26th June 2014

Gb & Ni Fifth At European Team Championships In Germany

The GB & NI squad performed solidly at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig, Germany, over the weekend 21/22 June, finishing fifth overall with 281.5 points in a competition won for the second time by hosts Germany with 371 points.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s only victory at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig came at the end of day one as the men’s 4x100m quartet produced victory in an eye-catching time of 38.51.

The foursome of Richard Kilty (coach: Rana Reider), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider), James Ellington (Reider) and Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) were also just outside the event record of 38.39.

After a solid first leg, Richard Kilty commented: “This is a solid team and this is hopefully a team that will push for the British record”.

Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) finished second to Jimmy Vicaut from France, who drove to victory in 10.03 with Talbot a clear second in 10.30, securing eleven points.

He said afterwards that “everything is aimed at the Sainsbury’s British Championships next week. Hopefully we can go out there and put on a show for the fans. I’m expecting quick times in the 100 and 200 for everyone,” added Talbot, who is the top-ranked 200m runner domestically in 2014 with a 20.36 clocking.

Last year’s winner Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) was hoping to claim a full quota of points in the 400m hurdles again but Ukraine’s Hanna Ryzhykova had the better momentum coming off the final hurdle, and overturned last year’s result to win in 55.00 to Child’s 55.36.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford was slightly disappointed not to claim maximum points in the long jump. The British record-holder had to settle for second with 7.99m behind the German Christian Reif, who received one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon after taking the lead with 8.13m. “I came here to win maximum points for the team so it’s still a disappointment in that way,” said Rutherford.

Former decathlete Daniel Awde (Chris Zah) finished third in the 400m from the outside lane in 46.10 but he didn’t view his draw as a handicap. “I enjoy outside lanes – I actually run worse inside” he said post-race. Rick Yates (Stephen Ball) also performed up to par in the 400m hurdles, finishing third in 50.11.

The women’s sprint relay quartet of Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker), Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider), Hayley Jones (Donald Moss) and Louise Bloor (Toni Minichiello) finished fifth overall in 43.66.

The best performance in the middle-distance events came from Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg), who ran a positive race to finish fifth in the 1500m in 3:38.63. Afterwards he admitted he ran out of steam a little after attacking down the back straight on the last lap.

One of the most promising performances came from Nick Miller (John Baumann) in the hammer, who was making his debut in a senior GB vest. He came within one metre of his PB, finishing fifth with 73.56m. Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) who was also wearing a GB senior vest for the first time, finished equal fifth in the high jump with 2.19m.

At the end of day one, the young and developing GB & NI team were placed in fourth-place overnight with 158.5 points, and just 2.5 points adrift of France in third and behind hosts Germany (188) and Russia (192).

On day two, William Sharman (coach: Jerzy Maciukiewicz), renowned for his reliability at the championships, solidified this reputation with a runner-up finish in the 110m hurdles in a lifetime best of 13.21. This performance moves him to third on the UK all-time lists behind Colin Jackson and Tony Jarrett. Sharman, whose time was the fastest by a Brit since 2002, just missed out on the second GB & NI victory of the weekend by 0.01 as Sergey Shubenkov from Russia beat him in a dip-finish, but he did take the scalp of world-leader and pre-race favourite Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.

Big points were also scored by James Ellington (Rana Reider), who was third in the 200m. He had a slight stumble out of the blocks, but he recovered to run a typically proficient bend.

Anyika Onuora (Reider) set the tone in the 200m as she also finished third in her specialist event in 23.24 behind the multi-talented Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands in 22.74.

A women’s 4x400m squad with an average age of 21 comprised of Laura Wake (Nick Dakin), Emily Diamond (Dan Cossins), Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) and Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker), who ran an estimated 51.5 anchor leg, finished fourth in 3:28.91. The men’s quartet replicated this performance as Andrew Steele (Chris Zah), Rory Evans, Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) and Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt) came home in 3:03.44.

Team captain Hannah England (Bud Buldaro) was in a good position at the bell in a tactical 1500m but the former world silver medallist just faded a little in the final strides. She finished in fifth in 4:16.88 in a race won by Abeba Aregawi from Sweden in 4:14.20 with a 58.48 last lap.

England’s husband Luke Gunn (Baldaro) was projected to finish ninth but he performed above expectations, finishing fifth in 8:36.45.

The middle and long-distance runners largely surpassed predictions on the second day. Beth Potter (Mick Woods) was drafted into the team on the eve of the championships and the 22-year-old proved a commendable deputy. Projected to finish ninth, she finished fifth in the 5000m with the second fastest time of her career of 15:42.22 on her senior GB & NI debut.

Likewise, Jonny Mellor (Steve Vernon) wasn’t expected to finish in fourth in the 3000m but a committed run was rewarded with one of the fastest times of his career of 7:52.47.

Elsewhere, Brett Morse finished eighth in the discus with 60.01m; Lee Doran (Chris Watts) finished ninth in the javelin in 71.29m; Jazmin Sawyers also finished ninth in the long jump with 6.27m; Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) took eleventh in the high jump with 1.83m; and Rachel Wallader (Geoff Capes) was 12th in the shot put with 15.56m.

Full results can be found here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-team-championships/2014/schedules-results/