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European Indoors Report

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Mo Farah in Turin
Farah - safely through in first session


06 March 2009

The name of the game was “qualification” on the first morning of competition at the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Italy on Friday. The Aviva GB & NI team were put through their paces in the 60m hurdles, 400m and men’s 3000m heats with a view to progressing further in this winter’s premier track and field championship.

 The men’s and women’s sprint hurdlers opened the GB & NI account in the Oval Lingotto stadium, Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), Andy Turner (Sale Harriers) and Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) all progressing automatically to the semi-finals.

Scott finished second in heat 1, crossing the line in 7.75, while Turner took third in heat 4 to qualify in 7.73. Claxton qualified comfortably from her heat storming home in second place with a season’s best time of 8.07.

Gemma Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) floundered in her heat. A below par performance saw her hit a couple of hurdles, stumble in between and lose her stride pattern, which resulted in a fifth place finish with 8.75 and a frustrating end to her European Indoors campaign.

 She said: “I don’t know what happened out there, I hit every hurdle and you just can’t do that. I’m very disappointed.”

In the women’s 400m heats, veteran Donna Fraser (Croydon Harriers) continued her superb 2009 indoor season finishing in second place, claiming a ticket to the semi-final. Her spidery legs powering home in 53.06.

Richard Buck (City of York) and Nicky Leavey (Thames Valley Harriers) will both compete in the semi-finals later this afternoon after qualifying from the men’s 400m heats.

Leavey sat on the shoulder of leader and eventual winner Galvan Matteo of Italy throughout the race, claiming second in 47.19. Buck led his heat from the gun only relaxing with 40m to go to settle for second behind winner Ioan Vieru (Romania) in 47.04.

Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers) finished fourth in the first heat of the men’s 3000m grasping an automatic qualification. His 7:53.35 effort was the result of a fast paced race in which himself and fellow Brit Mark Draper (Bedford & County) lead the pack for much of the 15 laps.

Draper crossed the line in fifth, qualifying with a fastest loser place following the outcome of the slower second heat, with a new personal best of 7:53.91.

Draper said: “I’m fairly pleased with that. The four that I thought would be there, on was slightly different, he didn’t have a personal best down on the sheet so I didn’t know how good he was. I was just found wanting a bit in the last 150m. They had a little bit extra whereas I didn’t. It was a quick heat though and it was a personal best so hopefully I’ll get into that final.”

After stalling at the gun and stumbling on his first lap, British 3000m record holder Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) was forced to make his way back into a contention in the second heat of the men’s 3000m. He found form during the next few laps and with seven to go he was leading. His eventual placing was third with a time of 8:03.26.