1 March 2013
The GB & NI team continued to impress in the afternoon session at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (coach: Rana Reider) got the team off to a good start as he finished third the first 60m heat with a season’s best 6.65 to qualify for the semi-finals. The former World Junior Champion believes there is more to come from him in tomorrow’s semi-final.
“It's a seasons best - another good run and we'll take it lower, that's the aim. It’s another opportunity and I think I've been quite lucky indoors. We haven't really focused on it, so I've done some speed work over the last few weeks. I stumbled out of the blocks a bit, so hopefully in the next round I'll go even better.”
James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) looked comfortable as he secured his place in the semi-finals finishing second in his heat in a time of 6.62 and the 25 year old was happy with his performance in the first round.
“I'm really happy, I wanted to qualify as easily as possible. I don't feel like I've exerted too much energy and I think that's what it's all about - using as little energy as possible. I've run a PB in pretty much every race, so I'm in good shape.
Dwain Chambers (Reider) was eliminated from the 60m as he narrowly missed out on a fastest loser spot after finishing fifth with a time of 6.78. Chambers, who won this title in 2009, admits to being disappointed at not going further in the competition.
“I came here with all the intention to do well and fight for a medal which is always what I have been renowned for doing but the injury obviously took more out of me than I had anticipated, so with that I’m really disappointed and feel bad for letting people down.”
Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) safely made it through to the semi-finals of the women’s 800m in the third automatic qualifying place of her heat. The GB & NI captain admitted that she found the race difficult, but the defending champion still has her sights set on reaching Sunday’s final and a podium finish.
“That was quite tough if I’m very honest. I didn’t want to lead the whole way and sometimes that stops your natural flow. Hopefully I’ve learnt quite a lot today ready to amend tomorrow. I need to do a little bit more work before I can start thinking about a final and a medal, but I’m definitely capable.”
Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed) produced a strong finish to win the first heat of the men’s 800m. The 22 year old crossed the line in 1:49.43 and is targeting a medal if he can book his place in Sunday’s final.
“It's good to be in the semi-final. It was not a good race for me, but I'm happy. My plan in the semi-final is to be at the front, so hopefully it'll be better than today. My target is to be in the final and get in the medals. I'm not too bothered about the time, it's about being on the podium.”
In the second 800m heat, Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) was an impressive winner to ensure that he joined Mohammed in the semi-finals. The Welshman led from start to finish and stretched away in the closing stages to win the heat in 1:51.12 and is looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow’s semi-final.
“The first round is always going to be messy so I was glad to get through. You don’t come to championships without wanting to win a medal – I’m in good form, I’ve just got to keep it going through the semi-final, refocus and make some new goals for the final. “
Michael Rimmer (Normal Poole), ranked number one in Europe over 800m going into the championships, finished outside of the two automatic qualifying places in third place and his time of 1:51.04 was not quick enough to make it through to the semi-finals as a fastest loser.
“I think the one way I was going to get caught out was if there was a slow first lap. I’ve been in a totally different phase of training to most people I think. There’s not much I can take from it but I’ll go back to what I was doing beforehand.”
In the women’s 1500m heats, Laura Muir (Andy Young) produced one of the performances of the days as she set a new personal best of 4:12.36 to secure her place in tomorrow’s final. The 19 year old Scot was delighted to have made the final at her first senior international championships.
“I am so chuffed to be in the final – that was my target, I’m just really happy with how I ran today. Tomorrow I don’t know what will happen, if I will be tired. I’ve not really done any championships before where I’ve got heat and finals so I will see how I am tomorrow.”
In the field, Holly Bleasdale (Dan Pfaff, Scott Simpson) made it to the final of the women’s pole vault after clearing a height of 4.56m. Bleasdale, who leads the European rankings having cleared 4.77m last month, is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow’s final.
“I felt pretty good out there and was really confident. Clearing 4.46m and 4.56m first time is a really big confidence boost and to finish second in qualifying, I can’t ask for much more than that really.”
Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) failed to clear 2.28m but his best height of 2.23m was enough for a place in the final. The Olympic bronze medallist acknowledges that he was fortunate to make the final, but remains optimistic of a good performance tomorrow.
“I messed up and scraped through by the skin of my teeth, but that’s what a clean sheet does for you and that’s what we always aim to do. All I’ve got to do tomorrow is relax and stay calm. Fortunately things went my way today and others made a lot of mistakes too. The track is fantastic but it’s so fast.”
Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) safely qualified for the women’s triple jump thanks to a season’s best jump of 13.92m in the first round and the World Indoor Champion is pleased with her progress going into tomorrow’s final.
“I felt good, I’m a little bit out of rhythm because I haven’t been training long but I’m happy that I am through to the final. The final is altogether a different competition so I am positive and happy.”
The European Indoor Championships will be shown live on the BBC and BBC Online at the following times:
Saturday March 2nd: 10.30-13.00 on BBC Red Button, 14.30-16.30 on BBC1 and 16.30-18.00 on BBC2.
Sunday March 3rd: 10.00-11.40 on BBC2 and 15.15-18.00 BBC2.
Follow us on Twitter @BritAthletics for updates.