21st July 2019


Seamus Derbyshire (coach: Nick Dakin; club: City of Stoke) and British team co-captain Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover) added more medals to the British tally and the women’s 4x100m clocked a European U20 lead on the final morning of action at the European Under-20 Championships.

400m hurdles specialist Derbyshire clocked an impressive 50.86s on his way to a silver medal behind Sweden’s Carl Bengtstrom, who cut the tape in 50.32s. He blasted away for the first 200m and kept on accelerating as he closed on the line, earning Great Britain & Northern Ireland their first medal of the morning session.

After the race, Derbyshire said: “I felt great and I got out hard which was what I needed to do and I knew coming into the home straight I had the kick and I could keep pushing on. I knew once I got over hurdle seven I was in a medal position and that a medal was mine. I felt so strong coming into the home straight and to finally break 51 seconds is an amazing feeling as well.

“Two years ago I won Commonwealth Youth Games silver and I knew that two years later, I wanted to do at least the same at the Europeans and to achieve that with a PB, I’m so happy with what I’ve done.

“I was so close to my PB in the semis and didn’t know how much more I had to give today but as soon as I got on the start line, I knew I could PB again today, I don’t know how it happened but it did.”

Mills added the second British medal of the morning soon after as she took third spot in the women’s long jump with a 6.50m (-1.0) effort that was just once centimetre off her lifetime best.

In deteriorating conditions, Mills put together a strong series that placed her top after the first three rounds of jumps, but fifth round efforts of 6.58m (1.2) and 6.52M (-0.5) from Larissa Iapichino (ITA) and Tilde Johansson (SWE) respectively saw them edge Mills into third.

Teammate Josie Oliarnyk (Dominic McNiellis; Halesowen) also excelled in the testing conditions, finishing the competition in seventh position with a best attempt of 6.14m (0.4) in the second round.

Afterwards, Mills said: “I feel incredible. I went into this competition ranked third and the two girls that finished above me have PBs that are 20cm above mine. I went in ranked third and I’ve come out with a bronze. I’ve executed my competition and put together one of my best series of jumps I’ve ever had.

“To perform like that into a headwind and the rain after doing the heptathlon two days ago, I didn’t expect to perform like that and it was only a fraction between bronze and gold but I’m over the moon to have a medal.

“The heptathlon was gutting to come fourth but having reflected on it I’m pleased with it but to bring myself back, refocus and get my body onto the runway I’m over the moon with that. I get to stand on the podium after a really tough year last year and I feel great.

“The last four days have been tiring and I’ve barely had any sleep and my legs have got through it. I didn’t expect to jump that far so I’m grateful to my legs for that. The competition has been tiring, but so exciting.”

The women’s 4x100m relay team of Cassie-Ann Pemberton (Sharon Morris; Birchfield), Amy Hunt (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood), Georgina Adam (Jonas Dodoo; Loughborough Students) and Immanuela Aliu (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) qualified fastest for tonight’s final in 44.06s, setting a European U20 lead in the process.

A series of slick changeovers saw the British team win by nearly six tenths from their nearest rivals and the team felt they had more to come in the final tonight.

Hunt said: “That felt incredibly quick and so slick when we were out there. We’ve put in so much work towards this and to see it all pay off with these girls is incredible and makes the time even more special.

“The speed that we all showed on our legs was insane and the technique in the changes was beautiful and you can’t ask for more in the heats.”

Adam added: “I know that she comes in fast and all I had in my head was getting out as quick as I could and make sure my hand was ready to pass it on safely and keep up the good work that had gone before.

“Our team is good individually but as a team we were even better and we’re even stronger than we showed there.”

The men’s four of Tobi Ogunkanmi (Peter Griffiths; Watford), Fraser Angus (Ryan McAllister; Giffnock North), Praise Olatoke (Colin Sinclair; Kilbarchan) and Sagesse Nguie (Derek Fraser; Trafford) also booked their place in tonight’s final in a season’s best mark of 39.92s.

Nguie added afterwards: “To be honest, I think that was a great leg. I did try to go do the best for the team and ensure we get through to the final. There’s more to come from this team and we have to go even harder in the final tonight.”

British co-captain James Tomlinson (Paul Jensen; Pembrokeshire) ended his championships in fifth place, following a best of 60.01m in the final round. The Welshman improved with each of his first three throws, before breaking the 60.00m line for the second time this season with his last attempt in the competition.

He commented: “The approach I took at the start was maybe too relaxed because I was throwing way below what I wanted and I didn’t feel like I was giving it 100% until the last round, then something switched in my head and I was like ‘let’s just go for this’.

“I cannot be disappointed with that, I gave it my all at the end and left everything out there and I cannot ask for more than that. It’s a good place to break the 60.00m mark again and that’s not a small throw by any means.

“To captain this team has been awesome, the whole team has been astonishing at the championships and I had to try give it my all at the end, just like Issy Boffey did, just like Chad did on day one. The team have been amazing.”

On the track, Saskia Millard (Luke Gunn; Herne Hill) earned herself a fifth-place finish in a tactical women’s 3000m final, stopping the clock in 9:33.27 having been in the leading group for long spells. Eloise Walker (John Lees; Edinburgh) crossed the line 11th in 9:45.19.

Sarah Omorergie (Gareth Lease; Cardiff) ended the women’s shot put competition in tenth place with a second-round attempt of 14.69m the best effort of her series.