16th July 2017

Men’s 4x400m Relay Crown Strong Week at Under 23s

The British Athletics Euro Under 23 Championships final medal tally reached double figures in Bydgoszcz with a trio of strong individual performances – and two fine runs by the Men’s Relay teams.

Cameron Chalmers (coach: James Hillier) anchored home the British 4 x 400m quartet to gold at 3.03.65 in the last event of the championships in what was a superb team effort.

And the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay team were desperately close to gold, too, as they lost out to Germany in a photo finish with the same time of 39.11 but had to settle for silver.

It all ensured the British team finished with 10 medals in total – three golds, four silver and three bronze – and level second place with Poland in a medal table topped by Germany. No fewer than 16 British athletes brought home precious cargo from Poland.

There were silver medals on Sunday for 400m hurdler Jess Turner (Nick Dakin) and 800m runner Daniel Rowden (Richard Thurston/John Stow) with fine performances. Jamaine Coleman (Andy Bibby) added to that with a steeplechase bronze.

In that last relay event, Lee Thompson (John Henson) gave the 4 x 400m team a great start and Ben Snaith (Mick Graham) stretched the lead for Sam Hazel (Jane Dixon). Chalmers, team captain here and named for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 last Tuesday, had Poland bearing down on him but held off the challenge in fine fashion.

‘We’re delighted with that and to be European under 23 champions is brilliant for the lads in the team and the whole team, really,’ said the Guernsey 400m runner, as home favourites Poland were left with silver.

‘I had a look on the screen on the back straight and Poland were right there so I was determined to kick a little and not give them any hope. When I turned into the home straight there was no way they were getting beyond us.’

Snaith said: ‘I’ve been told an unoffical split of 46.00 and I’ve never run anywhere near that in my life! It was the adrenaline, what a team effort it was.

‘I felt if we ran as we did on Saturday and had Cameron on the final leg then we could win it and that’s what happened. To beat the Poles in their home stadium was extra special.’

The men’s 4 x 100m Relay team of Theo Etienne (Ryan Freckleton), Kyle De Escofet (Andy Paul), Rueben Arthur (Ryan Freckleton) and Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Dodoo) were just edged out of gold in a photo finish with Germany.

Both teams recorded 39.11 as Edoburun, the 100m gold medallist here, dipped for the line with his rival and then had an agonising wait until the result came up.

Meanwhile, Turner had come through two rounds for the first time in her career to reach the 400m Hurdles final and then stayed superbly ‘in the zone’ in lane nine on the outside of the field. Her PB had been 56.68 coming into Bydgoszcz but she smashed that with 56.08 in the final as Italian Avomide Folorunso took gold.

‘I thought I could get in the mix but knew it would take a fantastic run and probably a PB,’ said the 21-year-old from Derbyshire.

‘I just had to run my heart out and I did! I was in lane nine on the outside so just pushed as hard as I could from there.

‘I clipped the last hurdle a bit then dipped on the line. When it really mattered, I pushed at the end and to get such a big PB, after three races, is very satisfying indeed.

‘As I crossed the line I wasn’t sure if I had the silver until I saw the result on the screen and my mum and dad going crazy with a flag up in the stand.

‘I was named captain with Cameron earlier this week and that was a huge honour. I know a lot of the athletes here over the years and have friends in the team. I am sure a few will grow from this experience.’

Silver was the colour, also, for 800m runner Daniel Rowden in 1.48.16 as Swedish athlete, Andreas Kramer, took the win by one hundredth of a second in 1.48.15.

‘I’m delighted to win silver and represent GB on the podium,’ said Rowden, from Essex. ‘I was at Euro Junior and World Junior championships and each time made the semi-final but not the final. So this feels a lot different.

‘At the bell I was seventh but I could have won that out there. I was tripped slightly with about 120m to go as was really trying to go for gold. I should have dived over the line but my head couldn’t quite compute that!

‘But I’ve raced it well, I think, because people went out crazy-fast and I thought it best to let them. Celebrating with my family in the crowd and the lap of honour was great.’

Coleman, from Preston, went into the 3000m steeplechase final among the medal contenders – and duly came away with bronze in 8.40.44.

‘It’s such an honour to represent GB at this and it’s the sweetest feeling to wear the vest,’ said Jamaine, with his British team-mate Daniel Jarvis (Mick Jones) 12th in 9.03.07.

‘I went out strongly because I believed I could win but the guy went away. Then it was a battle between three athletes for two medals.

‘I have taken 19 seconds off my PB this year and everything was geared for this. I actually made up a word document on new year’s day titled ‘All In For Europeans’ – and I’ve worked every day in 2017 towards that goal.’

Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong) took fifth place in the Men’s 400m Hurdles final with 49.98 as team-mate Jack Lawrie (Roy Buchanan) finished seventh in 50.60.

‘I’m not too disappointed with that,’ said Jacob. ‘I would love to be in the medals but I felt I ran a good race and the guys were just quicker on the day. There is a lot I can take away from here: the honour of representing GB at a championships and the fact I ran under 50 seconds two days in a row.

‘I spent four years working to get under 50 seconds and now that’s five times this year so the consistency is starting to come – and I can push on from there.’

Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark) was in the 1500m final and finished fifth in 4.19.16.

‘I will take that because after no track season in 2016 it’s been a big effort to actually be here. I used the cross country season to get my fitness back and then made the standard for the Euro Under 23s. I had a go for the bronze but when the Polish athlete kicked again with about 200m to go I couldn’t get to her.’

On the field, pole vaulter Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy) saw his final end in 11th place with 5.20m his best clearance.

In the women’s 4 x 400m, the team featured Lina Nielsen (Frank Adams), Laviai Nielsen (Frank Adams), hurdles medallist Turner and Cheriece Hylton (Ryan Freckleton).

Unfortunately they were run into fourth place – the ninth fourth place finish for Britain in these champs – as hosts Poland edged Germany and Ukraine. Anchor runner Hylton had physical pain, too, taking a spike injury that required treatment right after the race’s conclusion.

Unfortunately, the Women’s 4 x 100m team went out in the heat after a changeover error between the second and third legs – but the quartet of Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) Ama Pipi (Ronnye Harrison), Clieo Stephenson (Laura Turner-Alleyne) and Diani Walker (Lloyd Cowan) will come back stronger after their disappointment.

The Final British Team Medal tally in Bydgoszcz:

Gold:Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Dodoo) 100m; Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) 200m; Men’s 4 x 400m Lee Thompson (John Henson), Ben Snaith (Mick Graham), Sam Hazel (Jane Dixon), Cameron Chalmers (James Hillier).
Silver: Khai Riley-La Borde (Ray Gibbins/Richard Turner) 110m Hurdles; Jess Turner (Nick Dakin) 400m Hurdles; Daniel Rowden (Richard Thurston/John Stow) 800m; 4 x 100m Theo Etienne (Ryan Freckleton), Kyle De Escofet (Andy Paul), Rueben Arthur (Ryan Freckleton) and Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Dodoo).
Hannah Segrave (Chris Layne) 800m; Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson) pole vault; Jamaine Coleman (Andy Bibby) 3000m steeplechase)