13 July 2008
On the final day of competition at the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland team GB & NI complete their campaign on a high with three medals.
In the men’s high jump Matthew Owens (Liverpool Harriers) performed well, moving confidently through the rounds clearing 2.03m, 2.08m and 2.13m. Unfortunately 2.17m was just too much for him and he bowed out after three failed attempts at that height.
“It just didn’t happen on the day. I need to be more consistent and work on that for next year.
“I started off a little shaky only getting 2.03m on my third attempt. The best thing about being here is performing with the other athletes who are all either better than me or the same, I need competition like that.”
Steph Twell (AFD) won team GB & NI’s first gold medal of the competition with her truly outstanding 1500m victory. The junior, who has the Olympic A qualifier and will be considered for selection this week, ran a tactically astute race sitting comfortably at the back in the first laps before making her way into contention with two to go.
On the bell she made a break from the Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahenge and teammate Emma Pallant (AFD), who had accompanied her, and put a length between them, coming into the home straight and crossing the line in 4:15.09 with as much speed and determination as she had shown throughout.
“I can’t believe it, I just loved it, I was enjoying it so much. I knew this is what a championship race would feel like, the tactics and the change of pace, I just had to keep my rhythm.”
“The last bend was so quick and then before I knew it I saw the finish line and I just thought ‘Go Go Go.’ I want to know how quick I did that last 200m!’”
“I think it’s the experience of competing against different athletes, especially the Africans trying to dominate the race. They try to go to the front and slow the pace down and I didn’t let her do it today so I think it shows mentally im getting stronger. I just have to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard at becoming a world class senior.”
“I can’t wait to race at Crystal Palace in a couple of weeks. This event was amazing and it’s really reflective of the atmosphere at Crystal Palace.”
Emma Pallant (AFD) reminded crowds that there were two GB & NI athletes competing in the final of the 1500m as she performed fantastically grasping a bronze medal for team GB & NI crossing the line in thrid place with a time of 4:17.06.
With a strong presence throughout the race, keeping her cool as the pack scuffled for control at various points and amazing determination, Pallent placed herself in the leading pack and shadowed the Ethiopian into the final bend.
She said: “I sat down with my coach Mick Woods and he reminded me that there are three medals and why couldn’t I come home with one. He wouldn’t have said I could get a medal if I couldn’t’ so I was feeling confident and I thought ‘You know what, I’m going to go for it.’ ”
“I ran one of my worst races tactically, I didn’t enjoy the start of the race at all but luckily I pulled it together for the second half. It’s just a dream, I’m really happy.”
In an nail biting men’s 4 x 400m relay final the GB & NI athletes performed at their best securing GB & NI’s third medal of the day. The last event on the competition timetable left crowds at the stadium in Bydgoszcz with no doubt in their mind that team GB & NI can make it happen on the day.
Louis Persent (Colchester Harriers), Robert Davis (Birchfield Harriers), Nigel Levine (Bedford & County) and Jordan McGrath (Birchfield Harriers) had a practically perfect run, with smooth baton changes and blistering speed through each leg of the event. McGrath, on the final leg, brought the team home in 3:05.82, a seasons best time for the group.
Relay captain Davis said: “It’s just amazing, what a team effort. It’s been great, we couldn’t ask for anything more really. “