14th July 2023


Great Britain and Northern Ireland started day two strongly at the European U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland, with two athletes reaching the podium in the Men’s 5000m as Charles Hicks won gold and Will Barnicoat took home the bronze.

Charles Hicks (Shaftesbury Barnet) led from the early stages, setting a strong pace from the offset. Sitting comfortably at the front of a breakaway group, the two-time European Cross Country U23 champion defied the hot conditions to set the pace. Will Barnicoat (Aldershot Farnham and District) and Henry McLuckie (Geoff Watkin, Shaftesbury Barnet) tucked into the second chasing group for the first 2000m.

It was at the 3200m point where action heated up, with both Barnicoat and McLuckie putting on the pressure and picking off their competitors, stretching out the field, with Hicks still showing no signs of fatigue at the front.

In the last 200m stretch, Hicks extended his lead even further, finishing in 13:35.07 to take gold, while Barnicoat snatched the bronze medal in a personal best time of 13:45.24, while McLuckie finished in a tight chasing group in 13:52.11 for seventh.

After sealing his first European track title, Hicks said, “I felt good and knew that was the best way for me to win that race, to stay at the front. The U23 Championships are a great development opportunity for athletes, so it’s great to be able to use that to its best advantage.”

Barnicoat added, “I felt good, even with the heat, and a lack of sleep last night due to nerves, so I’m really pleased I was able to put in that performance. I feel that I have been developing as an athlete and getting better and better year on year.”

England Athletics U23 Silver medallist, Sam Reardon (Nigel Stickings, Blackheath & Bromley) needed to run a lifetime best to reach the final of the men’s 800m after an outstanding first heat.

Reardon – who has competed for senior GB & NI teams in the 4x400m relay – ran a super race to cross the line in second place and book an automatic place in the final. The time of 1:45.95 improved on his previous best of 1:46.56. Due to the fast nature of the heat, his compatriot, Reece Sharman-Newell (Dave Ragan, Basingstoke & Mid Hants) finished in sixth place in 1:46.75 which was not enough to see him progress.

In a slower heat two, world U20 medallist Ethan Hussey (Andrew Henderson, Leeds City) won his heat comfortably in a time of 1:47.16 to join Reardon in Sunday’s final.

Coming into these Championships off the back of a gold medal at the England Athletics U23 Championships, Hussey said post-race, “I came here to do the job and get myself through to the final, and I did it. I felt good after the England Championships, and knew I had to get myself into a good position early on and now I can look forward to the final.”

First on the track this morning was 400m Hurdler, George Seery (Stewart Marshall) who had a smooth run in heat three, in an extremely close finish, to take the final auto qualification spot in third place in a time of 51.33. The Blackheath and Bromley athlete will be back in semi-final action on Saturday morning.

In the field, there was more good news for the British contingent as Lauren Farley (Mark Chapman, Blackheath & Bromley) advanced to the women’s javelin final. A first round effort of 54.60m saw her earn a top 12 position to progress to a shot at the medals on Sunday.

After ending day one in eighth position, heptathlete Jodie Smith (Ashley Bryant, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) was in long jump action on Friday morning. It was a frustrating series for Smith as she fouled her first two jumps but managed to get a 5.58m (+2.6) jump on the board on her third and final attempt. That took her up to 4144 points but saw her move back to 10th with two events still to come.

Archie Yeo (Lukasz Zawila, Kingston Upon Hill) found the going tough in the men’s triple jump qualification as he did not advance to the final. With a foul on his first attempt, a mark of 15.31m (-0.3) settled the nerves in round two. Knowing he needed at least another centimetre to make it into the top 12, he fouled his third attempt, missing out by the narrowest of margins.

Abigail Pawlett (Ashley Bryant, Trafford) did not finish her 100m hurdles heat after hitting a hurdle and falling so her Championships ended there.

Results can be found here