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UK Athletics

Okoro’s sparkling win in Hengelo

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Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) highlighted a successful night for UK athletes at the Thales FBK-Games in Hengelo on Saturday 26 May.


She opened her summer’s racing with an enthralling 800m victory in 2:00.70 – with Jenny Meadows (Wigan Harriers) third in 2:00.96 – to suggest that the standards will be as high as last year, when a record number of five UK women went under 2 minutes.


Okoro, who began last summer with 2:03.90 and lowered her best to 1:59.75 at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, said after holding off Lucia Klocova (Slovakia) by 16-hundredths of a second: "We've got some of the best 800m girls in the world and it is going to be hard to get picked for the World Championships in August. So it was great to win here and it is a boost to my confidence – but I'm not going to let my head get in the clouds. There's a long way to go and I'm sure given after this run, my times will get faster. I've got the motivation and had a great winter's training. Now I just have to concentrate on maintaining this kind of form."


Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva Harriers) clinched third place in 10.25 seconds in his opening 100m race of the season, four-hundredths quicker than his first effort of last summer. Churandy Martina won in 10.14, eight-hundredths ahead of the Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford (USA).


"I'll take that,” said Devonish after finishing three-hundredths ahead of Xavier Carter (USA). “It was a loaded race and I came through strongly at the end despite being in lane nine. If I had been in the middle, who knows what might have happened. I've started the season possibly quicker than before. Now I hope it continues. I've trained hard throughout the winter and having beaten some good men out there, it's good news for me."


Andy Turner (Sale Harriers Manchester) finished third in the 110m hurdles and equalled his early season’s best of 13.47 seconds despite hitting too many barriers for his liking.


"I'm really angry about that,” said Turner after losing ground in the closing stages to Ryan Wilson (USA), who won in 13.33 and Greg Sedoc (Netherlands), who was second in 13.37. “I felt I was in shape to smash my personal best. Once I sort out my hurdling I'm sure the PB will come."


Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier) finished eighth in 13.85 to become the third UK hurdler this summer – behind Turner and European Under 23 champion David Hughes – to go under the Power of 10 national standard of 13.98 this season.


Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) went under the Power of 10 national standard for the women’s 100m, clocking 11.44 seconds for fourth place in a race won by World Indoor 60m champion Me'Lisa Barber (USA) in 11.35. Jeanette Kwakye (also Woodford) was fifth in 11.49.


Sarah Claxton (Belgrave Harriers) and Gemma Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) both beat the Power of 10 national standard for the women’s 100m hurdles (wind: +0.1) of 13.58. Claxton clocked 13.34 for seventh place and Bennett 13.41 for eighth. Nichole Denby (USA) won easily in 12.88.


Three talented young athletes on Dame Kelly Holmes’ “On Camp with Kelly” mentoring programme, supported by Norwich Union, got a taste of the Grand Prix atmosphere by competing in Hengelo, which will stage the European Junior Championships on 19-22 July.


Alison Leonard (Blackburn Harriers) and Danielle Christmas (Crawley AC) were second and third in the 800m, which was won by Machteld Mulder (Netherlands) in 2:07.13. Leonard clocked 2:07.62 and Christmas 2:08.05.


Non Stanford (Swansea Harriers) was fourth in the 1500m 4:32.00. Winner Selma Borst (Netherlands) clocked 4:27.25.


For the full results from Hengelo, please click here