5th July 2022
AKINBILEJE SET EURO U18 LEAD AND HENRICH RUNS PB AT EUROPEAN U18 CHAMPS ON DAY TWO
The morning session on day two at the European Athletics U18 Championships brought more personal bests and a European U18 lead as all Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes progressed through their respective events.
In the 200m, Faith Akinbileje (John Blackie, Blackheath & Bromley) qualified for tomorrow’s 200m final with a personal best and European U18 leading time of 23.44 (+1.6).
Akinbileje said post-race: “I was shaking so much in the blocks. There was a lot of positive self-talk during the warm-up, but I just had to be careful not to burn myself out for the final. Once out of the blocks, the bend is the strongest part of my race so I knew I had to work hard on that, and I could relax down the home straight.
Charlotte Henrich (Carlo Monticolombi, Invicta East Kent) and Etty Sisson (Grant Barker, Charnwood) both progressed through their 400m semi-finals and into tomorrow’s final.
Henrich, who qualified through Monday’s heats as the fastest qualifier with a personal best, ran another personal best time of 53.81 to finish second in semi-final one.
Speaking after the race Henrich said: “That was hard. I got to 200m and thought ‘I’ve gone too fast’ and the final 100m was torture. Coming into the champs I always hoped to run a personal best, but I never expected to run under 54 and certainly didn’t think I would make the final. Now I am there, I feel really tired, but amazing!”
Sisson claimed the third automatic qualification spot in the second semi-final running 54.57. Reflecting on the race she said: “It feels good to make the final, coming into the champs it was my goal. The final 100m was tough, I could feel yesterday’s race in my legs quite early on, so I am so happy to have made it through.”
Stephanie Okoro (Tony Benton, Havering) and Ophelia Pye (David Hemery, Marlborough Athletics) both took commanding victories in the 400m hurdles heats.
Okoro recorded a time of 59.83 to win heat two whilst Pye ran a personal best time of 58.91 to win heat four and progress to the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier.
Okoro said post-race: “I tried to keep 16 strides from the start and just keep it fluid as I came off the last few hurdles. I think I could have executed a little better – I wasn’t as fluid over the hurdles, but there is time to improve on that.”
Following her personal best performance Pye said: “My main focus was to relax, particularly down the back straight and not to set off too fast, which I think I managed to do.”
Luke Birdseye (Shireen Higgins, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) and Oliver Patton (Robert Hawkins, Kilbarchan) both booked their places in the 2000m steeplechase final in the opening event of the session. Birdseye finished inside the top five to qualify automatically from heat one with a time of 5:58.85, whilst Patton ran 5:57.83 in a much quicker second heat to claim the first fastest non-automatic qualifier spots.
Birdseye commented after the race: “I’m pretty happy with that, I think there is more time there for sure come the final. With 2 laps to go, I could see we were clear of the second group so I could afford to control my effort and save myself for the final.
Patton added: “I felt good, I knew what time I had to run to qualify so I kept calm and made it through. It’s all about resting up now and coming back strong for the final.”
In the boys 200m Dean Patterson (Norrie Hay, Glasgow School of Sport) and Jamie Carrott (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) both won their respective heats to qualify for tomorrow’s semi-final. Patterson ran 21.25 (+2.6) whilst Carrott ran 21.36 (+2.3).
Patterson said after the race: “I felt good, I got out hard and just focused on holding my form. It was tough in that heat, but I’m happy to make it through and the focus now switches to the semi-final and final tomorrow.”
Carrott added: “I got out well and controlled it at the end. I’m taking each round as it comes and doing enough to progress until the final.”
As the heptathlon enters its second day, Seren Rodgers (Steve Shaw, Taunton) continued to set personal bests as she leapt to 5.92m (+0.3) in her opening attempt in the long jump for 825 points whilst in the javelin she recorded another personal best of 36.43m for 599 points to leave her in seventh position on 4564 points with just the 800m to come this evening.
Kai Barham (Paul Head, Dartford Harriers) qualified for tomorrow’s hammer final. Throwing in Pool B, Barham overcame some tricky conditions to throw 64.74m to finish third in his pool and qualify in eighth place for the final.
Speaking after the competition, Barham said: “The first two rounds did not go to plan, I was too slow and too lethargic, but in the third round I got myself under control, stayed calm and threw pretty well. I had to adapt the way I throw to overcome the heat and the circle itself, which did catch some people out, and I think that is what ultimately saw me through.”
Also in the field, Isaac Delaney (Michael Kiley, Preston) threw 18.25m for a place in tomorrow’s final.
He added, “That is the hottest conditions I have ever thrown in and it did affect my grip into my neck. I did find the shot was slipping during warm-up and the opening rounds. I was able to adapt as the competition progressed and I got better as I got used to the conditions. I feel there are bigger throws in there tomorrow as today certainly wasn’t the prettiest across the board, but qualifying 4th today gives me great confidence heading into the final.”
This evening will see the first medals of the championships awarded as the sprint hurdlers and 100m sprinters return for their semi-finals and final.
In the field, Libby White (David Watson, Ayr Seaforth) will jump in the triple jump final whilst Paige Stevens (Alison Grey, Falkirk) and Cleo Agyepong (John Hillier, Blackheath & Bromley) will throw in the shot put final.
The heptathlon will come to an end as Seren Rodgers (Steve Shaw, Taunton) competes in the final event, the 800m.
The boys 3000m final brings the session to a close with James Knockton (Richard Goddard, Trafford) and Edward Bird (Mark Pauley, Poole AC).
A live stream and live results will be available on the European Athletics website.