15th July 2017
Agyapong wins 200m Gold Amid Four Medal Haul For British Under 23 team
Finette Agyapong (coach: Coral Nourrice) rated herself only as final hope ahead of the Euro U23 Championships in Poland – then surprised the Bydgoszcz crowd by claiming the Women’s 200m gold in superb style.
Agyapong did so after PB performances in the heat and the semi-final and rounded it off with a golden run in the final in 22.87 sec to win from Swiss and Ukrainian rivals.
It put late evening gloss on a day when Britain added four medals to their tally in Bydgoszcz with a silver for Khai Riley-LaBorde (Ray Gibbins/Richard Turner) in the sprint hurdles and bronzes for 800m runner Hannah Segrave (Chris Layne) and pole vaulter Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson)
‘This is way beyond what I was hoping for this week,’ said Agyapong, with team-mate Ama Pipi fifth in 23.41.
‘I came in thinking I could make the final but there were a few athletes with faster PBs than mine. As it happened, I ran a good PB in the heat on Friday and then another one on Saturday in the semi-final (22.86).
‘I can’t believe I’ve won it and gone close to that PB in the final – when the conditions were not quite as good as before. It just feels great and I didn’t really know what to do with the Union Jack flag!’
Patched-up Khai Riley-La Borde (Ray Gibbins/Richard Turner) had started the British medal haul for Saturday with silver in the 100m Hurdles.
Riley La-Borde had a groin injury which only healed in time for the British champs and he thanked the British Athletics physios here for helping him to silver.
‘I want to thank my coach, my family and all the team out here for putting me together for this,’ said Khai, after his 13.65 earned silver by one hundredth. Team-mate James Weaver (Laura Turner-Alleyne) was fourth with a PB of 13.75.
‘If it wasn’t for them believing in me, I would not have raced. I’m only just starting to feel like I can run somewhere near my best so I am absolutely delighted to come away with silver.
‘My groin was inflamed and it restricted movements. So it is great to be back. James ran so well for a PB (13.75), too, and he can be hard on himself at times. I think he’s got this Euro U23 title come two years from now, I really do.’
Segrave added to that with a hard-earned bronze in the 800m final – with the athlete from Middlesbrough holding her form on the home straight to make it home in 2.05.53 just behind Renee Eykjens and silver medallist Anita Henriksdottir.
‘I’m delighted with that because the goal coming here was to get among the medals,’ said Hannah.
‘We thought I had a chance and, while it was another scrappy race like the heat, I felt at 500m and 600m I had to move up to be involved. Thankfully I managed to keep it going and get the bronze.
‘I know we’ve had a lot of fourth places in the past couple of days so you treasure moments like the Medal Ceremony and I’m pleased my coach is over here to see that.’
Bryan was always in the hunt in the pole vault final and came away with bronze thanks to a 4.40m clearance which matched her PB.
‘I am thrilled to get a medal here and to do it with an equal PB just makes it even better,’ said Lucy.
‘It was a long comp but I had some good clearances in there. Beforehand, I thought I would be about seventh but Alan (Richardson) my coach told me the worst I would get would be fourth.’
As Bryan celebrated, there was physical and mental pain for Alex George (Paul de Camps) as he was barged over 50m from the bell in the 5000m final.
In the Men’s 1500m final, there was a fourth for Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas) in 3.49.53 as Robbie Fitzgibbon (Jon Bigg), who had set the pace for a spell, home in eighth in 3.50.07.
‘I made the wrong decisions there and I am furious with myself,’ said Gourley, fourth at the British Champs earlier this month.
‘The gaps didn’t appear as I had hoped to get out when I hoped. Actually I should have just been true to my tactics and gone to the back for a bit and worked it from there. It’s pretty frustrating but I will just have to pick myself up.’
Moments after that final came the Women’s 100m Hurdles – and another fourth place for GB.
Yasmin Miller (Robert Smith) was ‘gutted’ to clock 13.32 and finish fourth just as she did in the World Juniors in Oregon previously.
‘I’m gutted with that and can’t believe it has happened again. I smacked one in the mid-part of the race and that cost me. I’d started well and came back but I should have been on the rostrum today.’
The 400m finals almost went the same way. Cameron Chalmers (James Hiller) did indeed finish fourth as he recorded 46.29 but couldn’t quite get in touch with the top three on the home straight.
That came after Laviai Neilsen (Frank Adams) had threatened for glory in the Women’s final before being run into fifth close to the line.
In the Women’s 3000m steeplechase final, Aimee Pratt (Vicente Modahl) finished 14th in 10.28.64. Jess Turner (Nick Dakin) reached the 400m Hurdles final with a semi-final run of 57.32 for third place.Following her through to a final on Sunday were Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong) and Jack Lawrie (Roy Buchanan) in the Men’s – with 49.85 and 50.46 respectively.
The men’s 4 x 400m team safely came through their heat with second place in 3.06.20 thanks to the efforts of Lee Thompson (John Henson), Ben Snaith (Mick Graham), Sam Hazel (Jane Dixon) and Tom Somers (Benke Blomkvist).
Decathlete Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson) saw his dream die in Bydgoszcz – as he suffered a hamstring injury on his second attempt at the long jump. With 973 points banked from the 100m sprint, Duckworth already felt he had the London World Championships qualifying standard of 8100 in his sights.
‘That’s gone now and my season is over,’ he said. ‘I pulled my hamstring just before take-off on the second jump. It’s hard to take as with a PB of 7973 – and I was banged up towards the end of that one – then I felt I could make the World Champs standard here. The sprint had been a good start but now this is the first time I’ve not finished a decathlon.’
With one more day of competition to go the British team currently sit in fourth in medal table with 2 gold 1 silver and 2 bronze.
Medals so far:
Gold: Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Dodoo) 100m; Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) 200m
Silver: Khai Riley-La Border (Ray Gibbins/Richard Turner) 100m Hurdles
Bronze: Hannah Segrave (Chris Layne) 800m; Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson) pole vault