19th July 2019


Great Britain & Northern Ireland won their first medal of the European Under-20 Championships on day two, as 100m sprinter Chad Miller (coach: Ryan Freckleton; club: Hercules Wimbledon) took bronze, while there were two agonising fourth-place finishes in the women’s 100m and heptathlon for the British contingent.

Lunging for the line, Miller narrowly earned his place on the podium by 0.02s with a 10.53s clocking. He started well and was always in contention as the race unfolded but as his teammate Jeremiah Azu’s (Helen James; Cardiff) championships sadly ended in disappointment after pulling up with a hamstring injury, Miller pushed to the line and grabbed his first European medal.

Miller said: “I am really, really happy. It is a battle. At championships you don’t look for times, you look to fight, it’s war. I got out well, didn’t have the best transition but as I said it’s war. I can’t even remember it. I was fighting to get back and then I just went in for the dip. I didn’t know where I came – but third I’ll take.

“Bronze is very special, it is my first Great Britain medal, I wanted gold, but I thank God for everything – first or last. I wasn’t healthy a few weeks back, so I just have to take things as they come and keep rolling with it.

“Junior athletics isn’t about being the best now, it is about developing us and being the best later on, so I am taking everything as it comes. Every competition, racing people from all over the world, being in call rooms, having to do anti-doping – these different things develop you and help you so much.”

In the women’s equivalent, Immanuela Aliu (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) ran a solid race to finish fourth in 11.60 (+0.8), just 0.01s outside the medal places. The middle stage of her race moved into medal contention, and although it appeared tight to the naked eye on the line, Spain’s Jael Bestue just squeezed into the bronze medal position ahead of the Briton.

After her final, Aliu added: “I am not mad at it. I am happy to be here and grateful that I got the chance to represent my country and hopefully there will be many more opportunities for me to prove myself. It is a pity to just miss out on a medal but it happens.

“The girls came out before me, so my start was a bit slow. I was playing catch up a little bit and when you are running at Europeans you don’t want to play catch up. That let me down a bit, so I will go home and work on my start a bit and come back stronger.”

British co-captain Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover) ended the heptathlon competition in fourth place in a brand-new personal best of 5802 points, after a thrilling finale to the two-day event. Britain’s Amaya Scott-Rule (Matthew Watson; Southampton) also revised her career best to 5486 points in seventh position overall, while Olivia Dobson (Exeter) took 16th in 5209 points

Earlier in the day, Mills had regained control of the women’s heptathlon with the best jump of the competition, a 6.30m (-1.3) first-round effort, taking her total to 4506 points and opening up a 14-point lead with two events remaining.

Although a solid javelin throw of 32.73m was close to her PB, the three soon-to-be leaders opened up a lead on the Briton, a stunning throw of 52.92m from Ireland’s Kate O’Connor, couple with other results, saw Mills move into fourth. And despite a valiant effort in the 800m, the margins were too big to make up on the top three, but she ended her heptathlon with a career best, while Spain’s Maria Vicente won in a national U20 record of 6115 points.

Mills said post-event: “I went through in the time I needed to [at 400m] but I went to kick, and it just wasn’t there. It’s the first time it has ever happened that I haven’t been able to kick. I took a risk and it didn’t pay off, but I wouldn’t change it because I wouldn’t have wanted to run the first lap any slower.

“This is my second ever heptathlon so to come here amongst Europe’s best athletes has been a great two days. It’s been a competition of highs and lows, but I’ve enjoyed it. There’s room for so much more improvement but on my second heptathlon I’m so much closer to 6000 points, so I can’t complain too much.”

Scott-Rule had earlier added a 5.77m (0.2) effort to her tally as she maintained her position in fifth on 4223 points, while Dobson ended the morning 19th in the standings after five events, with a 5.41m (0.3) best in the long jump, moving onto 3739 points. The pair threw 35.64m and 44.86m respectively, the Exeter athlete gaining some valuable points.

Following the 800m, Scott-Rule’s 2:31.11 left her on a lifetime best and seventh in Europe, a standout result at her first major age-group championship. For Dobson, 2:28.72 left her on 5209 points for 16th.

Scott-Rule said: “It’s been amazing; such a learning curve. I’ve loved every bit of it. I can’t say that I’ve had a bad event – although I wanted a little more from the 800m. I had three PBs yesterday which was great.”

Lewis Byng (Stuart Carlaw; Stratford-upon-Avon) earned a top eight place in the men’s shot put. The first Briton to compete in the event at the European Under-20 Championships in over 30 years, he opened with three progressively bigger throws, his third of 18.70m earning him a further three attempts. Although there was no improvement to the distance, he settled for eighth position.

Two British representatives went in the men’s long jump final, with Stephen McKenzie (Linda Nicholson; Pitreavie) and Alessandro Schenini (David Watson; Giffnock North) ending the competition in tenth and 11th respectively.

In deteriorating weather conditions, the pair struggled with fouls, Schenini only marking one attempt on his scorecard, 6.92m (-1.2) on his third effort. For the Pitreavie athlete, he also jumped his furthest mark on the third leap, but 7.07m (+0.6) was not enough to extend his competition to a further three jumps. France’s Jules Pommery won the event with a best of 7.83m.

All three Brits advanced to the semi-final stage of the women’s 200m, with Amy Hunt (Joe McDonnell; Charnwood) and Georgina Adam (Jonas Dodoo; Loughborough Students) going through as fastest and second fastest respectively, while Hannah Kelly (Les Hall; Bolton) also went through as an automatic qualifier.

Hunt – the European U20 leader – impressed from lane eight, having enough of a lead to comfortably ease across the line and win her heat in 23.23 (+0.9).

She said: “It’s nice to go through as the fastest qualifier, I think having set my European leading time in Mannheim I’ve got a bit of a target on my back and everyone’s out to get me, but I like that added pressure and I think I thrive off that.

“Having the blue bib is really nice, I’ve not had it before but it’s almost nice to be the one that everyone is aiming to beat. It’s about getting the job done in the semis and moving on to the final.”

Adam similarly won her heat, the time 23.66 (+1.9), another solid run to put her among the contenders for the medals on Saturday. Kelly was third in heat two, recording 24.16 (+0.2), and takes her place in the next round.

There was swift progress into the men’s 200m heats for Joe Ferguson (Lewis Samuel; Leeds City) and Praise Olatoke (Colin Sinclair; Kilbarchan), going through as the fourth and eighth fastest qualifiers to the semi-finals.

Olatoke won his heat in 21.25 (-0.5) to progress in style, while Ferguson was second in his earlier race, clocking 21.15 (+1.3) behind Germany’s Alexander Czsch.

Both female Brits manoeuvred their way into the 400m final, but in contrasting styles. Amber Anning (Lloyd Cowan; Brighton & Hove) booked her spot automatically as she placed second in the first of the semis, clocking 52.97 behind Ireland’s Davicia Patterson.

Louise Evans (Linford Christie; Blackheath & Bromley) progressed as one of two fastest non-automatic qualifiers, her time of 54.02 and fourth position in heat two, sees her move into her first European final.

Another sailing into final action was European U18 silver medallist, Ethan Brown (Cowan; Blackheath & Bromley). He won his 400m semi-final in swift 46.92 earning the opportunity to take a tilt at a second European medal within 12 months. Spanish athlete Bernat Erta set a new European U20 lead in a separate heat, his time 46.28, so will offer competition to the Briton.

Eloise Walker (John Lees; Edinburgh) and Saskia Millard (Luke Gunn; Herne Hill) both made easy work of the 3000m heats to guarantee their spots in the final. Walker was fourth in the first race, made to push in the closing stages but moved through in 9:30.41. For Millard, it was a professional run, never falling out of the top three positions in the contest, running a controlled race in 9:27.12 for third.

Joel McFarlane (John McFarlane; Central) and Jack Turner (Kevin Skinner; Exeter) and began their decathlon campaigns and the duo sit 11th and 20th respectively after the first five events.

McFarlane blasted to a 100m PB of 11.07 (-0.6) and backed it up with a 7.07m (-2.5) long jump, rounding off the morning session with a 12.31m shot. Teammate Turner overcame windy conditions to clock 11.38 (-1.5) in his 100m heat, adding a 6.66m (0.7) long jump and concluded this morning’s work with a 10.76m shot.

McFarlane meanwhile went over 1.85m and posted a time of 49.08, ending the first day of the decathlon in 11th with 3828 points. Turner added a 1.91m clearance in the high jump and a clocked 49.28 over 400m to end the day on 3614 points.

Unfortunately, Bayley Campbell’s (Paul Dickenson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) hammer throw competition came to an end early following three fouls in the final.

Results can be found here: https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-u20-championships/2019/schedules-results

Day three action starts at 8:40am UK time on Saturday 20 July. You can find live coverage of the Championships on Eurosport.