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European Cup Day 2: Summary

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"Gutsy" was the word UK Athletics Performance Director Dave Collins used as he summed up the weekend's European Cup competitions, where the Norwich Union GB & NI men's team finished 4th in the Super League contest in Munich and the women's team earned promotion back to the top flight with a resounding victory in the First League Group A match in Vaasa, Finland.  


Collins said: "We have hit our targets. The women did it in style, exceeding some of our statisticians' expectations. On the men's side, there were a couple of errors made and the loss of some key athletes affected us.


"But the guys that came in did sterling work and got stuck in with some recognisable efforts. I think the keyword of the weekend is 'guts'. There were plenty of gutsy performances out there and that's what I want to see from the British team."



FRA - 116; GER - 116; POL - 110; GBR - 101; RUS - 93; GRE - 70; UKR - 58.5; BEL - 53.5



GBR - 131; SWE - 110, CZE - 102; FIN - 98; NED - 78; IRE - 76; NOR - 73; SLO - 50.


See below for the summary of the second day's events both in Munich and Vaasa.




110m hurdles


Andy Turner held on strongly to take seven vital points in the 110m hurdles, helping the team move up into third position on the leaderboard. Turner’s time of 13.48seconds was just 0.10seconds shy of his personal best. World champion Ladji Doucoure of France crossed the line in first place with a season’s best 13.35seconds.  


Turner said: “Everyone said Ladji was the favourite and the one to beat. It would have been nice to have been closer to him, but it’s about points and I got the ones I wanted.


“I felt something in my hamstring two hurdles out and just held on – I don’t think its anything serious though.”


Triple jump


European Indoor champion Phillips Idowu saved his best until last as he leapt to second place in the triple jump with a fourth and final mark of 17.21m behind Russia’s Aleksandr Petrenko who managed a new personal best of 17.29m.


"I'm not happy, but I'm not extremely disappointed," he said. "The Russian guy jumped a pb with a 1.6 headwind. I struggled out there - I knew it would be tough, the wind was all over the place. But I am pleased I was able to pull out a 17.20 jump."




Michael Rimmer’s timely dip on the line earned him an impressive seven points for the GB team in a tight photo finish. But the 21-year-old still felt he was capable of more.


He said: "I’ve got to be honest and admit I was going for the win. My first reaction is disappointment, but when I get back to the hotel later with the boys I'm sure I will have a smile on my face.


"Tactically it was very good and I was pleased with the finish. It just shows how well the winter's gone for me. I knew the Pole [Pawel Czapiewski] was coming - I just saw him at the end, and it’s a shame I just couldn’t hang on.


"Like I said, I'm disappointed but wih seven points on my [European Cup] debut I cant really complain."


3000m Steeplechase


The home crowds were left smiling as Germany's Filmon Ghirmai sprinted down the home straight to take victory in a tactically raced 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:38.78.


Great Britain's Andrew Lemoncello held off a sprinting pack for third place and six points. 


He said: "I knew it was going to be tactical and I wanted to get a decent pace up, so with about 900m to go I tried to step it up. But they all had a little more in their legs in the last lap than I did."


The Florida-based athlete was however pleased with the summery Munich conditions, adding :"This is perfect for me, I’m used to training in this sort of weather."


Pole Vault


Another win for the host nation as Tim Lobinger cleared 5.70m. Commonwealth bronze medallist Steve Lewis continued to impress on the international stage as he finished sixth with a season's best of 5.40m.


The 21-year-old bravely carried on with the competition after being hit in the chest by his pole when attempting his first height of 5.25m. He was checked over by team Doctors as a precautionary investigation following the event. 




Emeka Udechuku's second round throw of 57.59m secured seventh place in the discus, which was won by Poland's Piotr Malachowski with a season's best 66.09m.


Udechuku said: "It was a good competition, it’s just a shame I got passed by a couple of people towards the end. My performance is in keeping with how my season’s gone so far, which is a bit slow.


"There’s been a lot of changes with my training and my work so I'm just trying to get everything into place and more settled ahead of next year. It’s a smidge of disappointment as 57m is an everyday throw."




Team captain Marlon Devonish picked up maximum points with a superb performance out of lane two. The Coventry Godiva athlete's time of 20.33seconds is the fastest by a European so far this year.


He said: “I'm very happy I came through - I could easily have cracked today. I've been feeling a bit of pressure every since Dave [Collins] asked me to be captain. But if I can't deal with at 31, when can I deal with it!"


"I drove out the blocks and passed the Pole very quickly. I’ve got this new-found speed so I was finding it hard to hold the turn. There’s definitely a lot more to come." 




Nick McCormick looked to have secured second place behind Frenchman Bouabdellah Tahri after the pair had stretched ahead of the pack with two laps to go.


But the 25-year-old just failed to stave off fast finishers from Poland and Russia and had to settle for five points rather than seven.




Nick Nieland's final round throw of 75.76m pushed the Commonwealth gold medallist up into sixth place in the javelin. The event was won by Russia's Aleksandr Ivanov, who previously triumphed at this event in 2004.


4 x 400m


Martyn Rooney ran a superb third leg to take the British quartet from fourth to first after Andrew Steele and Richard Strachan kept pace with the leaders.


But Daniel Caines was unable to hold on to their lead as he was beaten in a blanket finish by Poland and Germany.







Great Britain's women’s team started the second day with four well-earned points from Zoe Derham in the hammer.


Derham was in fourth place after her first round throw of 64.94m, but slipped down to sixth before her final throw of 65.56m gained an important extra point for the team.


“I knew that every point would be important at this stage and feel good that I managed to move up one place in the final round," she said.


Ireland’s Eileen O’Keeffe threw an Irish record of 69.44m to win the event.




Abby Westley won Great Britain’s first maximum points of day two by winning a tactical 1500m. On her senior international debut the Hallamshire Harrier kicked hard in the home straight to win in 4:21.14.


Westley did well to keep out of trouble in a slow race, but with 120m to go she made her move and hit the front with 50m left to hold off Norway’s Raguhild Kvarberg.


She said: "We said it was a very tactical race but I trusted my finish and knew that if I timed it right I could win.  The team is on a roll - I wanted to add to that and was delighted with a victory."



100m hurdles


Sarah Claxton managed to hold on to fourth place despite hitting the fourth hurdle. The 27-year-old Woodford Green & Essex Ladies hurdler kept her rhythm together to run 13.25seconds.


She said: “It was really hard to keep myself together as I hit the hurdle really hard with my lead leg."


Sweden took maximum points with Susanna Kallur dipping under 13 seconds with a time of 12.92seconds.




Joice Maduaka made it 23 points from her three events by winning the 200m in 23.31 seconds. After a victory in the 4x100m, and second place in yesterday’s 100m, Maduaka has easily been Britain’s busiest athlete at the European Cup in Finland. She took the bend hard before keeping her form down the straight to beat Elisabeth Slettum of Norway.


“I have done a lot this weekend but it’s all been about the team and the points. I now feel that it’s job done,” Maduaka said.




Jo Pavey showed her class in winning this event by more than 80m. Running in flat trainers to save her legs ahead of a 10,000m next weekend, Pavey took the first 2000m relatively slowly before winding up the pace.


As her competitors dropped off, Pavey got stronger and stronger, even lapping two runners.


She said: “I haven’t run in flats for seven years so I was a little apprehensive and even took my spikes to the start line. I knew the pace would start slow but I ran my own race and I'm so glad to have won and add to our growing score.”



High jump


Stephanie Pywell managed fourth place in a competitive high jump that included Sweden's Kajsa Bergqvist. The Sale Harrier was one of four jumpers to clear 1.80m but clinched the fourth spot on countback.


Bergqvist won the event from the Czech Republic's Iva Strakova. Both women cleared 1.92m but the Swede took one less jump to clear 1.89m.


Shot Put


Eva Massey secured five more points for the GB women by coming fourth in the shot with a put of 15.12m.


Sweden's Helena Engman won the event with 17.60m to take eight points and put pressure on the British women in the overall event. Massey registered a no-throw in the first round before throwing 14.75m in the second.


Her best put came in the fourth round, to finish ahead of Finland. 


She said: "It’s a bit of a cliché but all the girls have just been thinking about the points and I'm glad I've been able to add to our achievements."



3000m Steeplechase


Hatti Dean set a new British record of 9:42.66 minutes in winning the 3000m steeplechase. The Hallamshire Harrier took the lead after Ireland’s Roisin McGettigan hit a barrier. On her own for nearly two laps, Dean beat her own British record by nearly half a second and won the race by more than eight seconds.


She said: “I didn’t expect to run a quick time so I'm delighted to beat the record. I was just concentrating on winning rather than getting the quick time so it was a big bonus."


Long jump


Carolina Kluft, the World and Olympic heptathlon champion won with a leap of 6.75m. GB & NI's Jade Johnson came second with a season's best of 6.56m, which she achieved in the first round. She supplemented this with leaps of 6.54m and 6.42m for a consistent series.


Her performance prove she is moving in the right direction in her preparations for the World Championships in Osaka, later on this summer. Johnson said: "We have had a really fun, relaxed time and with the girls doing so well on Saturday, those of us competing on Sunday didn't want to let them down."




Great Britain's relay team of Carey Easton, Jenny Meadows, Natasha Danvers-Smith and Lee McConnell crowned the perfect weekend in Finland with a victory.


With a time of 3:29.51 minutes the quartet secured overall victory for the GB & NI team by 21 points from Sweden.


The relay team were pushed by Ireland on the first two legs before Danvers-Smith pulled away on the third.


Danvers-Smith said: "The win was great as it means so much to us as we’ve helped make sure we are back in the Super League next year where we belong."