Team GB & NI athletes are in action at the 2007 European Youth Olympic Festival currently taking place in Belgrade.
An exciting afternoon of finals included a close 100m women’s race, which left London’s Torema Dorsett (Enfield & Haringey) with a silver (11.69) and a new personal best (PB) in a final that was decided by photo finish.
”When I first crossed the line I didn’t know where I came. I was waiting and the Russian girl was asking me ‘First, first – did you come first?’. I didn’t know. When I went to get my clothes the people were telling me that I got first. We then we went over to get our medals and I was told that the other girl had got gold, so I was a little disappointed. But then again - I still got second at a European Youth Olympic Festival and a PB. I’ve had PBs all week, in my heat, semi and now in the final!”
100m sprinter Eugene Ayanful (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) was thrilled with his silver medal of 10.67sec.
“I can’t believe I did it, but it was a great race because I knew there was a medal in me because in the heat and semi, I went out there and came 4th in the heat and 3rd in the semi to guys who had a good nights sleep while I was still in Paris getting two planes to Serbia, getting there at 2am on my day of competition. Today is just a wonderful experience in my life and I felt that I had something to prove in the race. I went out there aggressive and knowing I could get a medal. This is my debut for Team GB and to have a medal and a PB is great.”
Andrew Robertson (Sale Harriers Manchester) ran an excellent race in the 200m final achieving yet another PB and clinching the silver medal in 21.72sec.
A clearly emotion Robertson said:
“I am very, very pleased. My aim was just to get to the final but this silver was a great bonus. I saved it for the straight because normally I take it too much into the bend, but what I did, I just relaxed a bit and then hit the straight and went for it all. I thought I was a fourth at first but then it just suddenly hit me and that was the best moment in my life actually.”
Niall Flannery (Gateshead Harriers) came fourth in the 400m hurdles (53.28), achieving a PB, while Wayne Ashall (Liverpool, Pembroke & Sefton) had to settle for an eighth place in the 400m with a time of 49.37.
A strong field of runners in the 1500m saw Jessica Burns (City of Plymouth) cross the finish line fifth.(4:31.93). Twinelle Hopeson (Croydon Harriers) finished sixth in the 200m sprint in 24.55sec.
Both the men’s (James McLean (Southend on Sea), Wayne Ashall, Eugene Ayanful, Andrew Robertson) and women’s (Torema Dorsett, Carmen Gedling (Liverpool Harriers), Nicola Hill (Havering Mayesbrook), Twinelle Hopeson) 4 x 100m relay teams are going to be forces to count on in the finals.
Neither Peta Lundgren’s (Herts Phoenix) 40.35m javelin throw, nor Alexandra Russell’s (Wigan & District Harriers) 5.67m long jump was enough to grant them qualification for the finals.
The 4 x 100m relay team of James McLean, Wayne Ashall, Eugene Ayanful and Andrew Robertson sprinted to gold in 41.62sec in the final.
Athletics Team Leader Jo Jennings said:
“A brilliant way to end the competition, we pushed the check marks back a bit – we decided we were going for a gold or nothing and it worked perfectly. The guys brought home a gold medal, so we are delighted. The girls finished 5th tonight – a fantastic result for them. We had a bit of a chicane on the last leg where the girls in the last lane dropped the baton and ran into our lane, so that hampered us a little bit.”
Torema Dorsett, Carmen Gedling, Nicola Hill and Twinelle Hopeson finished 5th in the women’s 4 x 100m relay in a time of 47.65.
In the 800m final Rachel Stringer placed 7th (2:10.49) whereas Ben Hunter and Paige Haines both finished 8th in their respective finals of 3000m (8:44.52) and 800m (1:57.04).
Gary Coulter jumped to a 10th in the high jump final (2.04m) and Blue Haywood finished 13th in the 3000m final (10:15.24).
“I don’t think anyone can comprehend how hard it is to run in this heat – I think it was 40 degrees plus out there today, which is really not very healthy, so the 800m and 3000m runners did remarkably well to get on the start line after the problems earlier in the week, but I know that they would have been a bit disappointed with their results.”
For further information visit 2007 European Youth Olympic Festival.