14 July 2016
Sophie Lewis-Ward (coach: Noel Carmody) set a huge personal best on her way to a fourth place finish on her international debut at the inaugural European Youth Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.
In scorching conditions, the Cambridge Harrier stuck with the relentless pace of the leading group eventually crossing the line in 23:37.55 – a 47 second lifetime best for the 17 year old. Despite a strong race, Lewis-Ward was left disappointed finishing outside the medals.
Lewis-Ward said: “I'm bit gutted it wasn't top three but I guess that's the way it goes. That's the most painful 5km I've ever done, the heat was horrible and it's not even at its hottest. The girls in front train in some of the hottest countries (Spain and Turkey) so they're probably a little more used to those sort of conditions.”
Despite the initial frustration, she has taken encouragement from her first international appearance and Tom Bosworth, who recently secured his place on TeamGB for the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.
“It's give me more motivation to come back and get a top three. It's my first time in a British vest and it's been a really exciting experience.
“Tom (Bosworth) is lovely and I speak to him quite a lot when I see him and he's a true character. British race walkers don't have the best track record for making Olympic Games, but if he can do it we can too.”
Despite being under the weather for the last few days, Jake Norris (Paul Dickenson) made light work of his qualification needing just one throw to secure his place in tomorrow’s hammer final. Norris, threw 73.23m in his opening throw and was relieved to have made it to the latter stages with minimum fuss.
Norris explained: “It’s great to get that over with and now it’s on to the final and hopefully get a medal. There's a lot more in the tank, it was a pretty safe throw.
“I was a lot more nervous going in thank should have been because of how I've been feeling so it added a lot more pressure. The final I feel a lot more confident about. I've got the rest of today and tomorrow to prepare, so hopefully I can go out there and catch the right throw.”
It was also a strong morning for heptathlete Niamh Emerson (David Feeney), who started the day equalling her personal best of 14.17 in the 100m hurdles. After two third time clearances at 1.79m and 1.82m in the high jump, the Amber Valley athlete cleared 1.85m to finish the morning with 1995 points. Emerson now sits in second place, just three points behind Ukraine’s Alina Shukh, but nearly 100 points ahead of Czech Republic's Jana Novotna in third place. The shot put and 200m will take place this afternoon to conclude the first day of heptathlon action.
Watch the live stream from the European Youth Championships here: http://www.european-athletics.org/index.html
Follow the latest updates from the British team in Tbilisi on Twitter via @BritAthletics