you  are burning out there,” she said.

“I tried to stay in the top four but after 400m I was at the back and I couldn’t get back into it. I’m so disappointed but it’s been a great experience to be here and I’ve learned so much – I’m definitely not done.”

Lennon was equally philosophical following her sixth place in 2.10.99:

“I felt good at warm up,” she recalled, “but with about 200m to go I just wasn’t able to go with it.

“This has been a major learning curve for me. At the start of the season it wasn’t my aim to be here – my aim was to win the English Schools which I’ve done but as I competed early season I realised I could make it, and it’s all been a great experience.”

Germany’s Corinna Harrer led the qualifying marks with 2.04.46. 

In the men’s 400m semi-finals Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) was in commanding form with a superb victory and goes into the final as a strong favourite. His trademark fast start settled into a steady rhythm and he eased away from the field in the home straight to finish in 46.71.

“That felt good, I wasn’t even tiring at the end and I felt really strong,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the final, and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t come away with a big PB from this week.”

Louis Persent (Colchester) struggled slightly in his semi final but fought through to third place in 47.29. Although safely through to the final he was disappointed not to have been in sharper form:

“I felt good at warm up but for some reason I didn’t quite feel right from the beginning of the race,” he said. I wanted to come away with a PB and a good position but at least I’m through.” 

Laura Wake (Herts Phoenix) represented Britain in the women’s 400m heats and found the going tough finishing fifth in 54.37.

Having fallen into the event almost accidently after running a relay leg for her club at a UK Women’s League fixture, Wake has progressed impressively to take her debut GB vest and today’s run was only her seventh venture over the one lap distance.

“That was tough, I was drinking water trying to cool down before the start but it was hard work and I think perhaps nerves make you hotter,” she said after.

“I’m completely overwhelmed by the occasion but I’ve gotten so much from being here. I had to run my own race there was no way I could go with that, but it’s been such an eye-opener.

“Yesterday it was really fun and everyone in the team was happy and then today the championships started and it got very serious - everyone is just so focussed, but that has been good as it meant I was able to focus on my race and do my best. I’m happy with how I’ve run, but I’m also going to aim for Canada next year.”

The women’s long jump duo of Lorraine Ugen (Blackheath & Bromley) and Abigail Irozuru (Sale) found qualifying one leap too far and were unable to make the final. Ugen – with a best of 5.85m (0.0) and Irozuru’s 5.95m (+0.5) missed out in a qualifying competition led by Russia’s Darya Klishina with 6.38m.

Irozuru said: “I don’t know why that happened I felt really good, I had two no-jumps which – I know don’t count but they felt so right and I’m gutted.

“I feel like I’ve let myself down and not done myself justice here. I’ve not jumped this badly in qualifying before.”

Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire) found the going tough in the first heat of the 1500m but used his experience to stay out of harm’s way. Ensuring he avoided the argy-bargy taking place within the field, he used his sprint to good effect and coasted into the final by taking third in 3.52.17.

Afterwards, he confirmed he felt in control:

“It was a bit pushy and shovey out there,” he said. “But I’ve come through the World Youths and races like the national championships at home mean that you are prepared for that sort of thing. If I had come here with no experience it might have been a factor if I’d not got through.

“The pace was easy at the start, but the heat was tough it was so dry and I was trying to lick my lips but not getting any relief – it’s good to be through.”

Having had the benefit of seeing the slow pace of the previous heat, Ross Murray (Gateshead) and Dan Clorley (Luton) also played it safe and made it to the line in fifth and seventh respectively – enough to ensure progression to the final in the faster of the two semis.

Murray said: “I knew I was ok because I was clear in fifth and I knew we were ahead of the previous heat in time, but I would have been ok if I’d had to sprint. It was just the heat out there that was tough – it is dry and burned the back of my throat so every time I swallowed I was feeling sick.”

Clorley said: I knew because of the first heat I was ok so I wasn’t really going for it and had something left at the end. I was confident after that and thought I could make it through, my aim is to make the top eight – that would be good for me in this field.”


The women’s pole vault qualifying saw Sally Scott (Gateshead) qualify with a first time clearance of 3.90m but Maria Seager (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) missed out by one place as her 3.80m on her second attempt didn’t make the grade.

Scott, whose previous championship experience was to no-height at the European Youth games in 2007, was delighted to make it through and reproduce her recent consistent form.

“It’s the first time I’ve got through qualifying. I had a couple of run-throughs in the warm up but I wasn’t concerned – I’m just please to have been able to produce it and I know I’ve been vaulting well recently,” she said.

Nicola Hood (Victoria Park, City of Glasgow) ran an intense 3000m Steeplechase heat to qualify for Saturday’s final just seconds shy of her PB. In conditions that have seen endurance athletes suffer through the first day, Hood did not panic when she spent part of the race in seventh before working her way into the top five. With four sure to qualify on the last lap she closed in on fourth place and just for good measure sprinted to take third on the line in 10.27.31.

Following her heroics she collapsed on the track, but ice packs and water soon revived the gutsy Scot.

“I sprinted at the end because I wasn’t sure how close the fourth place girl was and I certainly didn’t want to look back and check,” she laughed. “It was just seconds short of my PB so I’m disappointed but I’m also so pleased to be in the final. I’m ranked fifth in the rankings coming here so I would be aiming for a top five finish.”

Louise Webb (Team Southampton) then followed with a controlled run looking as though she had plenty more in reserve. She finished second in her heat in 10.26.03 – still surprised to be at the championships following a late decision to contest the steeplechase at the Aviva World Trials.

“I did steeplechase at the World Youths in 2007, and the last year tried some other distances but wasn’t quite getting there. I did some 1500m this year and took nine seconds off my PB,” she said.

“I won the English Schools title over 1500m steeplechase on the Friday before the trials and decided to give the senior championships a go, and I managed to qualify for here. I’m glad, I felt good out there, and in control. I just wanted to try do my own thing – no matter what pace you are running, on the last lap your legs always feel dead!”

It wasn’t all joyful qualification however as the GB triple jumpers Kola Adedoyin (Blackheath & Bromley) and recent World Youth gold medallist Ben Williams (Stoke) both missed out on making the triple jump final.

Adedoyin was unlucky with a solid 15.39m leap that suffered a strong headwind of -2.1m/s, missing out by just one place. Williams however struggled to find his rhythm and was truly gutted to be eliminated with 14.92m, and two no-jumps.

“I cannot believe I have gone from the best feeling in the world to the worst in just a couple of weeks,” said the World Youth champion.

“My last jump was so much better but I missed the take off. The track is faster but that’s no excuse I should have tweaked my start mark by a few centimetres. I’ve another shot at this title in two years and I swear I am not coming back with anything less than the gold medal. I am going to train so hard this winter and I am going to make sure I never feel like this again.”

 There was also disappointment in the javelin as Daniel Pembroke (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) and Matthew Hunt (Kingston Upon Hull) both failed to progress, Hunt by just one qualifying position. Pembroke threw 66.82 whilst Hunt managed a best of 67.76. 

However it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the throwers with Curtis Griffith Parker (Cambridge Harriers) qualifying for the final with his first throw for the final of the discus with 57.85 – surpassing the 57m requirement. 

“I wanted to throw again, I thought it was worth getting another couple out but they wouldn’t let me as I had qualified already, but it’s good to get the first one out and I’m looking forward to the final.” 

Reports from each session are available on www.uka.org.uk