18th July 2019


British team co-captain Holly Mills (coach: Laura Turner-Alleyne; club: Andover) leads the heptathlon after two events and 10 Brits successfully qualified from their heats on first morning of action at the European Under-20 Championships in Boras, Sweden.

Mills clocked 13.45s (-2.5) for the fastest time from the 100m hurdles and then followed it up with a personal best mark in the high jump of 1.78m to retain her lead, finishing the morning session with 2011 points to her name.

Teammate Amaya Scott-Rule (Matthew Watson; Southampton) set a personal best mark in the 100m hurdles of 14.46s (-1.0) and a 1.75m effort puts her in seventh position, while Olivia Dobson’s (Exeter) 15.39 (-1.0) 100m hurdles time and 1.72m clearance in the high jump puts her 16th overall.

In total, five Brits successfully navigated their qualifying rounds as winners, led by European U20 100m leader Jeremiah Azu (Helen James; Cardiff), who signalled his intent as he qualified fastest for tonight’s 100m semi-finals in 10.56 (-0.9).

Azu had already seen teammates Tobi Ogunkanmi (Peter Griffiths; Watford) and world junior semi-finalist Chad Miller (Ryan Freckleton; Hercules Wimbledon) qualify for the semis in 10.94 (-4.1) & 10.67s (-0.8) respectively and blasted out of the blocks before winding down in the closing stages for victory.

After his race, Azu said: “It was a good run and I just had to make sure to qualify. I pushed out quite hard and then let go at 50m. I was watching the big screen and saw that I was quite a way ahead and so I eased.

“Coming into it as fastest gives you the blue bib and it adds more pressure to me, but I thrive off pressure and I’ll do what I know I can do. I feel like having the blue bib puts more fear into other people and doesn’t affect me at all.

“To me, I see it as running against myself and I’m not bothered about what anyone else does. The aim now is just to make the final after tonight’s semis.”

Immanuela Aliu (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) followed suit in the women’s 100m, qualifying in 11.57s (0.8) from lane eight and producing a strong last 20m to take the win.

110m hurdles European leader Joshua Zeller (Adrian Brown; Bracknell AC) made light work of progressing into tomorrow’s semi-finals, cruising to victory in 13.60s (0.1) in the first heat. A near-perfect run from Zeller saw him cross the line with a healthy winning margin and assured of a spot in the semi-final.

Fellow Brit Jack Sumners (Paul Bearman; Stratford-upon-Avon), overcame incredibly blustery conditions to take second place in his heat, clocking 13.66s (4.0) in blustery conditions and put himself in the semi-finals.

After safely progressing into the final, Zeller added: “I felt great, I did exactly what I came to do in the heat and I knew I was more than capable of qualifying for tomorrow. I came out, did the job I was thinking about and now I can focus on tomorrow’s race.

“I’ve done a lot of work with my coach Adrian Brown since last season when I hit a few hurdles in my world junior semi-final and unfortunately I got eliminated there, but I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I come here confident and ready.”

One-lap specialists Amber Anning (Lloyd Cowan; Brighton & Hove) and Louise Evans (Linford Christie; Blackheath & Bromley) rounded off the British action on the track by safely making it into the semi-finals of the women’s 400m.

Anning recorded the second-fastest time of the day as she eased to victory in 53.68s from lane eight, with Evans second in her heat with a 54.20s clocking, aided by a strong run along the back straight.

After her race, Anning said: “It was a good performance out there and the plan was to stay nice and relaxed to make sure I qualified for the semi-finals tomorrow.

“The conditions were hot out there on the track but we’ll see how they change tomorrow. I told my coach I wanted to get to 150m fast and then cruise through and I did the job. Now I have to up it in the semi-finals so I can qualify for the final with a good lane.

Shot putter Lewis Byng (Stuart Carlaw; Stratford-upon-Avon) led the performances in the field as he finished fifth in his pool with a first-round mark of 18.61m that guaranteed him a spot in the final.

Byng stuck to his plan and delivered his best mark at the first time of asking and feels he has more to offer in tomorrow’s final.

He said: “I came in hoping to throw the biggest opener I could and I managed to do that and it was good enough to see me through the qualifying rounds. “Last year I came seventh in the final of the European Under-18 Championships with a standing throw and this year I’m hoping that I can prove myself as an under-20 here in Boras.

After a nervous wait, Bayley Campbell (Paul Dickenson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) secured his place in the final of the men’s hammer as one of the best 12 athletes with a 69.76m first-round effort that saw him occupy the final qualification place.

Teammate Ben Hawkes (Eric Hawkes; Worthing) fell agonisingly short of making the final, finishing in 13th place with a best of 69.68m, which he delivered in the second round. Lily Hulland (Paco Montesinos; Trafford) unfortunately bowed out of the women’s triple jump having failed to record a legal mark.