24 July 2011
Matching the qualification efforts of their one-lap counterparts, both Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4 x 100m relay teams progressed to this afternoon’s finals in a bid to add to the overall medal haul which currently stands at ten - including five gold - and is good enough to top the medal table going into the final session of the European Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia (21-24 July).
The men - Dannish Walker-Khan (coach: Linford Christie), Sam Watts (coach: Gladys Bird), Adam Gemili (coach: John Blackie) and Jordan Kirby-Polidore (coach: Craig Burrow) - were particularly impressive, clocking 39.85 for victory in heat one.
“That went really well, better than expected in qualification,” they said. “We nailed the changeovers and it was a quick time.”
It was, in fact, a very quick time and the only mark below 40 seconds in the first round. Their target now, in addition to the European Junior title, is to challenge Britain’s European Junior Record of 39.05 achieved with victory in the 2000 World Junior Championships in Chile (Tyrone Edgar, Dwayne Grant, Timothy Benjamin and Mark Lewis-Francis).
The Aviva GB & NI women’s quartet - Annie Tagoe (coach: Connie Henry), Bianca Williams (coach: Lloyd Cowan), Jennie Batten (coach: Roger Walters) and Marilyn Nwawulor (coach: Harry King) - qualified automatically in third place from their heat with a season’s best time of 45.04.
“The girls were nervous before we got out there, but we did well,” said individual 100m finalist Nwawulor after a storming anchor leg. “Our changeovers weren’t as smooth as we’d have liked so we can definitely improve in the final. The real challenge now is to get back out and beat the Germans (the fastest team in qualifying with 43.83).”
The Netherlands, one of the favourites for the 4 x 100m title after clocking a quick 44.53 in heat one, were disqualified.
Today’s Aviva GB & NI action resumes at 16:00 Estonia time (14:00 UK time) with Abi Fitzpatrick (coach: Morris Condon) in the women’s 400mH final.
The European Junior Championships will be shown daily on Eurosport - 17:00-18:30 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