4 July 2016
This week’s European Championships will see the biggest ever British Athletics team travel to Amsterdam in a bid to better the record medal tally of 23 set by 2014’s team in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Championships will see seven males from the 98-strong team pull on a GB & NI vest at senior level for the first time in a major international competition, all of whom will be looking to lay down a marker in their respective disciplines.
Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) – 100m
Edoburun will take on the 100m in Amsterdam, the Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers athlete showcased his talent at youth level with gold at last year’s European Junior Championships in Sweden. Whilst June’s British Championships saw Edoburun finish in a respectable fourth with a new wind-assisted PB of 10.02 (+3.0), notably only beaten by two Olympic qualifiers, James Ellington and James Dasaolu, and sub-10 man Chijindu Ujah.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) – 200m
Louisiana-based sprinter Mitchell-Blake currently tops the British ranks over 200m having clocked a time of 19.95 at the SEC Championships in Alabama earlier this year – a time just one hundredth of a second off the British record set back by John Regis in 1993.
The London-born athlete has clocked 6.65i over 60m and 10.09 over 100m but favours the longer sprint, stating in an interview with the BBC: “The 200m is my favourite event”.
The European Championships will see the 22 year-old look to emulate his gold winning run at 2013’s European Junior Championships, where Mitchell-Blake headed up a British 1-2-3 with Leon Reid (silver) and Matthew Hudson-Smith (bronze) close behind.
Elliot Giles (Matthew Yates) – 800m
Newly-crowned British Champion Elliot Giles will tackle the 800m in Amsterdam on the back of fine personal form, with victory in four of his last six races.
The Birchfield Harrier also gave himself a fighting chance of making the plane to Rio with a superb victory at June’s British Championships, over-taking no less than five-time British champion Michael Rimmer in the final 70m to take the title.
Post-race a buoyant Giles stated: “I can do a lot more; I think I have the best coach in the world and I don’t see what can stop me now. I knew if I was anywhere in the last 100m then I could win it. It went completely to plan. I think it is time to go out and run a quick time. I have to get 1.46 flat for Rio, and that I think is more than within my reach."
The 22 year-old revised his personal best last month with a clocking of 1:47:21, and will aim to chip away at the time once again in his quest to make the podium in Amsterdam.
Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb) – 800m
Webb’s 800m form has notably progressed over the past two years, with 2016 seeing the Merseyside athlete clock a personal best two seconds quicker than his 2014 best of 1:48:35
Having competed at last year’s European U23 Championships in Estonia, bowing out with a fourth place finish in the semi-final, Webb has since gone on to taste senior success at domestic level with victory at the British Indoor Championships earlier this year, a feat he fell just short of repeating as he took silver at Birmingham’s Olympic Trials.
Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) – 1500m
Wightman recently revised his personal best time in the 800m discipline, with the 1500m next on his list. The young Scotsman currently holds a best of 3:35.49 over 1500m, set back in 2014, and will be looking to recapture that type of form in the Dutch capital.
Also eager to see Jake do well will be coach and father Geoff, with Wightman senior otherwise recognised as the multi-talented stadium announcer, ex-elite runner and author.
Matt Bond (Norman Poole) – Half-Marathon Cup
Bond makes his full senior international bow having previously represented England at Denmark’s Lillebaelt Half Marathon in 2011, a race he went on to win.
The Sale Harrier has shown strong form in 2016, coming within seven seconds of his half-marathon best in January with a time of 64:36 to earn a spot in this year’s team for the championships.
Tsegai Tewelde (John MacKay) - Half-Marathon Cup
Eritrea-born Tewelde relocated in the UK back in 2008 and has since been granted British citizenship. Now Glasgow based, the 26 year-old athlete heads to Amsterdam having already secured a place in the team for Rio following a 12th place finish in this year’s London Marathon, with 2015 seeing the Shettleston Harrier shave a near three minutes off his half-marathon best as he clocked 63:34 in Glasgow’s annual event.