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European Cup Day 1: Live Updates

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The Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Teams are in European Cup action this weekend. The men are in Munich, Germany contesting the Super League competition where they are looking to cement their place amongst the continent's elite athletics nations.


Meanwhile, the women's team are in Vaasa, Finland for the First League Group A match, where they will be seeking promotion back to the top flight.  All the action, as it happens will be updated here.





Poland’s Szymon Ziolkowski earned the first maximum eight points in Munich with a winning throw of 77.99m, sealing a fourth consecutive European cup victory for the former Olympic champion.


Newport-born Andy Frost picked up two points for the GB & NI team to finish in seventh place with a best throw of 68.03m.


He said: "I got the points I expected to get - it wasn’t any better or any worse. I would have liked to target 71m as that would have pushed me up a place. Usually I thrive in the big competitions like I did in the Commonwealth Games last year, so I'm not quite sure what happened."


400m hurdles

Ben Carne showed he has plenty of potential on the senior international stage as he finished sixth in the 400m hurdles. The event was won by Periklis Iakovakis of Greece in 48.35. 


Carne said: "It was a great experience for me - I knew it was going to be quick but I got a bit ahead of myself and ran the first half too hard. I need to go away and put in some more strength work and one day come back and beat these guys. 


Carne was drafted into the squad earlier this week, after David Greene was unable to compete.


"It's been a good experience that I didn’t expect to come quite so soon. I think we've been a bit unlucky with the 400m hurdles recently. What we want is everyone to be back fit, including Rhys Williams, so the competition is strong and we can all push on together," he added.



Craig Pickering stormed through the field to win the 100m and secure eight points for the GB & NI team. The 20-year-old recorded a new personal best of 10.15seconds in the process, but was still frustrated by his start.


He said: "Beforehand I was worried that I wasn’t nervous enough. But I'm getting used to this sort of occasion now. I noticed [UK Athletics Performance Director] Dave Collins picked up on my consistency level and I think that’s true - I think I justified my selection.


"It was an appalling start and I'm a little annoyed at that. I was down on the Pole at 30m but I came through.


"Things are moving quickly for me at the moment - I almost don’t realised what I've achieved until three or four years later. It's only just sinking in that winning a medal at the World Youths in 2003 was a great achievement. Maybe looking back in a few years I'll be pleased about winning the European Cup aged 20. Im just enjoying life at the moment. It’s fun!" 



Andy Baddeley held on for second place in the 1500m despite pressure from Germany's Franek Haschke in the home straight. The Briton was always near the front of the pack and made a bold bid for victory with 500m remaining, but was unable to prevent Mehdi Baala of France from taking the lead on the back straight.


"In the end it actually wasn't that tough, I just didn’t have the change of pace down the back straight. I knew that he [Baala] was coming but there was nothing I could do. It’s experience on his part - he didn’t take it out, he hung back and left it to us.


"I was aggressive and got myself into position, and I implemented the tactics we’d planned. I knew someone was coming at me at the end but there was no way they were going past me. It was good points for the team and good practice for a heat situation in a major championship.



Tim Benjamin picked up seven points for the British team to finish in second place behind Frenchman Leslie Djhone.


The Welshman was under pressure with 150m remaining but sped past much of the field on the home straight to record a season's best 45.67seconds.


He said: "It might take a few races to bring me on. The problem is my training pattern. Both me and the Frenchman are 44second runners, but we’ve both had our problems. Each race is getting faster and faster so I take that as a positive. The French guy is a World and Olympic finalist - he’s no slouch, so there’s no shame being beaten by him."


Shot Put

Carl Myerscough looked to have put any injury worries well behind him as he claimed second place and seven points for the British team with a final throw of 19.96m, finishing behind Peter Sack, who delighted his home crowd with a win for Germany.


Myerscough said: "I'm pleased to finish second. I thought I had a chance of winning, but I only flew in from the US on Wednesday. I snapped my pectorial tendon in January and had surgery in February. This is my first competition since then, so second at the European Cup isn't so bad at all." 



Frank Tickner was unable to keep with the pack despite a promising start by the 23-year-old who looked to be in contention with 2000m remaining. 


Disappointed with his sixth place finish a week after slashing 15 seconds off his personal best in the 3000m steeplechase, he said: "That was awful just awful! I went at 1000m and when I did I just didn’t go with enough conviction. I just felt flat today. I was ecstatic with my performance last week in Prague but I just didn’t feel right today."


High Jump

Eike Onnen earned rapturous applaud from the home crowds as he clinched an impressive victory in the high jump, clearing 2.30m, with Russia's Andrey Tereshin clearing the same height but with one extra foul jump. Britain's Germaine Mason was unable to reproduce his best form of the season so far, clearing 2.15m and picking up a single point for the team.


Long Jump

Chris Kirk's final jump of 7.42m was enough to secure seventh place in his GB debut. The event was  won by Louis Tsatoumas of Greece with a leap of 8.16m.


4x100m relay

Tyrone Edgar got the British quartet off to a flying start, passing to Craig Pickering who pushed the team into a clear lead. Marlon Devonish showed his strength round the bend before handing smoothly to Mark Lewis-Francis, who carried the baton home to seal victory in 38.30 seconds ahead of France and Germany.




400m hurdles

The GB & NI women's team got off to a perfect start in Finland with Natasha Danvers-Smith taking maximum points in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.88seconds.


She said: "It was a lot harder out there than I thought it was going to be. I was hoping for a faster time but the win for the team was far more important.


"It was great to be able to get the team off to a winning start and that's all I was focussing on."



Joice Maduaka came second in the 100m in 11.32seconds meaning the GB team only dropped one point in the first two events.


"I gave it my all and was running really hard, and I didn't see where the other girl came from. It's a legal season's best for me which means I am getting faster. It's just a pity I didn't get that extra point for the team."



The GB women secured another second place and another seven points in the 800m, with Marilyn Okoro beaten into second place by Lucia Klocova who pulled away down the home straight to secure victory for Slovakia.


Okoro said: "I am a little disappointed as I wanted a win for the team as much as for myself. It’s great to be part of a team that wants to win so desperately, and seeing the other girls do well makes you want to win even more.


"I tried something a little different by leading further out, but she just caught me down the home straight."



Lee McConnell secured Britain’s second maximum points of the afternoon. The Scot, who switched to the hurdles in 2005, won her first flat 400m race in two years with a time of 52.30s.


She said: “It was strange not to be running the hurdles and I felt a bit more nervous than usual before the race. Once the race was underway I felt strong but had to hold myself back a bit. So I'm delighted to win having not run a flat 400m for so long."



GB team captain Goldie Sayers proved her position as one of Europe’s leading javelin throwers, winning the event with a throw of 60.41m.


Shouting on teammates from the inside of the track between throws, Sayers beat her Czech rival Barbora Spotakova. Sayers said: “I felt some added pressure being the captain but I was determined to lead by example and to get the win was perfect. I knew I had Spotokova to beat, but I just got on with my own throws and I am pleased to throw over 60m.


Pole Vault

Kate Dennision clinched 6 points by finishing third in the pole valut with a height of 4.30, 5cm down on her outdoor personal best.


Triple Jump

Nadia Williams earned four valuable points for the women's team by jumping 13.29m in the last round. Williams no-jumped in the first two rounds before jumping 12.78m in the third round. With a wind of +2.3 in the blustery Vaasa stadium, Williams leapt a further 51cm in the fourth and final round to miss out on third place by 10cm to the Swede, Emma Green.


The event was won by the Czech Republic's Martina Darmovzalová to put the Czech team in second overall behind Great Britian. 



Kara Nwidobie Sharpe threw over 50m to seal the GB team's second fifth place in the Discus. The Blackpool & Fylde athlete improved in each round before setting her best mark of 50.82m in the third round.


Once again the Czech Republic won maximum points in a field event with Vera Cechlová winning with 61.65m, beating Sweden into second place.



Late call-up Barbara Parker, who replaced Lisa Dobriskey, came fourth. 


"Coming into the team late meant I had to get my head together quickly. But I did that and I enjoyed being out there and running as part of a team," she said.


4x100m relay

The final race of the day saw another victory for GB & NI as the quartet of Anyika Onuora, Montell Douglas, Emily Freeman and Joice Maduaka won the 4x100m relay in 43.24seconds. Leading from the gun, the relay team secured a qualifying time for the World Championships in Osaka in August.


Maduaka said: "We came out here early to practice hard for the relay and that practice paid off. We are all delighted by the time but it’s even better to get the 8 points."


The relay victory meant the GB team ended day one in first place with 65 points – 6 points clear of the Czech Republic in 2nd and 10 points ahead of the hosts Finland.


Team Captain Sayers said: "It's been a very good first day and we are exactly where we wanted to be. Here’s to more success tomorrow.”