23 July 2009
The Aviva GB and NI team were in full swing on the first morning (Thursday 23 July) of competition at the European Junior Championships in Novi Sad, with strong qualifying performances and a good opening session in the decathlon at the Karadjordje Stadium
The multi event trio of Daniel Gardiner, David Guest and Ashley Bryant boosted the GB presence at the championships with Gardiner leading the way in first position after three events with 2588 points, 134 ahead of second placed Maximilian Gilde of Germany. Guest finished in ninth with 2347 and Bryant in 20th with 2130.
In the 100m, David Guest (Bridgend) had set the standard, winning the first heat in 11.12 against a tough wind of -2.3m/s. Daniel Gardiner (Leeds City) followed on winning his heat with 10.97 (-1.1) and Ashley Bryant (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) was sixth in his heat with 11.50 (-0.5). Positions after the first event were Gardiner in 3rd (867 pts), Guest in 5th (834) and Bryant in 20th position (753), with Austrian Dominik Distelberger leading the way on 888 points winning the fourth and final heat with 10.88.
Onto the long jump and Gardiner was in top form, with a leap of 7.33m. Guest equalled this mark with his own leap of 7.33m (+0.4) just minutes later; a new PB, the best of his three attempts and a timely boost to his championship effort bringing him 893 points.
Gardiner’s reply was to come back with a PB of his own of 7.43m (+1.7), buoyed on by the British Athletics Supporters Club positioned the main stand. It was not the end of his work however and with his final attempt landed 7.47m (+0.2) to take the long jump victory and 927 points. Bryant, competing in the second pool took 718 points with a best effort of 6.59m.
It meant Gardiner led the competition on 1794 points with Guest in third on 1727 and Bryant holding 20th with 1471.
The final event of the morning was the shot putt. And with Gardiner buzzing from his first two events it seemed inevitable he would break the 15m mark for the first time and take another PB of 15.07m (794). Guest was less fluent and his 12.22m (620) was down on his usual standard. Ashley Bryant has a solid effort of 12.87m (659).
The three reflected differently on their morning’s work:
Gardiner said: "It's been a good morning, first I had a legal PB in the 100m into a headwind, then I had my best event the long jump. Then the shot was great to get past the 15m barrier. It’s going well and I don’t seem to mind the heat – I think I’m coping well with it and it’s helping my performances.”
Guest said: “My shot was about 30cm down on what I produced the other week in competition so I’m not pleased with that. With the high jump and the 400m later I’m sure I can claw some of it back though.”
Bryant said: “It’s not bad so far – I would describe it as a solid morning. My 100m was good especially considering the headwind, but I was unlucky with my run up in the long jump. My shot put was solid, but I just need that one good throw or jump and I’ll get going properly.”
In the men’s high jump there were mixed fortunes for the two Brits taking part. Sam Bailey (Chelmsford) managed first time clearances at 2.00m and 2.05m before three failures at 2.10m left him playing the waiting game to see if he would progress.
Mike Edwards (Alabama University) passed on heights through until 2.05m but looked easy with a first time clearance at that height and then at 2.10m. He then missed out on 2.15m although two of the attempts were excruciatingly close.
Unfortunately Bailey exited the competition – his 2.05m not enough to see him progress, but Edwards qualified and looked forward to representing his country of birth in the final:
“I was disappointed not to make it over 2.15m but the third attempt felt so good I know it’s there, I just need a bit more speed going in,” saidEdwards, who was born in Manchester and lived in Wythenshawe until 2000. He is now USA based, but has enjoyed his GB debut experience so far: "The team have been really welcoming, it’s been good to be here.”
In the women’s 100m, Britain’s lone entry Torema Dorsett (Enfield & Haringey) made easy work in progressing through to the next round, finishing second in her heat in 11.84 (-2.2) behind Norway’s Folake Akinyemi. The first to rise she used her start to good effect and looked pleased to have got the first run out of the way.
“My start felt good,” she confirmed. “At the beginning of the season we did a lot of work on my start and the rest of my race wasn’t so strong but now it’s starting to work. Hopefully as I progress through the rounds the race will come together.”
Sophie Hitchon (Blackburn) made short work of qualifying in the hammer and qualified with her first throw 60.68m to exceed the 58m standard. It also placed her fifth best qualifier behind Bianca Perie with 63.71m, and was clearly a fillip for the UK Junior record holder.
“I felt I could do it as I’ve been so consistent this season but to actually qualify first throw- I‘ve never done that before, it’s great,” she said.
“My legs felt a bit jiggly during warm up but to be honest I wasn’t thinking about how I was feeling I just wanted to get out there and throw and qualify.”
In the men’s 100m, the GB trio had changing winds and outside lanes to contend with but still qualified comfortably for the afternoon’s semi finals.
The U20 trials winner Max Galliers (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) running from lane eight was third in his heat in 10.79 (-1.5m/s) and admitted: “My start was terrible – I was battling with it until 40m. I felt like I ran my way back into it and was on a par with them during the last few metres. The main thing is I am through now and can look forward to the semi finals.”
From lane one in the second heat, Andrew Robertson (Sale) managed second in 10.54 (+0.8m/s) and looked pleased to have eased through:
“I’m glad to be in the semi finals – this was almost a warm up as I haven’t raced since the trials weekend,” he said. “Now I’m going to chill out, eat get a few drinks down me and look forward to this afternoon.”
Eugene Ayanful (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) was third in his heat from lane one in 10.63 (-1.5m/s) but refused to make excuses:
“I’m a bit disappointed with that – the wind and the lane don’t make a difference. I’m glad though I felt strong at the end and came though well so I know I’ve got more to come,” he said.
In the men’s 400m there was disappointment in the opening heat for the GB contingent and the 4x400m relay squad as James Hunter (Liverpool Harriers) pulled out of the race on the back straight with a suspected hamstring pull.
Louis Persent (Colchester) won his following heat and reflected after: “I came out and saw them go off and I wasn’t sure whether I should watch or not... it’s a real shame for the guy.”
Persent himself had a minor worry; as the gun went his starting blocks slipped about 20cm and he struggled to get out cleanly. Despite figuring in approximately fourth place as he came into the straight he strode away to win in 47.36.
“I had lots left at the end as I hadn’t got out properly,” he joked.
Soon after, Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) followed his team-mate into the semis with a swift 46.87 that led the qualifiers. Starting fast he was on the shoulder of the next lane by 50m in and coasted his way round, but over the final few strides as the field closed he spurted again to cross the line in the fastest qualifying time.
“I didn’t really want to go that fast,” he admitted. “I was going to have a good start and preserve myself going round – it felt good – at 200m I was striding out, but over the last few metres they came on to my shoulders and I had to go again.
“I thought it would be about 47.1 – I’ve now got to think about the semi final in four hours time.”
Reports after each session are on www.uka.org.uk