29th August 2011

Scorching Session For Aviva GB & NI


29 August 2011

Monday morning’s action from the Daegu Stadium saw more Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team members qualify from their opening rounds whilst Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichiello) and Louise Hazel (Aston Moore) started their World Championship heptathlon campaigns.

First up was the hurdles and the British girls had mixed fortunes with their first event. Lining up in the same heat, Ennis’ trademark winning start to heptathlon was prevented by USA’s Hyleas Fountain who won the race in 12.93 for 1135 points

Ennis however, hit the second hurdle and had to work hard to regain her rhythm but eventually worked her way through the field and just missed pipping Fountain with 12.94 – taking 1133 points.

Meanwhile Hazel was having her best ever start to a heptathlon with a clean race and a new personal best of 13.24 for 1089 points.

“I’ve been hitting hurdles left right and centre at the Birmingham Grand Prix and also at the trials so I wanted to get a clean race today. I knew I could run a personal best,” Hazel said.

“I would have loved to be quicker but I can’t argue with 13.24 – I would take that any day. I’m really happy with the way I have started.”

After the first event the GB girls were second and fifth in the overall standings.

Onto the high jump and Hazel continued her scintillating PB form with a lifetime best of 1.74m for 903 points. Ennis meanwhile kept the British supporters guessing as to her form with first time failures at 1.80m and 1.83m, but she then cleared  1.86m on her third attempt to keep the pressure on Fountain and Lithuanian Austre Skuyte.  With Fountain the only athlete to go to clear 1.89m, and Ennis collecting 1054 points for her high jump efforts she was just 35 points off the PB pace she set at Barcelona in 2010 following her opening two events.

It meant Ennis and Hazel finished the first morning session in second and sixteenth place respectively with 2187 and 1992 points – the leader after two events being Fountain on 2228.

Ennis reflected on her morning: “I was a bit disappointed with the height in the high jump – I would have liked to have got another one under my belt.”

In the men’s discus qualifying Abdul Buhari (Mark Wiseman), Brett Morse and Carl Myerscough had a tough couple of qualifying pools, but the Aviva GB & NI team will have a representative in the final.

Buhari was first up in qualifying pool A and struggled to make a mark on his world championship debut. He fouled his first throw and his second effort of 60.21m was down on his usual standard – his third and final throw of 58.37m leaving him in 13th in his qualifying pool. But on reflection he was confident he could improve on his World championship experience:

I’m a little bit disappointed, but technically it wasn’t bad,” he reflected.

“Overall I’m not too disappointed because if it was a technical issue it would be like I was overwhelmed. But I think it was just one of those days where I felt a bit flat.

“I’m pleased to come away with a 60m throw at a major championship. I can take away quite a bit and I just need to build on it.”

In the second pool Morse and Myerscough also had tough qualifying experiences with Morse having the better day at the office and managing to secure the Aviva GB & NI team a place in the final.

Whilst Myerscough’s best was a first round throw on 60.29m, Morse managed a second round 62.38m – which was enough to see him qualify for Tuesday night’s final in 12th position from the two pools.

Morse was elated: “The last round was horrible for me because I was the first to throw out of twelve so to watch after that was scary as there are a few guys out there with PBs better than me, I just couldn’t watch.

“I’m over the moon now that’s amazing. Before this I wanted to make the final, now I’m in the final I want top eight and if I get that who knows what can happen. I know if I can throw well I can make the top eight.”

Myerscough however was disappointed with his first major championship outing in the discus: “I thought I was doing my technique ok, it just wasn’t going far enough. It’s frustrating. I’m pleased to have made it to the World Championships in the discus because normally I do shot. I now have to go and make the decision whether I go back to shot.”

The morning also saw the 400m hurdles athletes take to the track and Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) , Jack Greene (Malcolm Arnold), Nathan Woodward (Nick Dakin), Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) and Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold)  were all in qualifying action.

In the first heat Dai Greene made a slow start and was behind for much of the race before turning up the pace over the final 80m and taking the win at the very last gasp, pipping South African Cornel Fredericks across the line in 48.52.

After – he explained the reasoning for his pedestrian first 300m:

“I felt I didn’t want to expend too much energy in the heats but I didn’t think I was going to be that fast,” he admitted.

“At the same time I felt very controlled out there. I didn’t go off too hard in the first 200m so I saved a lot for the end and I was pleased to get through.

“My preparation has been superb coming into the competition. I’m very confident and I feel on track to do myself justice.”

Training partner Jack Green had a tough draw in his heat, one lane inside USA’s former World Champion Bershawn Jackson. Yet the European under 23 champion ran a solid race leaving his best for the straight, and was well placed inside the top three.

However the tenth hurdle was almost his undoing as he clattered into it and was almost brought down, fortunately holding enough of his balance to finish the race and still remain inside the top four qualifying positions in 50.39.

"I felt really strong. I think my problem is I’m a little too quick for my own good! I kind of forgot there is a stride pattern to this race so I was running and that last hurdle came up far too quick and then I hit it,” he explained.

“Come the semi-final I’m going to get it fine and I’m going to run a quick time hopefully.”

Finally European U23 silver medallist Woodward lined up and ran a strong race to finish second in his heat in 49.06, and targeted a spot in the final as his aim for the week:

"I’m really pleased it was about getting through to the semi-finals today. I wanted to make it as easy as possible,” he said.

“It’s the most comfortable low 49 sec I have done and I’m feeling good.

"The semi-final is going to be completely different though – I’m going to have to run it like a final and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got to make it to the final."

In the women’s qualifying heats Shakes Drayton was in the third race along with USA’s Lashinda Demus, but focused on her own performance and qualified in second with 55.90.

As was the case with Barcelona in 2010 – Shakes Drayton had to put the difficult qualifying session conditions behind her:

“Yeah that was comfortable, but the heat is the one thing that’s the killer. You step on the track and you just start sweating, but I’m like ‘oh well get over that’,” she said.

“I’m happy I’m in the semi finals and I’ve got to concentrate on that really. I want to make it to the finals and I want a PB as well and I’ll be happy. I will treat every run as though it’s the final because everyone wants it.”

Child then followed suit and qualified strongly from a difficult lane one draw, finishing third in her heat in 56.18.

Child said:  “That was good, I knew it would be tough to try and qualify and I didn’t get a great lane in lane one so I thought I just better go for it.

“I was hurdling a little bit all over the place, I hit a couple of hurdles, which I don’t never really do, but I’m just so happy to have qualified for the semi.”

Both Shakes Drayton and Child will line up in Tuesday night’s semi finals.

World Championship action featuring Aviva GB & NI team members continues on Monday evening and includes Ennis’s third and fourth heptathlon disciplines the shot put and 200m, Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) lines up in the men’s 110m hurdles semi finals and Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) competing in the men’s pole vault final.

Aviva GB & NI medals so far:

Sunday 28 August        Mo Farah           Men’s 10,000m              Silver

UKA will provide daily news reports from the 2011 World Championships on www.uka.org.uk and quotes from Aviva GB & NI athletes as well as regular updates via twitter @uka_athletics and Facebook www.facebook.com/UKAofficial

For full results visit: http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/Home.aspx