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UK Athletics

12th IAAF World Indoor Championships

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3 March 2008 


Day 1- Afternoon Session


Silver medals and world-class performances from Kelly Sotherton, Jeanette Kwakye and Dwain Chambers, on the first day of competition in Valencia, confirmed British athletics is an increasingly exciting place to be for Beijing and beyond.


Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) secured her status as one of Britain’s top athletes winning a silver medal with an outstanding performance in the pentathlon finishing with 4852pts.


Sotherton started her afternoon well with a personal best of 14.54m in the shot put with her second throw. She then showed true grit and determination in the long jump by achieving a season’s best of 6.45m on her last attempt after two no-jumps.


The Olympic bronze medallist ended a great day of competition with an inspiring run in the 800m, achieving a new personal best of 2:09:95, placing second behind Karoline Tyminska of Poland.


She said: "I'm really disappointed with myself. I had some great events but my high jump let me down but i know why, and that is the important thing because ill work on that.

"Of course I would have loved the gold but the summer is the most important thing. I am getting stronger and stronger and everyone can see that."


Jeanette Kwakye (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) ran a blistering national record to win silver in 7.08. She flew out of the blocks and was neck and neck with victor Angela Williams, USA.


As both athletes dipped for the finish the American just edged it by .02 seconds. Kwakye had been in fine form all day and equalled the British record in her semi-final.  


She smashed her own record in the final, claiming Britain’s first medal of the championships.


After the race she said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic! I’ve got my mum, brother and sister here, I can’t put it into words.


“I can’t complain about getting silver. To be in that calibre of race, where the top three are all running under 7.10 it’s brilliant.”


UK Athletics Chief Executive Niels de Vos said: “What an amazing performance from Jeanette to bring in Britain's first medal of the Championships with a silver and a new British record. Then Kelly followed with another silver showing again what an outstanding world class athlete she is.


"Both women have got their Olympic campaigns off to a fantastic start with today's results. Congratulations to Kelly and Jeanette and their support teams.”


Laura Turner (Harrow AC) missed out on the final after coming fourth in the third and final semi-final in a season’s best 7.28.


Turner said: “I’m really disappointed but I got a season’s best and have to remember that my bigger goal is Beijing.”


Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers) claimed silver in an extremely tight, high calibre 60m final which pushed him to smash his personal best running 6.54 and also produced a new world leading time of 6.51 from winner Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria. Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers) finished in seventh place with 6.63. 


He said: "I'm very pleased as it was a very tough line-up and a very tough race. I am pleased to be able to compete agaisnt these guys and I wish them luck for the summer. It means everything to me, I can feel good about myself."


UK Athletics Chief Executive Niels de Vos added: “This is obviously a spectacular personal success for Dwain which has shown that he is one of the most naturally gifted sprinters in the world. His success and his welcome public commitment to drug free sport does not alter our commitment to review our policy towards athletes returning from a drugs ban, in line with the changing policies of others within the world of athletics.”


Jenny Meadows (Wigan AC) cruised into the semi-final of the 800m by finishing second in her heat in a fast 2:00.60. Meadows never looked in trouble as she ran a sound tactical race.


Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury) failed to progress through the rounds by missing out on a fastest losers spot when she finished third in the penultimate heat with a time of 2:05.09.


Richard Hill (Notts AC) battled down the home straight to finish third in his heat and earned a well deserved fastest loser place into the semi-final of the 800m in 1:49.06.


Damien Moss (Rugby & Northampton) missed out on proceeding to tomorrow’s semi-final, coming fourth in Heat 3 with a time of 1:51.39. Moss had a strong run but missed out on a fast last lap of a slow race.


Phillips Idowu (Belgrave Harriers) qualified for the triple jump final on his second attempt with a leap of 17.05m. Free from injury and in fine form he will now look for a medal on Sunday. 


Richard Buck (City of York) progresses to the next stage of the 400m competition placing second with a strong run of 47.45 in a slow heat. Steve Green (Newham & Essex Beagles) finished in fourth place of a very fast second heat, with a time of 47.44 but it wasn’t enough to take him through.


Michael East (Newham & Essex Beagles) finished in fourth place in the first of the 1500m heats but failed to qualify for the next stage of competition as a fastest loser. After finding himself towards the back of the pack he made up ground on the last lap, passing two athletes on the home straight to cross the line with a time of 3.41.68.


He said: “I didn’t come to a major championship just for the hell of it, I wanted to be competitive. Since I have been away injured the standard has got tougher and tougher and I am playing catch up in many ways.


James McIlroy (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) pulled out of the 1500m with only one lap to go in a disappointing end to his World Indoor’s campaign.


The three medals on the first day of competition helped the Norwich Union GB&NI team finish the day in fourth place on the leader board.