16 August 2014
Eilidh Child (coach: Malcolm Arnold) has a pretty impressive trophy cabinet, boasting individual and relay medals, but at last she’s won a major international title, something that had until this point eluded her. Heading into this European Championships as the fastest on the continent this year, Child wore the blue bib and had a clear target on her back. But after handling the monumental home pressure to bag silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, this was easy for Child, who ran the perfect race to claim the women’s 400mH title in 54.48.
As she’d done in both of the qualifying rounds, the Scot really attacked the first few hurdles to ensure she was in contention from the off, but coming off the final hurdle Child had another gear and started to move away from the other medal contenders.
She said: “That was a relief! I knew if I just executed my race well I should be close to the medals. I came off the tenth hurdle and knew I was in the lead and I tried to just get to the line. My legs were dying coming off the last hurdle and then at about five metres out everybody came alongside me so I didn’t know what had happened when I crossed the line. I’m delighted to have won.
“I did feel a little bit of pressure; all year I’ve been trying to focus on what I can control. There were some nerves on the start line and the blue number didn’t really help as it just advertises that you should be favourite; but I managed to calm myself down and focus on what I needed to do.”
Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) employed the same front running tactics that served her so well in the heats and semi-finals of the women’s 800m, and down the back-straight on the second lap it looked as they were going to pay off again. The defending champion had just one athlete for company, but despite running a massive lifetime best of 1.58.80, Sharp couldn’t quite hold off Belarusian Maryna Arzamasova, instead settling for silver.
“That (tactic) was totally unlike me – if you’ve ever watched me – up until this week I’d never done that! Obviously after Glasgow I felt really strong and I knew I had a fast race in me, then everyone said I looked amazing in the semi-final, so I just went out and did exactly what I did then. Obviously it was two seconds faster and I paid for it in the home straight!
“Perhaps I shouldn’t have looked behind me with about 120m to go, but that is the most uncomfortable way to race, running scared the whole way. It’s been an amazing season I couldn’t have asked for this. I’m just so happy with that time. Two years ago I never would have raced like that. I’m a completely different athlete than in 2012.”
It’s hard to believe that Jess Judd (Rob Denmark) is still a junior this year, especially given her mature run to make the final. She admitted it was maybe one race too many, finishing seventh in 2.01.65, but there’s no doubting the nineteen year old has a bright future ahead of her.
“I gave it my all; I couldn’t have done any more so I’m proud of that. This has been my fourteenth 800m this year, so I’m not sure if I can do any more; I just want to have some fun and enjoy it now. I didn’t want to have any regrets when I stepped off the track. Although I’m disappointed with how I finished, I couldn’t have done any more and I gave it absolutely everything. I was really happy to make the final and I thought whatever happens after that was a bonus.”
Following her thrilling gold medal winning exploits over 10,000m on Tuesday, Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey) returned to the track for the 5,000m today.
Both Pavey and Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods) were part of a large leading group that only broke up over the last two laps. As Meraf Bahta and Sifan Hassan pulled away to take the top two positions, Pavey finished in seventh with a time of 15:38.41 and Gorecka, who at 20 is only half the age of Pavey, a further two places back with 15:42.98.
Afterwards Pavey said: “I wanted to give myself the best chance; I wanted to give it a real go in the 5,000m, but I’m sort of gutted I didn’t feel better when I was running. I’m glad I did it, and it was great fun being out there with Emelia – you know she’s half my age – it’s the next generation coming through, and it was a pleasure to share the track with her and give it a go.”
Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) was quite philosophical after finishing eleventh in the men’s pole vault final with a 5.40m clearance. After a shaky start, Lewis decided to go all or nothing, passing at multiple heights, before a couple of close failures at 5.70m saw him bow out.
“It wasn’t what I wanted. I had a bit of a close take off in warm-up and then after the little wait before we started I felt really flat and felt like I had nothing. I’m surprised I jumped 5.40m, I didn’t know what was going on. Then I tried 5.60m and my legs felt all shaky, I thought 5.70m would be a good shot to medal so I gave it a go and did my best and that was all had.
“I said to my coach that even if I make 5.70m I wasn’t sure if I could continue. I dug deep today and gave it everything I could. I’ve had a great year and a great season so I’m just going to take the positives and move forward.”
Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker), Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka), Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) and Desiree Henry (Reider) combined as if they’d done it many times before to win their heat of the women’s 4x100m relay in a season’s best of 42.62. Second fastest to France’s 42.29 European lead overall, the team were please with their efforts, as Philip commented:
“It was really good – I trust these girls so much – I’ve done so much over the years with them. Yes this team hasn’t been out together but we know as individuals we can run off each other and get the baton round, and I believe they can do it and they believe in themselves. I have got 110% trust in this team, and we are going to kill it and do our best in the final.”
The men, duly followed suit and despite a Swiss national record of 38.54, much to the delight of the crowd, it was an easy victory for the GB & NI quartet in the first of two heats. James Ellington (Reider), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider), Richard Kilty (Reider) and Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) combined with style to win in 38.26, just over a tenth down on fastest qualifiers Germany.
In the longer relays, the British teams made light work of qualification, to ensure a full set of GB & NI relay squads in tomorrow’s final. Nigel Levine (Linford Christie), Michael Bingham (George Williams), Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) and Martyn Rooney (Reider) combined well, and with individual 400m champion Rooney in the lead at the start of the anchor leg, no one was going to stop the GB & NI team winning in 3.00.65.
Second in their heat and third fastest qualifiers overall, the women’s 4x400m quartet booked their lane in tomorrow’s final. Emily Diamond (Cossins) ran a fantastic first leg, so that by the time Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) broke after 100m, she was into the lead, which she extended throughout her leg. Victoria Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) was next, and she ran a strong leg, handing over to Margaret Adeoye (Christie) in second. Adeoye ran a very composed leg, nearly catching the Russian anchor on the line. In the end though, second was plenty to see the team through with clocking of 3.28.44 to Russia’s 3.28.42.
Full results from the championships so far can be seen here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2014/schedules-results/
Tomorrow sees the culmination of a great championship for the GB & NI team, with a full complement of relay teams going for gold, as well as the men’s 1500m, 5,000m and long jump finals.
GB & NI team performances:
GOLD – Jo Pavey – Women’s 10,000m
GOLD – Mo Farah – Men’s 10,000m
GOLD – Tiffany Porter – Women’s 100m hurdles
GOLD – James Dasaolu – Men’s 100m
GOLD – Martyn Rooney – Men’s 400m
GOLD – Adam Gemili – Men’s 200m
GOLD – Eilidh Child – Women’s 400mH
SILVER – Andy Vernon – Men’s 10,000m
SILVER – William Sharman – Men’s 110mH
SILVER – Matthew Hudson-Smith – Men’s 400m
SILVER – Jodie Williams – Women’s 200m
SILVER – Lynsey Sharp – Women’s 800m
BRONZE – Ashleigh Nelson – Women’s 100m
BRONZE – Harry Aikines Aryeetey – Men’s 100m
BRONZE – Laura Weightman – Women’s 1500m
4th – Dwain Chambers – Men’s 100m
4th – Christine Ohuruogu – Women’s 400m
4th – Bianca Williams – Women’s 200m
5th – Conrad Williams – Men’s 400m
6th – Hannah England – Women’s 1500m
7th – Desiree Henry – Women’s 100m
7th – Jess Judd – Women’s 800m
7th Jo Pavey – Women’s 5,000m
8th – Goldie Sayers – Women’s Javelin