19th July 2019


British U20 co-captain Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne; Andover) regained control of the women’s heptathlon as a further 15 British athletes progressed on the second morning session at the European U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden.

Mills continued her good form as she regained the lead in the 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.

Amaya Scott-Rule (Matthew Watson; Southampton) added a 5.77m (0.2) effort to her tally as she maintained her position in fifth on 4223 points, while Olivia Dobson (Exeter) 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.

British U20 400m hurdles record holder Alastair Chalmers (James Hillier; Guernsey) and Seamus Derbyshire (Nick Dakin; City of Stoke) both made sure they safely qualified for the semi-finals, finishing second and first in their respective heats, with Marcey Winter (Neil Dodson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) progressing from the women’s equivalent.

Despite hitting the final hurdle, Chalmers made light work of progressing in second-place with 52.69s his time, before Derbyshire went one better, winning his heat comfortably in 52.20s after a fast opening 200m. Winter ensured all three one-lap hurdlers made it into the semis as she ran a controlled race and cut the tape second, with 59.19s seeing her through automatically.

Derbyshire reflected: “I passed the guys outside of me really early on so I knew I was in a good position and then as I came off the last hurdle I knew I could start winding down.

“I looked at the time and thought it was quicker than it should be despite how early I slowed down, but I wanted to send out a message to my competitors that I’ve come here in form and I’ll be vying for a medal at the end of it.”

Fellow British co-captain James Tomlinson (Paul Jensen; Pembrokeshire) ensured himself of a spot in the men’s discus final with a 58.14m best, achieved in the first round.

Tomlinson’s effort made him the fourth best qualifier after the two rounds had been completed and hopes that he’ll be able to put together a good series in the final that will earn him another positive performance.

He assessed: “It’s the qualifying round so the job is done and we can have some fun. I’m beaming and now I can relax. I tried to take a new approach and stay easy but in the final I’ll raise my aggression and we’ll see how far we can go.

“I want to put in some good throws in the final. I won’t put pressure on myself. I want to do what I did today but with a bit more speed, but for now I’m happy.”

There was more sprint hurdles success as Lucy-Jane Matthews (Matthew Watson; Southampton) notched a 13.52s (-1.5) time to ensure qualification for the women’s 100m hurdles final as winner of her heat in a time just outside her 13.51s British U18 best set in Mannheim last month, but Marcia Sey’s (Lorna Boothe; Croydon) 13.88s (-2.3) saw her edged out as one of the fastest losers by 0.03 seconds.

European leader Josh Zeller (Adrian Brown; Bracknell AC) left nothing to chance as he powered to his second victory of the championships in the 110m hurdles in 13.41s (0.1), but Jack Sumners (Paul Bearman; Stratford-upon-Avon) missed out on the final, finishing sixth in his semi-final in 13.87s (-1.6).

Matthews said afterwards: “I got a good start which is quite rare for me and I was a little bit messy at the end but I was so determined to get one of those top two places and I focused on that maybe a little bit too much.

“Going into the final, I have to make sure I’m focused on my own race but I’m having a blast right now. I want to do my absolute best and then whatever happens in the final happens and I’ll be happy.

“I just wanted to make this final. I’m only 16 so this is a great experience and I want to enjoy it so we’ll see what happens.”

In almost identical style to yesterday, the women’s 800m trio of Isabelle Boffey (Luke Gunn; Enfield & Haringey), Sarah Calvert (Sandra Hardacre; Livingstone) & Keely Hodgkinson (Margaret Galvin; Leigh) all made it automatically into the final.

Boffey and Hodgkinson ran a measured race to qualify in the British one-two, with respective times of 2:05.22 and 2:05.40, while Calvert came fourth in her heat and progressed as one of the fastest losers in 2:06.80.

In the men’s equivalent, Finley McLear (Kirk Salmon; Exeter), Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan; Basingstoke & Mid Hants) and Oliver Dustin (Graeme Mason; Border) all successfully progressed from their heats to make the final.

McLear recorded the fastest time of the day as he won in 1:48.83, with Dustin producing a stellar last 150m to come from the back of the field for victory in 1:51.85. Pattison ensured there would be three Brits in the final as he cut the tape second in his heat, recording a time of 1:52.07.

Afterwards, McLear said: “I don’t normally get out to quick so when I was at the back I wasn’t too worried, but a 52-second first lap is really moving. It didn’t feel too bad and there was no way I wasn’t making it through to the final.

“Going into that last 200m I made my move and I didn’t want anyone to come past when I was easing down. I’d have maybe liked it a bit slower but I’m through to the final and that’s all that matters.

“I’ve had such a rough last two years that to even be in this vest is an achievement in itself. I’m in the final with two Brits ranked in the top four in Europe and hopefully we can make the final a special race.”

Jack Turner (Kevin Skinner; Exeter) and Joel McFarlane (John McFarlane; Central) began their decathlon campaigns and the duo sit 11th and 24th after the first three 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.

Charlotte Williams (Michael Hitchon; Blackburn) needed only one attempt to achieve auto-qualifying for the final of the women’s hammer. She propelled the implement out to 61.01m, once centimetre above the magic 61.00m line.

Charlotte Payne (Paul Dickenson; Newbury) was made to wait until the bitter end to secure her spot in the hammer final after firing out a best distance of 58.92m in the second round, that sees her move forward as one of the best 12 qualifiers.

Remi Adebiyi (Darryn McAtee; Newport) and Kristian Imroth (Stephen Murphy; Shaftesbury Barnet) both made light work of progressing into the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase, finishing second and fifth in their respective heats in 9:04.46 and 9:05.96 respectively.