21st June 2015

GB & NI Finish Fifth In Cheboksary

21st June 2015


After two days of competition Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished the European Team Championships in Cheboksary in fifth position on 291 points, with home side Russia claiming the title.  But, from a British point of view, performance of the day went to Rhianwedd Price (coach: Houston Franks) in the 1500m, whilst Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) and Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson)  both achieved season’s bests and World Championship qualifiers.

Price finished the race in third position, but it was the way in which she refused to let others past time and time again until succumbing on the final bend which stood out. “That’s what we’ve always been told at my university – don’t you dare let anyone out-tough you – so I had to give it my all; all the way” said the GB & NI debutant.


Adding: ”If you want those points you have to go for it as much as you can. This was a little bit above my expectations, I didn’t mind as long as I was at least in the middle so coming third was great.  I’m very happy. It’s been awesome, I was nervous coming out and now I’m feeling more confident here.”


There was a season’s best and World Championship qualifying height from Isobel Pooley out in the field.  But ever the competitor, Pooley wanted more “It wasn’t my best to be fair, but I got the 94 which was important. I’d like to have seen what would have happened with 1.97m if I’d had a further two jumps, because the first one was an attempt at a PB and as attempts at PBs go, it was pretty damn good.”


Also securing a World Championship qualifier with a season’s best was Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson) in the Hammer.  Finishing in fifth place and claiming 8 team points, Hitchon, who is coming back into form after a hard 2014 season, said “I feel really pleased to throw a season’s best and to throw 70m again and another world champs qualifier, but I feel like I definitely had more in me, I missed it a little bit and you only get three rounds so you have to bring it.


“I’d have liked that 4th throw to push it out further. But I am building towards the end of the season and  World championships in Beijing hopefully – that’s the main goal.


“Last year was terrible – it was one of those rough years that I think every athlete has, I like to try take the positive and learn from what I didn’t do and move forward. Throwing that today has given me a little bit more confidence.”


There were also impressive second place finishes is both the men’s and women’s 200m for Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins), who won his heat, and Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) – who stepped in as a late replacement for the sick Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie).


Talbot said of his heat victory “I’m very pleased with it – it wasn’t the best of conditions and I think that’s reflected in all the times here. Many people are down on what they’ve been running earlier in the year so the main thing was to just get the points. And I was able to do that.”


Looking towards the British Championships in Birmingham he added “I want to go to the championships in Birmingham and defend my title – it’s the second most important race for me of the year after the world championships, so I want to go there hopefully, defend that title and just get my place in the team.”


With Asher-Smith laid up with a stomach bug, Williams stepped up to run the individual 200m and said “I wanted to win but I lost my focus a little bit when the starter held us in ‘set’ for quite a while. But to come in here and come second I’m pleased, I only got told at 12 o clock I was racing! I said ‘Dina are you sure you can’t run?!’


I like stepping in for someone it’s nice – I’m here for the team. I was sleeping, so my roommate Asha opened the door, and Dina came in and she said ‘I don’t really feel well are you able to step in for me’“


Elsewhere Andrew Butchard (Derek Easton) was third in the men’s 3000m (8:35.75), as was Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) in a very competitive men’s 110m hurdles, clocking 13.64.  “On paper I was ranked fifth or sixth so I’m very pleased to be third and get the points for Britain today – third behind the World number one and the two time European Champion” said Clarke.


Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) was 8th in the women’s 100m hurdles (13.54), after hitting a hurdle mid race whilst leading.  Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) finished in 6th place in the long jump after leaping 6.39m.  Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) was 11th in men’s 3000m steeplechase – 8.56.57.  Lily Partridge (Mick Woods) clocked 16.42.61 to finish 8th in the women’s 5000m. Jax Thoirs (Pat Licari) jumped 5.30m for 10th in the Men’s pole vault. 


Long jumper Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh) helped the team out and stepped into the triple jump, securing a PB of 15.92m for 11th place.  Guy Learmonth (Rob Denmark) was 9th in the men’s 800m – 1:47.84. Rachel Wallader (self-coached) threw 15.50m to come 10th in the shot put.  Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) took 8th position in the men’s discus with 55.42m whilst debutant Bonne Buwembo (Mike McNeill) threw the javelin 67.51m for 11th place.


In the final events of the day the women’s 4x400m team – Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) , Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin), Laura Maddox (Colin Bovell) and Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) – clocked 3.30.01 to finish sixth overall.


The men’s team were narrowly beaten into second place by the French squad who won in a Championship Record of 3.00.47, with Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams), Delano Williams (Neil Harrison) , Conrad Williams (Christie) and Richard Buck (Dakin) clocking 3.00.54.