21 July 2011
There were no major shocks on the first morning of the 21st European Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia (21-24 July) with a 100% qualification record for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes in action and two solid performances from 2009 IAAF World Youth Champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) in the Heptathlon.
England Athletics under-20 Combined Events champion Johnson-Thompson opened her seven-event account with 14.01 (+0.3m/s) for 977 points in the women’s 100mH and was clearly disappointed not to dip under the 14 second barrier, but she returned to form in style with a career best height of 1.84m (1029 points) in the high jump to go into the mid-session break as overall leader with 2006 points.
“I’m happy for now,” she admitted. “I was really anxious before the hurdles because this is my first major Championship in two years and I’ve got such high expectations. I didn’t achieve what I hoped there (in the hurdles), but I took my aggression out on the high jump and now I’ve that little yellow number!”
Jarryd Dunn (coach: Keith Holt) was also in PB form when finishing second in the first round of the men’s 400m; looking comfortable as he came off the final bend into the home straight, he eased down to record a lifetime best of 47.35 for an automatic qualifying spot.
“That’s the strongest part of my race (the finish) because of the strength I have as a former 800m runner,” said the UK Trials winner who has a half mile best of 1:52.19. “To run a PB is fantastic, but I knew I was in that shape, I think I’m in 46 shape, so bring on the semi final.”
In the women’s 100m, World Junior Champion Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) and Marilyn Nwawulor (coach: Harry King) progressed with ease through their first round heats.
Nwawulor, third in the Trials in Bedford in June, finished second in heat one with 11.81 (0.0m/s), while Williams clocked a winning time of 11.55 (-0.7m/s) in heat two.
“I don’t think my middle phase was too strong but it was decent overall,” said Nwawulor. “I came through well and it was a good qualifying performance, I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s semi final.”
Williams, who recorded the fastest mark overall in qualifying, added: “That was really good, I wanted to get out there and see how the track felt; conditions were perfect and I’m happy with the time.”
The European Junior Championships will be shown daily on Eurosport - 16:45-18:15 UK time today - in addition to being streamed live by European Athletics through their website at www.european-athletics.org.
Daily session reports will be published on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk