15 July 2011
World Junior Champion Sophie Hitchon (coach: Derek Evely) made light work of her hammer qualification on day two of the European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic (14-17 July), but needed two throws to secure her automatic progression to tomorrow’s final.
“It was such a relief, that first no-throw is just what you don’t want to happen,” said UK record holder Hitchon who recorded 66.02m in the second round. “My warm up went well and I’ve been throwing well, so qualification wasn’t stressing me out, but it’s just not normal; getting to the final is the hardest part, but once you’re there it’s a normal competition.”
It was also a straightforward effort for World Junior pole vault bronze medallist Holly Bleasdale (coach: Julien Raffalli) who cruised through to Sunday’s final with first time clearances from 4.05m through to 4.15m.
“I wish the final was now, or even tomorrow, I felt amazing and I want to keep going,” said the European leading athlete and UK record holder with a best of 4.70m. “I was off 12 strides rather than 16 today which helped me conserve some energy and my target is 4.71m in the final.”
And while that mark would be significant in its own right, but it would also erase the existing height of 4.65m set by World Record holder Yelena Isinbayeva eight years ago.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Lawrence Clarke (coach: Malcolm Arnold) made an equally effortless progression in the men’s 110mH, taking victory in heat one in 13.73 (-0.3m/s), the fastest-equal time of the morning with Russia’s Aleksey Dryomin.
“That went better than expected!” said the 2009 European Junior Champion. “I felt nice and relaxed which is good, and to clock 13.73 in the rain, I’m really pleased.”
Unfortunately David Smith (coach: Ken Allan), who was making his Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland debut, was unable to re-create the high jump form which saw him record a lifetime best height of 2.22m in the Trials; he went out of the competition with a best clearance of 2.08m, which wasn’t good enough to progress to the final.
“I had a good warm up and I drilled well but I just didn’t execute out there like I know I can,” said the 20-year old who still has one more Championship opportunity in this age group. “It was a new experience and I guess I just wasn’t used to it. I tensed up and I over-thought things, but I’ve learned a lot.”
The European Under-23 Championships will be shown daily on Eurosport - 09.00-11.30 UK time and 16.45-18.55 today - in addition to being streamed live by European Athletics with English language commentary through their website at www.european-athletics.org.
Live streaming will also be available with Czech commentary through: www.sportzive.cz
Daily session reports will be published on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk