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UK Athletics

Euro Silver for Goldie - updated report

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Goldie Sayers (Belgrave Harriers) won the javelin silver medal for the small Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team – and discovered a new lucky charm – at the European AA Winter Throws Cup in Yalta, Ukraine, on Saturday 17 March.


The 24-year-old struggled in bitterly cold and windy conditions to get her run-up right and had three foul throws before reaching 60.02m. It earned her second place behind the 2004 Olympics silver medallist and European Champion, Steffi Nerius (Germany), who achieved a lifetime best of 63.14m.


Sayers, who has been coached by former GB international Mark Roberson in their native Cambridgeshire since last September, said: “I’m quite pleased with the distance and position. I wasn’t in the top six on personal bests going into the competition so I took a few scalps. It’s three metres further than I have previously thrown at this time of year, which is very encouraging.


“And I did it without throwing particularly well. I couldn’t get my timing right and thought it was because of the fast run-up and a wrongly-taped foot until I took my shoes off afterwards and discovered a 12mm spike lying alongside my foot.


“It was sideways on, thankfully, but it explained why I’d felt uncomfortable. If it had turned slightly, it would have cut it into me. I’m going to keep it – it’s my lucky little spike now!”


The only man in the Norwich Union GB team, Andy Frost (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was fourth in the hammer Group B competition with a best on the day of 70.81m. His series went: foul, 67.66m, 69.05m, foul, 70.24m and 70.81m. His competition was won by Igor Vinichenko (Russia) with 73.57.


Group A was won by Primo Kozmus (Slovenia) with 77.99m. When the results from the two groups were put together, Frost was placed 11th of the 20 competitors.


“I’m quite pleased,” commented Frost. “It’s something to work on for the rest of the season. The idea is to peak in July-August this year.”


Carys Parry (Rhondda Harriers and Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC) saved her best til last in the hammer Group B competition – and got to within 73cm of her lifetime best to finish sixth with 62.25m. Stéphanie Falzon (France) won with 68.68m.


Parry built into her series by throwing 59.38m, 58.39m, foul, 58.85m, 61.50m and finally 62.25m to continue her encouraging winter. She threw 62.98m for a victory at Bournemouth last month.


The two Scottish Under 23s in the squad had to compete in the worst of the wintry weather on Sunday morning. “It was horrendous – hurricane winds and driving rain,” said Norwich Union GB team leader Mick Hill.


Kirsty Law (Inverness Harriers / Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) suffered the worst of the weather and was seventh in the Under 23 women’s discus with 44.45m, well below the 52.30m form of last summer that earned her fifth place among senior women in the Power of 10 rankings devised by UK Athletics and its governing partners to inspire improvement in every event in every age group in every region on the way to London 2012. Nadine Muller (Germany) won with 60.35m.


Susan McKelvie (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) had to cope with an extremely slippery throwing circle and was ninth in the Under 23 women’s hammer with 56.82m, some five and a half metres below the form that earned her sixth place in the Power of 10 senior rankings last year. Maryia Smalyachkova (Belarus) won with 66.78m.


Of the overall GB efforts, Hill said: “It’s very early season. They have not done much competing yet. But Goldie’s was a very commendable result; she will be looking at 60 metres as her base mark for the rest of this year. Frosty did all right, as well. And with another couple of throws, I reckon Carys would have been looking at a new Welsh record.


“They are off and running. Now we’ll see how they progress through the season.”