11 June 2014
GB & NI junior Jess Judd (coach: Rob Denmark) stole the show in Norway breaking the two minute barrier in the women’s 800m to finish third in a world class Diamond League field. After missing a big chunk of the winter with a back injury, Judd took advantage of the British Athletics altitude training camp in Park City, her hard work there clearly evident in her performance at the Bislett Games this evening.
Judd's third place finish secured her a new personal best time of 1.59.77, which was just two hundredths outside the British junior record. She also ran the fastest second lap of everyone in the field, and afterwards commented:
“I’m so happy coming third. I just raced it and didn’t look at the clock all the way through, so I can’t believe it [the time]! I knew I had a good last 300m but I didn’t expect to come away with a PB!”
Her next Diamond League meeting may well be the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix where she’ll go head to head with two other rising British stars, Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) and Laura Muir (Andy Young). Of that mouth-watering head to head at Hampden Park, Judd said:
“It’s a bit scary but at least now I’ve gone under two minutes! I knew if I wanted to compete against those girls I had to up my game, because they’re running so well, but now I’m really looking forward to it and it’s great for British Athletics!”
There were impressive second place finishes for Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker) who clocked 22.97 in the women’s 200m and Shara Procter (Rana Reider) in the long jump. Proctor starts 2014 as the defending Diamond League champion but coming into tonight’s meet her season’s best was a modest 6.60m. However she returned to form with a timely 6.78m jump in the fourth round.
“I’m ok with it! It’s coming along and I’m getting there but I’m better than that and I want to jump further. I’m staying patient and I’m happythat I got that 6.78m out as it gives me my confidence back. But now I have to get back to training ready for the Sainsbury’s British Champs.”
As for Williams, she returned to the track just twenty minutes after the 100m, storming down the home straight to snatch second place, her highest ever Diamond League finish.
“I’m amazed! It was such a strong field and coming here I was just hoping not to come last to be honest, so to come away with second, I can’t really believe it. After going from the 100m straight to the call room for the 200m, I was trying to get my head around it and talk myself into it. But in the last 50 metres I just said to myself, ‘you know what Jodie, you can catch these girls’, so I just went for it.”
Aside from Jess Judd there were two further third place finishes for British athletes, with both Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) and Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) matching their performances at the Rome Diamond League meeting last week. Despite being four hundredth’s down on the time he ran in the Stadio Olimpico, European u23 champion Gemili was pleased with his run.
“I’d describe it as consistent. To run week in week out it’s difficult, so to get another third place finish I’m very pleased with it. I think my start was better than in Rome as I wasn’t as far behind, but I still had to pick myself up a bit, so it’s work in progress.”
Also in the men’s 100m were Richard Kilty (Reider) and Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins), both slightly disappointed with 10.29 and 10.31 times in seventh and eighth.
Whilst the result was the same and her 55.33 clocking slightly slower than in Rome, it was the first time Child has really challenged for victory in a Diamond League race, which shows she is growing in confidence.
“I’m happy to have got in the mix. My strides were a bit all over the place because the wind was pretty gusty but it’s all about getting involved and trying to hold on. My hurdling wasn’t great down the home straight but I was just trying to get to that line as fast as possible!”
It was fourth for William Sharman (Jerzy Maciukiewicz) in a truly world class 110m hurdles race, where a photo finish needed to separate second to fifth, with the Belgrave man running 13.38. In the women’s 100m, Jodie Williams and Asha Phillip (both Bowmaker) were fifth and sixth with 11.41 and 11.44 respectively.
In the field, Phillips Idowu’s (Gary Bourne) best of 16.30m in the men’s triple jump secured him an eighth place finish in the Norweigan capital, whilst back on the track birthday girl Emily Diamond (Cossins) ran well to finish seventh in 52.58, running blind in lane 8 on her Diamond League debut.
Guy Learmonth (George Gandy) and Mukhtar Mohammed (Jon Bigg) were fifth and ninth respectively in the men’s national 800m A race, with Learmonth clocking 1.47.50 after a slow first lap. In the national 1500m’s junior Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods) and Tom Farrell (Dave Smith) were fifth and sixth with times of 4.19.95 and 3.42.79 respectively.
It was perhaps an evening to forget for both Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) and Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon), with the former being disqualified for a false start in the 400mH and the latter forced to drop out of the Dream Mile.
The next stop for the Diamond League is the New York on Saturday, where a number of GB & NI stars will be in action.
The first UK Diamond League meeting of the 2014 season is the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12 July, for which tickets are available here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-glasgow-grand-prix/