12th July 2019


Team captain Morgan Lake (club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow; coach: Fuzz Caan) led by example as another six British athletes qualified on a wet second morning at the European Under-23 Championships, maintaining GB&NI’s great start in Gavle.

Lake, named as Co-Captain of the 56-strong British team earlier this week, needed just one attempt to progress to the women’s high jump final while Alex Knibbs (Amber Valley & Erewash; Nick Dakin) won his heat in the 400m hurdles to follow suit.

European junior champion Jemma Reekie (Kilbarchan; Andy Young) in the women’s 1500m, Divine Oladipo (Blackheath & Bromley; John Hillier) in the women’s shot, Jake Norris (WSEH; Paul Dickenson) in the men’s hammer and Spencer Thomas (Brighton Phoenix; Jon Bigg) in the men’s 800m all also comfortably advanced.

Olympic finalist from Rio 2016, Lake, had to wait to enter in the women’s high jump, skipping at 1.68m and 1.73m, and looked extremely good when she finally took to 1.78m, clearing with ease to cruise into tomorrow evening’s final.

Lake said: “It was a very long competition, very wet and very cold but I felt good in that one jump so hopefully I can take that forward. One jump is fine, it is always good to save it for the final. I have a lot left in my body, which is good, and I can now recover and get ready for the final. You have to keep your focus [when waiting]. I try and rehearse my run up over and over again, I am always switched on during competitions and I also try and keep as warm as possible.”

Knibbs was the first Brit to take to the track on day two and finished strongly to win the fourth of four heats in the men’s 400m hurdles. After a steady start through 200m, Knibbs pushed himself over the final two hurdles to take victory in 51.24 for fifth overall going into the semi-finals.

Knibbs said: “The temperature was alright but the rain was in my face, the track felt really good though. I was a bit behind so I had to push it, I wanted to get a good lane for the semi-finals so I pushed it a little bit at the end as well. I was a bit scared about the back straight with my stride and I’ll look to be quicker in the first 200m tomorrow.”

Reekie, already through to the women’s 800m final, was back out for the 1500m heats and ran maturely and strongly to guarantee a second medal showdown. Far quicker than the first heat, Reekie looked comfortable and strung the field out before slowing down with qualification assured – finishing second in 4:21.35.

World junior champion Norris was the first Brit in action on day two, placed in Group A of qualifying for the hammer, and looked good as he progressed from 69.09m to 69.47m with his first two attempts but just before his final throw, a foul from France’s Yann Chaussinand damaged the cage.

Norris failed his final attempt after a lengthy delay and, with automatic qualification set at 70.50m, was made to wait for his place in the medal showdown to be confirmed, which it was – his 69.47m placing him seventh overall.

He said: “Things happen but I didn’t expect that to happen [the cage breaking]. I tried to keep warm during the delay and tried to keep my mind set. I was really ready to go into that third throw and I tried to keep that feeling up but I couldn’t keep it for such a long time. My first throw was easy, which I’m happy about, and I wish I turned it on a little bit more in the second so that I could have automatically qualified.”

Thomas is the sole British entrant in the men’s 800m and kept himself out of trouble in the first of two heats. He did enough down the home straight to finish third in 1:49.12 and automatically qualify for the final. He said: “I didn’t want to get caught in a pack and stuck in the rain. With rain all over my face, I wanted to run smooth and make the final. I think a medal is possible in the final.”

Oladipo was the last Brit out and hit the automatic qualifying mark of 16m in the women’s shot put with her first throw of 16.15m – making it six out of six advancing in the morning session and 25 overall, plus one bronze, for the British team.

Action continues this afternoon from 15:26 BST. The timetable for the championships can be found via https://bit.ly/2JurM5T.

British Athletics medal tally (1):


Emile Cairess – Men’s 10,000m