20 June 2010
Unlike the fans in South Africa there were no “Boo Boys” in Bergen as the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team finished an impressive second overall at the SPAR European Team Championships and gave the travelling contingent of British supporters something to cheer about.
Tipped as favorite coming into the competition Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) delivered to his potential in the 110m hurdles with a blistering win and maximum points for GB&NI. His time of 13:48, compared to his seasons best of 13:37 and personal best of 13:27, shows he has more to give at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Birmingham next week.
He said: “Job done. I was scared in the team meeting this morning when Charles told me he expected nothing less than twelve points. It puts the pressure on but that's good and it's really good to have delivered here for the team.”
Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) ran well in the 1500m against a quality field to finish second with 4:05.70 and keep 11 points. In typical 1500m fashion she bided her time nicely during the first lap, moving towards the front on the second and took advantage of the group split into the third. In the last 60m she did her best to catch the eventual winner from the Ukraine who was a step too far.
“Always gutting to come that close to winning but I felt good and thought I could catch her but I got the points.”
In the final event of the day the men’s 4 x 400m, who deliver the goods at international events year on year, earned the final 11 points for GB&NI as the competition closed at the Fana Stadium.
Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) completed the first lap and delivered the cargo for Richard Buck (Michael Khmel) to make his 400m sprint. Chris Clarke (Nick Dakin) then took over and finally Michael Bingham (Tony Lester / Ken Harnden) held onto second place, earned by the previous three, for the remainder of their campaign.
Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) impressed in the 800m with a second place finish in 1:45.62, producing a valuable 11 points. Drawn in the inside lane, he maneuvered into his position of choice during the first 300m and into second by the bell.
He ran tactically on the shoulder of the Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy but couldn’t reach him despite an attack on the final straight. He said: “I'm pleased with that. I was tactically spot on and that shows I'm learning to be patient. I got the points.”
Phillips Idowu (Aston Moore) took 11 points for GB&NI in the triple jump with his second place performance against a quality field including World Indoor record holder Teddy Tamgho. His first effort of 17.02m and 17.12m third attempt were enough to grant him an extra fourth jump but he overstepped the mark and settled for second place behind Viktor Kuznyetsov (UKR).
“That was below what I would expect but I came here to get points for the team. Now it's heads down to concentrate on getting my timings right for Barcelona.”
Back in her GB&NI vest experienced endurance technician Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey) took control of the 5000m field in the first lap of the race and led for the next eight with only representatives from Germany and Norway for company. The German Sabrina Mockenhaupt took the lead going into the final lap and Pavey chased for the first time, eventually unable to get her advantage back. She finished second banking 11 points for her team.
“I'm really disappointed not to have taken the 12 points there, but it's my first race on the track in two years. I'm grateful to be selected as it is always such an honour to be running for your country.”
In the 200m Leon Baptiste (Michael Khmel) looked to have a hold on the race as the athletes rounded the bend into the home straight. However the field came through as Baptiste tired but he finished a respectable fifth in 20:84m with eight points. “I'm disappointed with that, I tightened up and need to relax more. I've run quicker than that this season.”
Luke Gunn (Bud Baldaro), who finished fifth in the 3000m steeple chase, hung to the front of the group until the counter showed two laps to go. There was a noticeable change in pace at that point and the pack split as a result. Gunn was fifth at the bell and held managed to hold on to the line in spite of oncoming threats.
On her way to full fitness for the outdoor season Emily Freeman (Brian Hall) tested her legs over 200m and finished in fifth with a seasons best of 23:34. With a personal best of 22:64, recorded last year, we can expect more from her going into the European Championships.
The women’s 400m relay quartet made up of Kim Wall (Tony Lester), Nadine Okyere (Joe Caines), Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) and Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) ran well for a fourth place finish and nine points. A good start from Wall, strong return run from Sanders, fine introduction from Okyere and a final push from Shakes Drayton made the race a success. Shakes Drayton said: “I loved that so much. The beast came out in me and as I saw Nicola I just ran and closed down that French girl, I couldn’t let her get the points.”
Steph Pywell (Fuzz Ahmed) began her first senior GB&NI high jump competition in good shape reaching marks of 1.75m and 1.80m with relative ease. Despite her 1.90m clearance at the Loughborough International earlier this season she failed three times at 1.85m but sent a precious four points to her teammates.
Mervyn Luckwell (Esa Utriainen) finished eighth in the javelin and was rewarded with five points for his efforts. He steadily improved through his three throws with a first attempt of 64.25m followed by 68.86m which improved to 71.80m.
Angelita Broadbelt Blake (Michael Afilaka) finished fourth in her110 m hurdles race and eighth overall. The time of 13:33 sent five points into the Royal Bank of GB&NI and showed her to be a safe bet for duty.
Jade Johnson (John Herbert) finished the long jump competition in seventh position out of twelve women. Her best effort of 6.26m was rewarded with six points and gave the team a boost going into the remaining events.
In the shot Rebecca Peake (Bob Weir) made her outing count for her teammates with four points from a ninth place finish. Her event developed from 15.48m to a furthest throw of 15.67m but she was not invited for a fourth throw which resulted in a 19.12m best from Anna Avdeyeva (RUS).
2009 European U23 bronze medallist Sarah Holt (John Pearson) returned to international duty as a senior in the hammer. Her first throw was illegal and she then recorded 55.66m but despite a best of 65.51m already this year the Loughborough based athlete was unable to translate her current form into a legal throw on her third try. She sent one point to the GB&NI bank.
James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend) stepped into Chris Thompson’s shoes when he was taken ill with a viral bug yesterday and finished 11th in the 3000m. It was a big ask for him with such short notice but a credit to him to bring back two points and get his first senior GB&NI vest.
Another senior debutant Brett Morse (Nigel Bevan) finished 11th in the discus, sending back two points for the GB&NI collective. His first throw of 53.66m was followed by 52.58m and improved on his third to 55.09m.
Steve Lewis had an out of character performance in the men’s pole vault but should be back to his best for the summer following a recent coaching change to National Performance Centre Director and world renowned coach Dan Pfaff. Having passed up to 5.05m he then no heighted at 5.25m, normally a breeze for the Newham & Essex athlete, and left the competition early.
A disappointed Lewis said: “I am sorry, so sorry. I feel like I have let the entire team down. This year, with a change of coach, was always going to be a transition year for me, and if this was an individual competition I would be OK and be able to just take lessons, but this was more important than that.
“I have changed my whole approach and that's going to take time to settle down as I concentrate on not falling back into old habits. This was always going to be a two year project to get me up to six metres I'm just sorry I let my team down on the way.”
Aviva GB&NI athletes will compete at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships on 25-27 June in Birmingham.
For Tickets Visit:http://www.uka.org.uk/uka-major-events/2010/aviva-european-trials-and-uk-championships/