25 July 2010
Jack Meredith (coach: Donald Moss), after a disappointing start, finished brilliantly to place third in the men’s 110mH while the men’s 4 x 400m also took bronze, taking the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal total to eight - the best result since 1994 - on the final day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada.
Although taking bronze on the global stage, world leader Meredith was devastated not to win gold.
“I stumbled out the blocks. I’m happy that I made up ground, but I wouldn’t have been happy with anything other than gold,” he admitted after coming through at pace in the latter stages of the race. “It was a shaky start and it took me a while to get into my rhythm; I got into it eventually, but it was too late.”
He was credited with a time of 13.59 into a strong headwind (-2.4m/s) – as was second place finisher Vladimir Vukicevic (Norway) – with the victory going to France’s world number two Pascal Martinot-Lagarde with 13.52.
The third place finish by the Aviva GB & NI’s men’s 4 x 400m relay team was more unexpected, but achieved with an equally huge level of determination.
With their primary objective to succeed where the two 4 x 100m relay teams had failed, they moved the baton round the track perfectly.
A solid start by Nathan Wake (coach: Ayo Falola) who passed onto Dan Putnam (coach: John Blackie) in second place was backed up by a strong third lap by Seb Rodger (coach: Steve King) pulling clear of fourth to make a medal finish an apparent certainty. However, as the Jamaicans came back into contention and moved into third, anchor leg Jack Green (coach: June Plews) had to fight to make it onto the podium, which he did in style, the quartet clocking 3:06.49 to close down Nigeria in second with 3:06.36. USA took the win in a new world junior leading time of 3:04.76.
Following Meredith’s finish in the 110mH, within 20 minutes it could have been two bronze medals for the Aviva GB & NI team as Niall Brooks (coach: Norman Poole) missed out on a podium position in the 800m by only two one-hundredths of a second, finishing fourth in a new lifetime best of 1:47.02.
“I felt really good all the way round. I thought the front three had gone but they got closer and closer and it looked like it was there so I went for it,” said Brooks who had progressed through to today’s final following a successful appeal for obstruction in the semi final. “From not thinking I’d got through, to finishing fourth in the final, I’m happy,” he said. “I finished strongly. Maybe I should have gone out quicker, but I thought yesterday I went off too quickly and died, and I knew if I wanted to medal today I’d have to keep something for the last 100m.”
The race was won by Kenya’s David Mutinda Mutua in 1:46.41 with world leader Robby Andrews (USA) in third 1:47.00.
Laura Weightman (coach: Steve Cram) in the women’s 1500m also finished well, placing sixth in 4:14.31 PB.
A group of four had broken clear early on passing through 400m in 1:01.02, with the Morpeth athlete in seventh leading the main chasing pack. She’d moved up into sixth as the leaders went through the half way point in 2:10.14 and was only marginally off fifth place as she closed into the finish.
“I’m disappointed. I felt so good in the race so I thought I might come a little a bit higher up than that, but it’s still a PB so I can’t really complain,” she said. “It’s amazing being sixth in the world and it’s my first GB trip so I’ve got to be happy with it, but I’d like to have done better for myself.”
Ireland’s outstanding Ciara Mageean finished second in a huge personal best of 4:09.51 to further reduce her own national record, with Ethiopia’s Tizita Bogale taking the victory in 4:08.06.
Ben Williams (coach: John Crotty) finished eleventh in the final of the men’s triple jump with 15.42m (-2.5m/s) while Kola Adedoyin (coach: Frank Attoh), who had qualified for the final in sixth with a 15.85m best, was hugely disappointed to be withdrawn after warm-up with the recurrence of an injury.
Overall, the Aviva GB & NI team medal total of eight (two gold, two silver and four bronze) to finish sixth in the medal table was the second best ever, matching the performances achieved in Lisbon in 1994 and Athens in 1986.
“It’s the second best ever performance by a British team at a World Junior Championships and it’s probably one of the deepest quality junior teams we’ve ever had,” summed up Team Leader Kevin Tyler. “I think there are a number of medals left on the table in a couple of instances, but we’ve got an amazing amount of talent on this team.”
“From an inspirational stand point we’ve had the gold medals from Jodie Williams in the 100m and from Sophie Hitchon winning the hammer on her final throw, and I think the event which best represented the spirit of the team was the men’s 4 x 400m; they weren’t projected to be anywhere, they competed right at the end, and they’ve remained professional throughout the entire competition and delivered on the day.
“It’s been a fantastic Championships and the athletes should all be applauded for maintaining their focus throughout the trip. In addition, we’ve had a very professional staff team and without doubt that’s contributed to the overall success of the team.”