10th September 2019


Daryll Neita (coach: Jonas Dodoo; club: Cambridge Harriers) and Alexandra Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bromley) both claimed wins as Great Britain & Northern Ireland contributed 64 points to Europe’s charge against the USA at The Match in Minsk.

Neita and Bell led from the front as they took impressive victories in the women’s 100m and 800m respectively in the Belarussian capital as the first 11 British athletes competed in European Athletics’ new competition pitting two continental rivals together.

There was also a notable second place for Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh) in the men’s 1500m while Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border) was third with his second best mark this season in the men’s hammer, Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill) finishing in the same position in the first of her double in the women’s 3000m.

Overall the 11 Brits secured 64 vital points for the European team from nine events with the USA holding a narrow lead 335 to 308 with another host of GB & NI athletes set to compete on day two this evening in Minsk.

With Miller the first Brit to start for Europe, Neita was the first to finish and first on the track in the first track event in Belarus and she laid down a marker as she took a full nine points with a good run of 11.29 for victory.

She was joined on the start line by fellow Brit and fellow European champion from 2018 in the women’s 4x100m relay Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton District), who placed fourth in 11.49 for five valuable points.

Neita said: “I´m running the 100m in Doha so I’m happy that went well. This was a good stepping stone for that and it´s amazing to be here and represent Europe, I love wearing the orange for my continent. It was really good preparation for the world champs.”

Bell, who will make her IAAF World Championship debut in Doha, was the next British female on the track and claimed a fine win herself in the women’s 800m, pipping Europe teammate Olha Lyakhova of Ukraine at the line in 2:04.81.

She said: “I’m very happy to win this race. It was kind of a technical race, I don’t race too much and this was a great opportunity to practice for the World Championships. My season has been very good, my results are raising. The atmosphere was really great, I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It’s nice to be a part of the team and feel the support.”

Like Neita and Lansiquot, Wightman faced a domestic tussle himself in the men’s 1500m, up against Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix) and he would take second in a moderately run race in 3:38.90 for seven points. Grice was fourth in 3:39.85 for five points.

In the men’s hammer, Miller – heading into the competition with back-to-back wins – was a picture of consistency as he threw a best of 77.89m with his final throw for third, the Commonwealth champion in great form ahead of Doha with that mark his second best this season behind his 78.39m from Poland in June.

In a tightly run women’s 3000m, European silver medallist McColgan – selected for both the 5000m and 10,000m at the World Championships – was third in 9:01.03 and will return to the track for the 1500m this evening.

She said: “The race was difficult, 3000m is a tactical race and I can’t say that it is my favourite. I like to get my own space when no other hands are so close to me. I wish I had better result, it was not ideal, but I was trying to finish as high as possible.”

Adding to a flurry of fourth-place finishes was Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix) in the women’s 400m. British champion over 200m and competing in the one lap event for just the second time this season, Williams was just outside her personal best set in Switzerland in June as she clocked 51.83.

Fellow British champion Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon; Bracknell) was fifth in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in 8:36.36 for four key points for Europe while on his first outing since claiming the domestic 100m title in Birmingham, Ojie Edoburun (Fudge; Shaftesbury Barnet) was also fifth in 10.31. Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams; Newham & Essex Beagles) warmed up for his individual run in Doha with a 46.76 in the men’s 400m for sixth.

For more on the British athletes competing on day two in Minsk head here https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/news-and-features/brits-ready-for-the-match-in-minsk/

The Match will be available to watch here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/athletics/49565408 with live results available here https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/match-europevusa/2019/schedules-results/day=2019-09-09/index.html?intcmp=sr-byday