7th August 2018
NINE BRITS PROGRESS ON FIRST MORNING IN BERLIN AS DUCKWORTH SITS FOURTH
Nine British athletes kicked off the first morning session at the European Championships in Berlin by securing progression into semi-finals and finals while Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson) sits fourth in the decathlon.
Kirsten McAslan (coach: Michael Baker), Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman), Dwayne Cowan (Lloyd Cowan), Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon), Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow), Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg) and Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) all advanced on the track.
Meanwhile in the field Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch) and Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin) made light work of qualifying in the women’s shot put with decathlete Duckworth opening his campaign with three solid performances to place fourth overall.
Defending European champion Rooney made safe passage into the 400m semi-finals from lane eight in 46.27 while teammate Dwayne Cowan put receiving a yellow card following his first start to one side to join him after winning the final heat in 45.75.
Cowan said: “I was a bit rusty on the back straight, hopefully I’ll fix up for tomorrow and make it through to the final. You’re running by yourself although the guy inside me was quite strong. I knew it would be a hard race but I got the win in the end and that’s all that matters.
“I don’t know what happened there [yellow card]. It felt like I really got out, so when they called me back I was a bit hesitant to even start the second time.”
Sharp, Tracey and Oskan-Clarke all safely progressed into the 800m semi-finals. Tracey ran a controlled race with a strong final 150m seeing her win heat two in 2:01.91. Oskan-Clarke had to battle in heat three, clocking 2:04.08 to finish second, with Sharp finishing in the same position in heat one in 2:00.32 to book a spot in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Tracey said: “I am really pleased to get that automatic qualifying spot and finish really strong. My positioning wasn’t great but hopefully we will fix that going into the next round.
“I’ve had a really good camp in St Moritz, I feel like in the race I am doing I am gaining momentum. This is the perfect timing for me and I am really hoping that I will be able to show that.”
Sharp said: “I’ve been climbing the walls just waiting to get out, it’s been a boring couple of days and I needed to get out and compete. I felt so much more like myself out there and I was getting excited as I ran around feeling like me again.
“I was having to keep it under control though, which I did, and keep relaxed in the home straight. I don’t get excited very much. I’m in the hunt for a medal and I’ve been upgraded before but to get that gold outright is a massive goal for me.”
McAslan made safe passage into the semi-finals of the women’s 400m hurdles, finishing second in 56.78, just three tenths outside her personal best. She’ll join teammates Meghan Beesley (Baker) and Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle) in the semi-finals.
Strickler set a new personal best of 17.31m to qualify for the final of the women’s shot put, joining McKinna, who hit the 17.20m automatic qualifying mark with a first throw of 17.24m.
Divine Oladipo (John Hillier) complete a full set of women’s shot putters but could only manage a best of 15.78m, which saw her finish tenth in her qualifying pool.
Strickler said: “It was a PB so I am absolutely thrilled. The stadium is amazing. I live for big stadiums like this. That’s all you can get as an athlete is a stage like this at the Europeans.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to qualify, I knew that technically the PB was there, it was just about finding it, and I did. It’s so great for women’s shot in the UK [to have three on the team] and lots didn’t expect us to be in the final but we are so it’s time to do it now.”
Seddon and Jamaine Coleman (Helen Clitheroe) faced a nervous wait for confirmation of their progression into the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase and only the former made it through to the final in 8:30.00.
The duo led for a long period of the race but faded in the closing stages of the race to finish seventh and eighth respectively and despite a late charge from Coleman at the line, his 8:33.78 saw him miss out on a place in the final.
Ieuan Thomas (James Thie) occupied the chasing pack for the majority of the race in the second heat but faded in the final couple of laps, finishing tenth in 8:40.87 and missing out on a place in the final.
Duckworth kicked off his decathlon campaign with a 10.65 in the 100m to put himself second in the standings after one event before taking the overall lead after finishing second in the long jump with a best of 7.57m.
In his third event of the morning, Duckworth threw 13.61m, just shy of his personal best, to sit fourth with 2596 points. In a shock turn of events, French world champion Kevin Mayer, who led the event after the 100m, failed to register a mark in the long jump.