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Euro Teams: day one

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David Greene
Greene wins to set Aviva GB and NI on their way


20 June 2009

The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team lead the European Team Championships after day one of the inaugural event in Leira, Portugal by just one point from pre-event favourites Russia.

Individual victories from Dwain Chambers (men’s 100m), Emily Freeman (women’s 100m), Mo Farah (men’s 5000m), David Greene (400m hurdles) and Tim Benjamin (men’s 400m) were the cornerstone of a successful first day’s action for GB & NI and there was the added bonus of another UK record for the prolific Kate Dennison in the women’s pole vault to savour.

23 year old Greene became the first British winner ever at this championships, underpinning his excellent early season form by winning in 49.26 after a strong home straight finish that saw him blast past reigning European champion Periklis Iakovakis (Greece) for a fine victory on his international debut.

This was swiftly followed by a superb victory by late stand-in Emily Freeman in the women’s 100m in 11.42 (+0.6m/s). The Olympic 200m finalist looked in fine fettle as she saw off a field that included European Indoor 60m champion Yevgeniya Polyakova (Russia).

Next in the victory ring was Tim Benjamin, looking fit and relaxed, the Welshman is inching back towards the form that took him to the World Championships 400m final in 2005. He surged clear of Sweden’s Olympic finalist Johan Wissman to win in 45.57.

Dwain Chambers strengthened his reputation as the fastest man in Europe as he pounded down the track to win the men’s 100m clearly in 10.07 (+0.2m/s). Mo Farah made the new elimination format for distance running at this event almost redundant as he took on the pace and cruised to victory in the men’s 5000m.

He had Spain’s Carles Castillejo for company right until the back straight of the last lap, before speeding away to win in 13:43.01. In the women’s pole vault, Kate Dennison’s season just gets better and better, she had a first-time clearance at a 4.55m, increasing the national best she set just two weeks ago.

There were other fine outings from youngsters such as Hannah England, Stephanie Twell and Eilidh Child.

England, who was stepping in to cover for late withdrawal Jenny Meadows, produced a storming final 100m to finish 4th in the women’s 800m in a new PB of 1:59.94, slashing nearly two seconds off her previous best and securing the World Championships A qualifying standard in the process.

19 year old Twell once again belied her age as she mixed it with some of the continent’s most redoubtable endurance athletes, placing 4th in the women’s 3000m in 9:09.65. Child too looked far from out of place, despite this being her first GB senior international. She battled it out in the home straight with Olympic and World finalists before placing 4th in 55.48, just 0.02 outside her PB.

GB & NI go into day 2 with 165 points, with Russia on 164, traditional rivals France and Germany are third and fourth with 159.5 and 158.5 respectively.