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FANTASTIC FRIDAY AT EUROS

Andy Turner

 

30 July 2010

For results visit the Sportsresult website

In a ‘Fantastic Friday’ evening for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, there was a stunning six-medal haul including a brilliant 110m hurdles gold for Andy Turner.

There were also surprises in store as the team was swept up in a medal winning habit that washed across the camp.

Andy Turner (Coach: Lloyd Cowan) ran a storming 110m hurdles race to take a memorable European Championship gold in a wonderful evening for the Sale Harrier.

The 2006 bronze medallist put aside his years of frustration and run a superb race, his ice cool technique and disposition putting pressure on Czech athlete and race favourite Petr Svoboda who slammed a hurdle midway, yet Turner remained technically sound and burst through the line with his arms aloft – so confident he had taken the win.

His 13.28 marked not only a season’s best, but just one hundredth from his personal best, and showed he had made great progress ahead of Hungary’s Daniel Kiss in second in 13.34.

“I just smelt the gold medal!” he said straight after. “You just find that extra gear. I'm just lost for words right now.

“This whole champs has been amazing, MLF - I loved that! Mo and Chris, that got all the team fired up and then obviously Phillips and Martyn last night were amazing.

“All the other medalists so far have sent shivers down my spine, so I just wanted that so bad.”

 

However teammate and 2009 World championship fourth placer William Sharman (George Maciukiewicz) exited the competition earlier in the evening courtesy of a false start in his, the first of the two semi finals.

“False start. No excuse I false started,” he conceded after. “I found it an exceptionally long hold, I felt the Polish guy twitch and I couldn't hold myself anymore.”

In the men’s 400m final Michael Bingham (Ken Harnden) and Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin) showed huge improvement on their semi finals to run tactically brilliant races from testing outside lanes.

Rooney, long legs cramped in lane one and Bingham, running blind in lane eight were forced to make every stride count in a race where the medallists rarely come from lanes one and eight. Yet their will was more powerful than the statistics and they followed race winner – Belgian Kevin Borlee – across the line to take silver (Bingham) and bronze (Rooney) – both clocking 45.23.

In reflecting, both were pleased to have medalled but identified where improvements could be made.

“I should run a more even race,” said Bingham. “It was hard because I didn't see anyone till the last fifty. I think I'm a lot fitter than the guys but I just didn't run the right race.

“At the end of the day I'm not too upset as I've still got a silver medal, if I'd have got bronze I would've been more upset but silver is silver.”

Rooney was also honest with his appraisal: “To come out with a medal when in all honesty I ran a poor semi final... I haven't run my own races since I've been here,” he admitted.

“Then I ran my own race tonight and came out with a medal. I didn't realise it was so close. As soon as I had crossed the line I didn't realise where I was, first or last!”

 One athlete more pleased with his day’s work this evening was Christian Malcolm. Malcolm, (Dan Pfaff) might have been the second GB sprinter to take silver behind the superb Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre- who also took the 100m ahead of Lewis Francis-, but his medal winning performance was truly outstanding as he pressured the youngster all the way, just losing out as they dipped across the line in 20.37 and 20.38 respectively.

For Malcolm, who has had a rollercoaster career since winning world junior sprint titles over 100m and 200m, it marked an excellent return to form, and although it would have been tough to see the gold slip away by one hundredth of a second, can take solace in a creditable championship campaign.

“That feels good. Great, amazing,” he said. “I nearly had him, I told myself tonight if Christophe Lemaitre wants to win he's going to have to work hard for it. And I made him work!

“Now bring on the Commonwealth Games. I can't wait!”

In fourth, was teammate Marlon Devonish (Tony Lester), his position truly creditable considering his late addition to the individual 200m, but obviously disappointing to have missed out on once again making the European Championship podium with a 20.62 behind France’s Martial Mbandjock on 20.42.

I wish him (Christian) all the best, I've got a lot of time for Christian. I just wish I was in the mix for medals,” he said.

“The race was ok but I’m having problems with my stomach but I just tried to keep that to the back of my mind.”

In the women’s 400m hurdles, GB had two finalists and hopes were high that one might be able to break through into a podium place.

Setting up her blocks in the shadow of a celebrating Bingham and Rooney, Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) was forced to focus solely on her preparations, despite the ever excited British contingent in the crowd.

It was good concentration practice for the Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets athlete who was drawn in the lane outside title favourite Natalya Antyukh, and sure enough, the position proved to be a help rather than a hindrance.

Undertaken by the more experienced athletes around the final bend, Shakes Drayton saved her best until last, and in the dying stages, took the last set of hurdles well in fifth and ran herself into the bronze medal position with 54.18.

She was exuberant as always post race: “That is wicked. I said fifth would be great and I got bronze. I got a medal!

“I am so chuffed. I kept saying to myself ‘get to the final’. Then I was in lane seven so I just had to go for it and I did. I’m very happy I’ve got to say I am over the moon with that performance. I’m happy it means all my hard work has paid off.”

Unfortunately for Eilidh Child (Stuart Hogg), her 55.51 meant she finished in eighth place, after suffering with her stride pattern midway through:

I felt comfortable and good but then I lost my stride and it all went a bit wrong after that.”

Antyukh won the race in a championship record of 52.92, with Bulgaria’s Vania Stambolova in second with a national record of 53.82.

 

Jenny Meadows
 

In the women’s 800m, the impressive semi final form of Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) and Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) raised expectations of a strong showing in the final, and true to form the Aviva GB & NI team had a representative on the podium in the women’s 800m once again.

It came courtesy of Meadows, who showed her true championship credentials, in taking a prize where none was expected – least of all the pocket rocket who had been suffering with an ongoing Achilles injury until recently.

Against her usual tactic Meadows found herself at the front with 350m to go, and although in the home straight she was struggling to hold on to a medal, crossed the line in third behind World Indoor champion Mariya Savinova in first on 1:58.22 and Dutch athlete Yvonne Hak with 1:58.85 – Meadows clocking 1:59.39.

Team mate Simpson however, struggled throughout and in the home straight could not make any inroads past fifth place, taking the line in 1:59.90.

After, Meadows said: 

“I didn’t want to lead and that’s the hard way to win a medal in a championship – to hang on for the bronze instead of coming through with my strength which is what I usually do – but it showed that I can win a medal in a different way!

“I couldn’t believe I was still hanging on – I was thinking I can’t believe no-one has passed me. It was just keep going, keep going keep going, and I crossed the line and I knew I had bronze.”

In the women’s pole vault final Kate Dennison (Steve Rippon) was just one vault away from a place on the European Championship podium, but unfortunately the height required was a national record of 4.65m, some five centimetres more than she had ever vaulted before.

Having started the competition well with first time clearances of 4.25/35 and 4.45m, she cleared 4.55m with one failure and then came face to face with a progression which would take her a long way into pastures new.

Yet it was excruciatingly close for Dennison, whose third attempt saw her do the hard work in getting her body clear of the bar, only to see her arm remove it as she dropped towards the mat.

“That was frustrating! I was so close to 65, but it just wasn't happening today,” she accepted.

“I almost cleared it on my last attempt but then my elbow got in the way, I'm hoping a PB could come in the next week or so!”

Winner Svetlana Feofanova marked a return to the old days of pre-Isinbayeva pole vaulting with 4.75m to take the gold.

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Hatti Dean (Bud Baldaro) showed how the momentum of medal winning in the GB camp was becoming infectious by almost taking third in a rowdy final.

Rowdy - because of the Spanish crowd’s interest in silver medallist Marta Dominguez – but the swell of noise carried Dean from a place well outside medal contention, to a sprint off against Russia’s Lyubov Kharlamova for the bronze medal over the final lap.

Although Dean was edged into fourth place, her PB of 9:30.19 – just one second off Helen Clitheroe’s UK record- meant another athlete had produced their best in the championship forum.

The race was won by Russian Yuliya Zarudneva in a championship record of 9:17.57.

Finally, in the evening’s closing event the trio of Andy Baddeley (Andy Hobdell); Tom Lancashire (Norman Poole) and Colin McCourt (Craig Winrow) went in the men’s 1500m but were unable to take home a prize as all three suffered in the sprint finish.

Despite featuring in the top places with a lap to go, both Baddeley and Lancashire faded on the run in, whilst McCourt could not get on terms with the pace of the final lap..

Spaniard Arturo Casado raised the stadium roof with his winning sprint infront of the adoring home crowd to take gold in 3:42.74.

But for Baddeley – it was an opportunity missed:

“I am devastated, I didn’t have the legs the last 30m you can see it in the video replay,” he said.

“I was there for a medal and then I was sixth. I’m devastated, I’ve never felt like this before. I was certain with 200m to go I had it won and then my legs just came out from under me last 20 or 30 metres and you can’t get that back.”

McCourt was equally disappointed with their showing:

“It wasn’t our day, it’s embarrassing for us, we wanted to start putting British middle distance running back on the map and we didn’t do that we messed up.”

Throughout the evening, Jessica Ennis (Toni Miniciello) maintained her lead in the women’s heptathlon with outings over the shot put and long jump in the evening of day one. But the challenge of Nataliya Dobynska in second, meant that Ennis’ overnight lead of 4080 points to 3970, would set up a fascinating second day’s action.

At the beginning of the evening session, Ennis had set British supporters worrying with her early shot put attempts in the 13m range, whilst Dobrynska was toying around in the high 15m. With the Ukranian setting a best of 15.88m, Ennis needed to dig deep and with her third put rescued a 14.05m to maintain her overall event lead.

However, in her final event of day one – a strong one for the Sheffield athlete, she once again showed her sprint credentials with an impressive season’s best over 200m of 23.21, and opened out her lead over Dobrynska to 110 points.

Summing up her evening Ennis said:

“I’m feeling good, really good. I’m really pleased with that time for the two hundred, it felt great.  “It was a great finish to the day really. I needed to do that, Dobrynska is getting really close so I’ve definitely got to give everything to stay ahead.

“It’s been hot and blustery all day but it’s been good. I’ll go and rest now and look forward to tomorrow.”

In further qualification action for this weekend on a busy night at the Olympic Stadium:

Chris Tomlinson (Frank Attoh) qualified more than comfortably for the Sunday night final of the men’s long jump with a second round leap of 8.20m. It meant he ranked third of the qualifiers and the season’s best gave him confidence looking ahead to the weekend:

“I've said I'm ranked 14th coming into this and I've never finished outside top 12 so I'm not going to start now,” he smiled.

“We'll see on Sunday, I'm going to go out there and enjoy myself.”

 

Emily Freeman (Brian Hall) was unable to make the Saturday night final of the women’s 200m although she performed well to record a season’s best in a season beset with injury early on. The improvement curve was just not steep enough to help her progress this week but she seemed encouraged by her run:

“That felt a lot better, I would've been happier if it was quicker but it is an improvement from this morning and right now every race is an improvement.”

In the women’s 1500m , currently operating at a world class standard within European Athletics the three GB representatives Steph Twell (Mick Woods); Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) and Lisa Dobriskey (George Gandy) had their work cut out to progress to Sunday evening’s final.

In the first heat, both Twell and England suffered initially with the quick pace and came home outside the automatic qualifying slots of the top four places with sixth and eighth place. It meant a wait to see if they would be able to progress. In the next heat World silver medallist Dobriskey ran a sensible race, managing to stay out of trouble despite an inside position for much of the race, and finishing easily in second place in 4:06.00.

It meant that with the pace of the second race faster than the first, the times of 4:05.63 and 4:06.03 recorded by Twell and England were good enough to sweep up the fastest loser slots, meaning a full GB contingent in the final.