Craig Pickering’s learning curve took another searingly sharp upward turn at the Golden Spike IAAF Grand Prix meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Wednesday evening, 27 June.
Only four days after winning the European Cup 100m for the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in a lifetime best time of 10.15 seconds, the 20-year-old University of Bath student powered to victory in 10.16.
It was only his second outing in a senior IAAF Grand Prix, his first having ended in elimination in the heats at last summer’s Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
But he was never in danger this time in the stadium that will host the IAAF World Youth Championships, though when he went to his blocks he was far from the favourite on season’s bests.
Pickering powered home three flowing strides clear of the field with runner-up Churandy Martina (Netherlands Antilles), who has run 10.09 this year, clocked at 10.31 seconds.
Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) snatched third place in 10.33, a hundredth of a second ahead of one of the pre-race favourites, Joshua Ross (Australia), who has a best this year of 10.08.
And Ryan Scott (Yate and District) was sixth in 10.49 as he prepares to line-up alongside his training mate Pickering in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the European Under 23 Championships to be staged in Debrecen, Hungary, on 12-15 July.
Of other GB athletes in Ostrava, Tasha Danvers-Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) negotiated lane one sufficiently well to take fifth place in the 400m hurdles in 56.40 seconds. Yuliya Pechonkina led a Russia 1-2-3, finishing 5 metres clear in 54.58.
Jemma Simpson (Newquay and Par) just got the better of Jenny Meadows (Wigan and District) in an 800m dominated by Svetlana Cherkasova (Russia) in 1:59.88.
Aggressive as ever, Meadows was never out of the leading trio until the final 150m and finished eighth in 2:00.95. Astute as ever, Simpson ran more conservatively and found an inside line for a finishing sprint that earned her seventh place among the 12 finishers in 2:00.81.
Jermaine Mays (Kent AC) was 11th in the 3000m steeplechase in 8:33.09. The fastest man in the world, Paul Kipsiele Koech (Kenya) won in 8:10.01, meaning he now has the fastest three times this year.
For the full results from Ostrava, including a 1-hour world record by Haile Gebrselassie, please click here
Andrew Steele (Trafford AC) and Abby Westley (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) continued their winning ways at a European AA meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday night, 29 June.
Steele, who obviously relishes racing in Switzerland, followed up his time of 45.31 in Geneva on 9 June that makes him No.1 in the current Power of 10 rankings, introduced by UK Athletics and its governing partners to inspire improvements in all events in all age groups in all regions on the way to London 2012.
He won the Geneva race in 45.84, just four-hundredths of a second ahead of Alleyne Francique (Grenada), with Martyn Rooney (Croydon Harriers) third in 45.92, his quickest so far this summer.
Four days after winning on her Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland senior debut in the European Cup First League, Westley stormed to victory in the Geneva 1500m in 4:09.38, almost 2 seconds clear of the field.
It was the Loughborough University student’s sixth successive victory since she took the British Universities 800m title on 7 May.
Former European Junior 100m Champion Leon Baptiste (Enfield and Haringey) won his 200m in a season’s best of 20.82 seconds with England Athletics Under 20 Champion Alex Nelson (Sale Harriers Manchester) second in 20.92, also his fastest so far this summer. Chris Lambert (Belgrave Harriers) clocked 20.85 for fifth place in a heat won by JJ Johnson (USA) in 22.33. Baptiste clocked 10.36 seconds for second place in his 100m heat to Saidy Jaysuna (Gambia), who clocked 10.28 (wind speed: +0.2). Lambert was fourth in 10.38 seconds in a heat won by Johnson in 10.24. England Athletics Under 23 200m champion Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC) also clocked 10.38 seconds for second place to Matic Osovnikar (Slovania), who won in 10.33, at Velenje, Slovania.
Back in Lucerne, Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) won his 110m hurdles in 13.76 seconds. William Sharman (Belgrave) clocked 13.78 for fifth place in his heat, won by Yoel Hernandez (Cuba) in 13.42.
Graham Hedman (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was third in his 400m in 46.56, eight-hundredths behind winner Simon Kircg (Germany).
Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was fourth in the Women’s 200m in 23.39 and sixth in the 100m in 11.66. Debbie Fergusaon (Bahamas) won both in 22.73 and 11.12.
Gemma Bennett (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was fourth in 13.40 and Katey Read (Liverpool Harriers) fifth in 13.48 in the 100m hurdles.
Helen Clitheroe (Preston Harriers) continued her acquaintance with the 3000m steeplechase by finishing third in 9:50.62, within half a second of her best yet. Donna MacFarlane (Australia) won in 9:32.90.