23 July 2011
Both Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4 x 400m relay teams, in addition to the UK’s top ranked junior javelin thrower Freya Jones (coach: William Bushnell), made it through their respective qualification battles on the penultimate morning of action at the European Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia (21-24 July).
In a bizarre qualification process in the women’s relay, in which every team - with the exception of the Ukraine and Romania who were disqualified - progressed, Britain’s quartet of Zoey Clark (coach: Eddie McKenna), Lucy James (coach: Nick Dakin), Amelia Clifford (coach: Michael Coker) and Kirsten McAslan (coach: Trevor Painter) finished second in heat one in 3:39.67, the second fastest qualifying time overall, behind Germany with 3:39.19.
The men, George Caddick (coach: Dominic Tighe); Greg Louden (coach: Dave Finlayson); Dominic Smith (coach: Rodger Hughes) and David Lagerberg (coach: Phil Scott-Spencer), finished third in heat one in 3:11.94 behind winners Italy (3:09.82) and the Czech Republic (3:10.57). They go into tomorrow's final as only eighth quickest, but will take confidence in the knowledge that with one potential line up change, they can go much faster.
Also in qualification, Britain’s top ranked javelin trio were in action at the Kadriorg Stadium for the first time, but only one from three progressed to Sunday evening’s final.
In qualification Group A, UK leader Freya Jones (coach: William Bushnell) recorded a best distance of 51.27m to finish sixth, tenth overall, but was disappointed not to match or exceed her 52.82m lifetime best and was left with a nervous wait as the Group B athletes took to the field.
“I’d thrown over 50m in warm up and I’ve been consistently throwing at least 50m in training so I really should have thrown further today,” she said. “My first round throw was shocking - I collapsed into it - and while my second throw was good, 51m is appalling compared to what I should be doing.”
She needn’t have worried, however, as only four athletes bettered her mark in the second group.
UK Trials winner Izzy Jeffs (coach: Simon de Wilton) recorded a best of 49.94m to finish outside the final 12 in 14th overall (fifth in Group B) while UK number three Kike Oniwinde (coach: Sam Harrison) was less than a metre outside her PB with 48.37m in the first qualification group, but it was only good enough for 17th in qualifying.
Today’s Aviva GB & NI action resumes at 15:00 Estonia time (13:00 UK time) with the women’s 400mH semi finals.
The European Junior Championships will be shown daily on Eurosport - 11:30-12:30 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