24th June 2023


Great Britain and Northern Ireland are fourth in the standings after day two of the European Team Championships in Silesia, Poland.

With one more day of competition to come, day two saw some strong performances from the GB & NI team including a second place for Issy Boffey in the 800m and a PB for Jade Ive in the pole vault.

GB & NI’s top finisher of the day was Issy Boffey (Luke Gunn, Enfield & Haringey) who gave everything as she pursued top points in the women’s 800m, but she had to settle for second overall behind Switzerland’s Audrey Werro – the latter set a world U20 best in the 1000m last week.

Boffey – who has won gold medals at all the age group Championships – set off with intent and followed the moves of Werro who hit the head of the field early on. However, the Swiss athlete moved away in the final 120 metres and there was nothing the Briton could do to close the gap, but she secured 15 points in a time of 2:00.39.

After finishing her two trips around the Silesia Stadium track, Boffey said, “I went out quick, so it spread out quite early, but I put myself in a good position. I am a little disappointed not to get the win, but it is a strong performance that I can be proud of.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so slow at the bell after how fast we went through 200m, but I felt comfortable and confident, and I made the right moves when I needed to.”

There was a spirited performance from Seamus Derbyshire (Nick Dakin, City of Stoke) as he finished third in the 400m hurdles A race – fourth based on times after the heats were amalgamated.

The City of Stoke athlete earned a breakthrough when running for GB & NI at the European Championships last year, and he ran above his ranking in Silesia to earn valuable points for the team. He held off the Belgian Julien Watrin in the closing stages and posted a time of 49.51.

Jade Ive (Brian Hooper, Sutton & District) produced the best performance of her career when it mattered the most as she extended her lifetime best twice in the women’s pole vault competition as she earned fifth place overall.

The 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games champion, Ive, who was a late replacement for Sophie Cook, embraced the opportunity and performed well above her ranking. With first time clearances at 3.90m up to 4.25m, she cleared an outdoor PB of 4.40m at the first time of asking, and then cleared an outright PB on her second attempt at 4.50m.

An ecstatic Ive said, “It has been a long time coming! We have been working on my technique and changing my run – I ran a lot faster than I ever have done today. During the indoor season I was struggling to get on bigger poles, so we knew then that it was time to make a change, and the change has definitely worked. I’ve got this newfound confidence.

“It was two PBs! The outdoor one (4.35m) went first and I thought, ‘I like that’, but I couldn’t believe it when I cleared 4.50m – well I could believe it, I knew it was in there.”

World finalist Joshua Zeller (Adrian Brown, Bracknell) was fifth in the 110m hurdles, in a race won by Jason Joseph (SUI) in a Championship record of 13.12 (0.4). The Briton, in the lane next to Joseph, said afterwards that he struggled to find his rhythm and crossed the line in 13.59 (0.4) to bring home 12 points to the GB & NI team.

Meanwhile, after a very conservative first lap, the men’s 1500m was destined for a burn up over the final 800m. GB & NI’s George Mills (Thomas Dreißigacker, Brighton Phoenix) was in the mix in the battle for top points, but he ultimately took fifth in a time of 3:38.17.

Mills responded to the various attacks from the likes of eventual winner Mohamed Katir (ESP), Isaac Nader (POR) and Niels Laros (NED), but in the final sprint for the line, Mills could not go with them and was just dipped on the line by a fast-finishing Pietro Arese (ITA) so settled for fifth.

Out in the field, Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin, Croydon) threw over 60 metres which saw him end his series in fifth overall. His best effort of 60.93m came in round three which consolidated his place in the top eight to receive at least two more throws. They produced marks in the 59s so he remained in fifth with Daniel Stahl (SWE) winning with 67.25m.

There was another fifth place for GB & NI in the women’s 400m hurdles as Lina Nielsen (Philipp Unfried, Shaftesbury Barnet) clocked a time of 55.36. Germany’s Carolina Krafzik won in a time of 54.47, and Nielsen held off the charge of Czech Republic’s Nikoleta Jichova to add 12 points to the team total.

Earlier in the session, senior debutant Jake Norris (Paul Dickenson, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) stepped up to claim seventh place in a strong field. Norris opened the competition with a throw of 71.93m to settle any potential nerves, and he gradually added to that on his next two throws, the marks been measured at 71.96m and 71.98m. He did not throw further on his next two attempts so ended the competition in seventh, collecting 10 points.

Jack Roach (Lukasz Zawila, Harrow) collected eight points for the team in the men’s long jump as he claimed ninth position after three jumps. A foul on his opening attempt was followed by 7.60m in round two which kept him close to the top eight which would mean progress to two further attempts. However, he was pushed into ninth at the end of round two, and 7.47m was no improvement on his third jump.

Abigail Pawlett (Ashley Bryant, Trafford) was 13th overall in the women’s 100m hurdles in a time of 13.63 (-0.2). After a false start to her heat saw the disqualification of one of the pre-race favourites Ditaji Kambundji (SUI), Pawlett struck the first hurdle which impacted her form throughout the race. The 20-year-old, who will race over the hurdles at the European U23 Championships next month, was racing in her first senior GB & NI vest and collected four points for the team total.

On her senior international debut, Georgina Forde-Wells (Lukasz Zawila, Rugby & Northampton) ended the women’s triple jump in 15th position. After a foul in round one, she secured a 12.57m (-0.1) jump in round two which was her furthest of the competition. She ended it on a foul to bring her series to an end.

There was frustration for the women’s and men’s 4x100m relay teams as both were disqualified for infringements after finishing fourth and second respectively.

The women’s quartet of Cassie-Ann Pemberton (Clarence Callender), Amy Hunt (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood), Alyson Bell (Anne Scott, Glasgow Jaguars) and Aleeya Sibbons (Coral Nourrice, Newham & Essex Beagles) – who will all be racing as part of the relay squad at the European U23 Championships next month – ran well, but a very tight baton infringement (passing the baton outside the takeover zone) on the first changeover resulted in a DQ.

The men’s 4x100m quartet initially finished second behind Germany in 38.44, but a lane infringement on the third leg resulted in a DQ. Jeremiah Azu (Marco Airale, Cardiff) started off well and handed over to Oliver Bromby (Marvin Rowe, Southampton) in the lead. Bromby maintained a good position before handing off to Richard Kilty (Gateshead) for leg three. Tommy Ramdhan (Bexley) brought the team home behind the Germans; however, the team were later disqualified.

The event will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website & app over the three days, and from 14:20 on Sunday 25 June.