6th July 2018

BENNETT EQUALS BRITISH U18 RECORD IN HUNGARY

Commonwealth Youth champion Sam Bennett (coach: Sam Surety, club: Basildon) progressed to the semi-finals stage of the boys 110m hurdles in superb style, equalling Jack Meredith’s British U18 record in the process.

Bennett powered out of the blocks and glided over the hurdles to set a time of 13.33 (+1.7 m/s); initially a championship record before it was broken again by Frenchman Kenny Fletcher in the final heat – his time 13.30 (+2.0).

However, Bennett was very pleased with his progression through the heats, particularly with his quickest ever time.

He said: “I haven’t run a PB for over a year so I didn’t know what to expect. I treat every race as a final – I want to do my best in each round. I ran through to the line there. Some athletes don’t do but I think it prepares me well for the races to come and shows other people what I am capable of. Maybe it puts a little bit of fear into them as well.”

In the first heat, Jordan Ricketts (Anthony Pitt, Birchfield Harriers) advanced to the semi-final stage, albeit it after a scrappy race from the whole field. A false start led to a pensive start on the second attempt. However, Ricketts had enough to finish third – within the top four automatic qualifier slots – in a time of 14.10 (+2.4).

Another athlete to set a personal best was Karl Johnson (Tony Jarrett, Newham & Essex Beagles) in the 400m hurdles heats. The Londoner has been in fine form in recent weeks and he brought it to the Gyor track on Friday morning.

With a tough headwind down the back straight, Johnson attacked it early on which broke up the rest of the field. He had enough in the tank to control it down the home straight, holding on for the heat victory in 52.56. such is his pedigree, he has a faster PB over the senior height hurdles (52.43). However, over the U18 height, he chopped almost half a second off his previous best.

A delighted Johnson spoke afterwards: “This is such a good champs and I’m so happy to be here. I’ve been working so hard over the months building up to this and I wanted it all to be worth it, and it really was. I want to get through the semis and into the final. A medal would be nice but I take it race by race.

“I was told there was a heavy wind on the back straight so I made sure I hit it hard so I could control the race from 200m so I geared down from the 100m mark to try and conserve energy. I knew I had enough to kick again if needed.”

In the women’s equivalent, Jasmine Jolly (Peter Crook, Preston) progressed to the semi-finals, just pipped on the line for second place, recording a time of 60.67.

World U18 leader in the boys 800m, Max Burgin (Brian Burgin, Halifax Harriers), produced a confident run to book his place in the semi-finals. The quickest in the field after his U15 world record (1:47.50) earlier this year, Burgin hit the front at the 200m mark and never looked troubled, crossing the line triumphantly in 1:53.23.

He said after: “Perhaps I was a bit naïve as I thought I might be able to run the heat without having to take it on myself but I realised at 200m that I was going to have to kick on and do it myself. I speeded it up and it ended up been a safe win.

“I want to do my best at these champs. I think I’m capable of doing very well here but I can only take it one step at a time. I’ve still got a semi-final to come yet. I’m not thinking much about the final yet.”

On his set-up by in the UK, he added: “It’s a very tight-knit set up at my club. I’m coached by my grandad and my dad – it’s useful having your family as your coaches. And the track is about 300m from my house so that is very useful indeed.”

Navigating her way into the final with ease, Emily Williams (Shane Smith, Kettering) produced a solid performance to place second and qualify for Sunday’s girls 1500m final.

Williams – whose PB came at a BMC meeting at Sportcity back in May – sat at the head of the field for much of the race. The pack remained very bunched until the bell rang for the final lap when a few started to make their move, including the Briton.

Williams initially followed the quick attack by the German Antje Pfuller but she bided her time, eventually overhauling her on the home straight to finish second in 4:34.62.

A first-round effort of 16.47m saw Serena Vincent (Bronwin Carter, City of Portsmouth) qualify for the final of the shot put (3kg) final. She was the first athlete to exceed the automatic qualifying distance of 16m in group B, completing the task in quick time.

Her compatriot Hannah Molyneaux (Malcolm Fenton, Sheffield & Dearne) also progressed to Sunday’s final as one of the best performers outside the 16m mark. She improved round on round, her third attempt 15.62m moved her to the top twelve.

Full results

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