11th July 2009
TWO GOLDS FOR AVIVA GB&NI
11 July 2009
On the penultimate day of competition at the World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, Ben Williams and Katarina Thompson produced two gold medals for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team.
Williams (City of Stoke) competed in the final of the triple jump in fantastic form winning the competition with a personal best of 15.91m on his second attempt. After his best he also recorded leaps of 15.88m (0.7 m/s) and 14.34m (1.2 m/s).
He said: “I can’t explain it; to be world youth champion is amazing. The no-jump didn’t make me nervous, it did the exact opposite, it steered me on. I wasn’t bothered about the distance I just wanted the medal.
“I don’t usually get nervous but the nerves were kicking in so it would have been really great to have my dad here in the crowd. I’m going to go back to the UK and work really hard, I want this to carry on, and this is what I want to do. I’m world youth champion 2009, I want to be Olympic champion 2016.”
Thompson (Liverpool Harriers) succeeded on her two day long medal quest; winning the heptathlon with a world leading points total of 5750 and setting five personal bests from seven events along the way.
She set yet another personal best in the javelin. Her third throw of 33.77m earned ninth place and kept her in first place on the overall leaderboard. She then confirmed the gold medal by crossing the line in second in her 800m heat with 2:20.12, the last event of the competition.
She said: “It’s amazing, it hasn’t sunk in yet. This week has been the best experience of my life so far. My mum was crying when I saw her in the stands. The victory lap was amazing, everyone was cheering. During these two days every event has been amazing.
“I was too tired to do the victory lap after! I felt nervous coming into that event, I’m sure you could see it on the last lap.”
Louise Small (AFD) had a remarkable race in the final of the 1500m. She was in twelfth place until the last lap, with a large gap between her and the rest of the field, and then at the bell she began to quicken her pace as the others began to tire.
The mature and daring tactic paid off as she moved from twelfth to fifth place in the last 400m.
She said: “I knew they were going to go off too quick and come back to me so me and my coach Mick Woods talked about it and had a plan. I was thinking, don’t panic, don’t panic. I was just going for it. I’m so happy. I’ve really been practising my race tactics and it paid off today.
“I picked off the first few and then I thought ‘come on I can get some more.’ I just wanted to do well for my coach and make everyone at home proud. I was one second off my personal best.”
In the 200m, semi-finalists Shaunna Thompson (Sale) and 100m World Youth gold medallist Jodie Williams (Herts Phoenix) progressed through to the final from tough semi-final draws.
Williams won her race with a group leading time of 23.44 (1.1 m/s), while Thompson finished third in hers, qualifying with a fastest loser time of 24.05 (0.8 m/s).
Williams said: “I feel good, I felt quite strong. I eased off at the last 10m or so, so I think I can go faster in the final. The week’s definitely taking its toll. My legs are aching and I’m very tired but I put that to the back of my mind to focus on the race.
“In the end you’ve got to do it, but the more you enjoy it the more better you’ll run. My parents are here, they’ve been great support along with my coach, I don’t think I’d be able to do it without him. I’m going to physiotherapy now for an ice bath to get my legs drained, then sleep ready for tomorrow. I feel confident going into tomorrow but not over confident. You never know what’s going to happen.”
In the boy’s 200m semi-final Sam Watts (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) recorded a personal best time of 21.50m (0.6 m/s), pushed all the way to the line for a photo finish with Johannes De Klerk (RSA). Watts came out on top, grabbing third and a place in the final as a fastest loser.
“I still feel there’s a lot more to come really. I’m pleased with the personal best but I know there’s so much more. I was pretty nervous going into it but it’s been good watching everyone else run, that’s made me want to get out there.”
For full results visit- www.iaaf.org
More from World Youth Championships visit – www.uka.org.uk