22 July 2011
World Junior Champion Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) clocked a hugely impressive new lifetime best and Championship Record of 11.18 (+0.5m/s) to win 100m gold at the European Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia (21-24 July) this evening.
In a brilliant period of sprinting success for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team, her title winning performance - which ranks her fourth fastest under-20 in the world this year - added to the achievements of Adam Gemili (coach: John Blackie) and David Bolarinwa (coach: John Powell) who finished second and third respectively in the men’s 100m just ten minutes earlier.
“I’ve been training better than last year and my times in training have been better than last year so I knew I had 11.1 in me,” said European leader Williams, when questioned about her comparatively slower - up to now - times this season, “I’ve just not had the right conditions until today.”
“These girls are so talented and they’ve been running good times this season so it wasn’t even a given that I’d medal, but I performed on the day and I’m over the moon...I had hoped today would be the day for a PB, so I’m really happy.”
Marilyn Nwawulor (coach: Harry King) finished eighth in 11.73, admitting she found it hard to re-focus following the initial faulty start and didn’t get out well.
And while Gemili (10.41/+0.3m/s) and Bolarinwa (10.46) were also delighted to medal, they, along with their team mate Sam Watts (coach: Gladys Bird) in fifth (10.61), were more excited about their prospects in the 4 x 100m.
“I had a really bad start and I was playing catch up the whole way,” said Gemili, a semi-professional footballer with Dagenham & Redbridge, “but I’m happy and I’ll continue with both athletics and football for now.”
2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Bolarinwa is now looking ahead to the 200m: “That was the fastest race I’ve ever been in,” he said, crediting the awesome PB run of gold medallist Jimmy Vicaut of France (10.07), “but now I’ve got to think about my 200m tomorrow.”
It was a highly credible performance by Watts, too, in what is arguably only his second-best event: “I had great fun out there.” he said, “It was so much fun to be part of that. Just getting to the final was great for me and it’s amazing really; I haven’t trained this year for the 100m at all so to come fifth is just brilliant.”
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) smashed her lifetime best when finishing sixth in the Heptathlon with 5787 points but was disappointed not to hit her 6000 point target in spite of a series of credible performances.
“Firstly I’d like to thank the medical team who really helped me in the heat,” she said following her 2:19.03 800m (837 points). “I’m happy with the 800m but my long jump really let me down. 6000 points wasn’t to be this time, but I’m going to come back stronger.”
She had earlier recorded 35.11m (574 points) in the javelin, event six of her seven-event programme, to fall into sixth position after going into the mid-session break in third, but across two days of competition she achieved two PBs in the high jump (1.84m) and 200m (24.25/-0.4m/s) plus an outdoor 800m best, which offers a good point from which to progress.
Katie Kirk (coach: Mark Kirk) and Lucy James (coach: Nick Dakin) finished outside the medals in fifth (54:36) and seventh (55.18) respectively in the women’s 400m, while in the men’s 400m Jarryd Dunn (coach: Keith Holt) finished eighth - a significant jump from his 15th ranked position coming into the Championships - in 47.56.
“Making the final was more than I expected,” said the Birchfield Harrier. “To make it to the top eight in Europe and to PB while I’m out here is great - last year I wasn’t even ranked in the top five in the UK.”
There were only two field event finals featuring Aviva GB & NI athletes on day two.
Chicago-based James McLachlan (coach: Denis Costello) paid the price for a long season but still delivered a credible 7.42m (+1.5m/s) performance to finish tenth in the long jump, while English Schools’ champion Ahtollah Rose (coach: Keith Hunter) recorded a best distance of 12.43m (+0.1m/s) with her opening effort to finish 12th in the triple jump.
“I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been out here and I’ll definitely build on that,” said Scottish Championships silver medallist McLachlan. “I think today’s performance was a combination of not jumping technically well and just not having enough in the legs; I thought I could handle the extended season but it’s obviously caught up with me.”
In the only qualifying event of the afternoon, Andy Pozzi (coach: Malcolm Arnold) and Jack Meredith (coach: Donald Moss) were once again outstanding with victories in their respective 110mH semi finals in 13.70 (-1.6m/s) and 13.68 (-2.5m/s), but Ben Kelk (coach: Bob Smith) missed out after finishing fifth in 13.99 (-1.0m/s).
“I got out well even though I had a shaky first hurdle,” admitted Meredith, who clocked the second fastest time overall in the second round behind Germany’s Dario Seghers (13.67/-1.0m/s). “It’s a quick track and that first hurdle comes up on your really quickly so I gave it a bit of a clatter, but I recovered well and the last few hurdles were clean so I was able to ease down into the finish.”
UK junior record holder Pozzi, with the third fastest clocking of the session, was also content with his performance: “I didn’t get a great start and I hit a few hurdles early on, but I held it together and once I got moving properly I found my rhythm, so I’m really happy with that.”
The European Junior Championships will be shown daily on Eurosport - 11:30-12:30 tomorrow - 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