It was a successful morning for the British team at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz with nine athletes progressing through to semis and finals including three achieving new personal bests.
In the first event of the day both Mollie Courtney (coach: David Warner) and Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello) comfortably qualified for the semi-finals in the 100m hurdles and both achieved lifetime bests. Courtney of Cheltenham & County Harriers finished second in her heat in 13.28 (+1.3).
She was very pleased with her performance: “I was a bit nervous beforehand but can now really focus on my semi-final with that PB out the way. I am loving it here.There is a great atmosphere and a really fast track. I am determined to enjoy it. I shall recover now, get an early night and be ready for tomorrow.”
Barrett was equally impressive finishing second in a new personal best time of 13.35 (+1.6). Afterwards she said: “I could see the American who is the same age as my brother and I thought I cannot let someone of his age beat me. I hit the last hurdle as I was eager to get to the line. I didn’t get the best start either so I think there is more to come.”
In the javelin, James Whiteaker (Chris Blandford) took just one throw to move into the final with a new lifetime best of 72.51m.The Blackheath and Bromley athlete was delighted with his performance, commenting: “It was perfect, just the way you want to do it with the one throw so I can save myself for Saturday. The conditions were great, not too hot as it was an early morning start.”
Fresh from breaking the English Schools’ record earlier this month, Harry Hughes (Mike McNeill) is also safely through to Saturday’s final throwing 74.30m with his second throw, the sixth furthest from the finalists.
He said “I had a bit of a scare with my first throw but in good conditions I knew it would come so I am pleased and looking forward to the final.”
European Junior Champion, Bobby Clay (Rob Denmark) progressed automatically in the 1500m finishing in fourth place in 4:15.79 with Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden) picking up a fastest qualifier spot for Sunday’s final with her time of 4:21.91.
Afterwards, Clay said: “I am pleased I am in the top four and through. It was a bit bunched up which isn’t a good position to be in but I knew I just needed to get top four. It was quite warm although I didn’t think about it at the time.”
A relieved Knowles-Jones added “I knew it was going to be tough to get one of the automatic places as there are some very quick girls out there. I tried to make it faster by going up to the front in the hope that the fastest places would come from this race. I worked hard and the sun was warm out there.”
In the women’s 200m both Charlotte McLennaghan (David Hourd) and Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) secured automatic progression to this afternoon’s semi-finals. McLennaghan was fourth in 23.89 (+1.2) while Agyapong finished second in 23.58 (+1.1).
McLennaghan said: “I knew when I was on the home straight that I was in fourth so I didn’t want to do anything drastic. With the semi this evening I didn’t want to drain myself. I am happy to be in it.”
Newham and Essex Beagles athlete, Agyapong said, “I didn’t expect to finish in the top two so I am very happy. It has been a long wait for my event so it was a bit nerve wracking but it was a great experience and it is good to get that first one out the way.”
In a very close finish, Daniel Rowden (Richard Thurston) finished fourth in his heat of the men’s 800m to progress into Saturday’s semi-final. He said “It was quite tough. I didn’t position myself too well on the back straight but I knew I could kick ok and I just pipped the Canadian on the line.”
Unfortunately despite an appeal after a bumpy heat, Spencer Thomas (Jon Bigg) does not progress after finishing fifth in his heat in 1:52.54.
A disappointed Thomas from Brighton Phoenix said: “I was feeling really good with 300m to go. It is very frustrating as I felt good going into the race.”
Follow the IAAF World Junior Championships via http://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-u20-championships/iaaf-world-u20-championships-bydgoszcz-2016-5680/live and Eurosport 2.