6th July 2018


On the second evening of the European Athletics U18 Championships, four British athletes were in finals action while five others impressed in their progression to their finals.

In the girls 100m, Cassie-Ann Pemberton (coach: Sharon Morris, club: Birchfield Harriers) just missed out on a podium place in fourth position as the medals came from the outside lanes.

The Briton was the fastest qualifier through the heats and semi-finals on the first day, and she started very sharply out of the blocks, firing into a lead which she held up until around 80 metres. However, she was overhauled in the closing stages meaning she narrowly missed out.

She crossed the line in 11.84 (0.0) with the top three placings decided on thousandths of seconds, the gold medal going to Iceland’s Gudbjorg Jona Bjarnadottir.

Out in the field, after reaching the final in sweltering conditions in qualifying, it was a very different scenario for Lewis Byng (Paul Bearman / Sandy Green, Stratford-upon-Avon) in the shot put final this evening as the rain poured throughout the competition.

After battling with the elements, Byng threw a best of 17.62m in round one but looked towards the positives from the performance.

He spoke afterwards: “It was really fun. I finished higher in the rankings than I thought I might have done so I’m really pleased with the result. I was struggling to find traction in the circle because it was very wet, that hampered me a little which meant I struggled to reach my best performance. It was quite disappointing that I couldn’t throw as far as I have done this season.

“I’ve learned quite a lot from these championships. I know I can relax a bit more during qualification as I was quite tense during that.”

In similarly poor conditions, Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton, Herne Hill) and Kiara Frizelle (Chris Jones, Cardiff) finished ninth and 13th respectively in the girls 3000m final.

Alexander started well but an injection of pace from the eventual winner, Ireland’s Sarah Healey, split the field, and the Briton held on for ninth spot with a time of 9:41.18. South Wales’s Frizelle crossed the line in 9:51.08.

After an astonishing championship record this morning – which was later bettered by Frenchman Kenny Fletcher, Sam Bennett (Sam Surety) was back in form this evening, regaining the CR, but this time with a wind-assisted mark of 13:15 (+4.3). The time would be a British U18 record, had it not been wind-assisted but he had earlier equalled that Jack Meredith’s mark in the heats.

But it was another professional job by the Basildon athlete – earlier in the session while the sun was still out – who remains focused on Saturday evening’s final.

He added: “I’m just looking to improve each round and get quicker each time. I am very happy to have run so quickly today. It’s nice to pick up certain records along the way but I want to keep improving it as we go into the final.”

He will be joined by a delighted Jordan Ricketts (Anthony Pitt, Birchfield) who delivered an assured performance this evening, clocking 13.68 (+2.4) for third place. He had a nervous wait to see if he would make it as one of two fastest qualifiers, but he was ecstatic to see his name on the start list for tomorrow’s race.

It was a case of another day, another personal best for Natasha Harrison (Pete Torrance) in the girls 400m semi-finals, progressing to the final.

The Stockport Harrier was involved in the fastest semi-final of the three and that worked in her favour as she claimed the final qualifying spot, finishing fourth in the race overall. She was made to work hard in the home straight though. Barbora Malikova had a significant lead but it was level-pegging between Harrison and her Belarusian and German counterparts. She kept pushing down the home-straight to a lifetime best of 54.60 to make the final.

She commented past-race: “I just tried to keep focus because we were all so close. I just tried to relax so I didn’t tense up and go backwards. I judged my race very well – I attacked the first bend hard and just kept my form all the way around.

“The last time I ran two PBs in two rounds, I went on to win a bronze medal at English Schools so fingers crossed I may have a similar result tomorrow.”

Sadly, Hannah Foster (Craig Andrew, Shaftesbury Barnet) missed out on a spot in the final, placing third in the first semi-final in 55.12.

Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan, Basingstoke & Mid Hants) and Ethan Brown (Lloyd Cowan, Blackheath & Bromley) both sailed through to the boys 400m final, ranked second and third quickest respectively after winning their heats.

Pattison – running in lane eight – battled hard to take the win, clocking 47.91 while Brown won the earlier semi-final in 47.94. There is very little separating the pair going into the final so both will have eyes on podium places in tomorrow’s final. Italian Lorenzo Benati led the way in heat one, winning in 47.19.

There was another fine display of front-running from Keely Hodgkinson (Margaret Galvin, Leigh Harriers) in the girls 800m as she won her semi-final in 2:08.57. It means she goes straight through to the final and will be battling for the medal places on Saturday evening.

In a physical 2000m steeplechase race, Ben Thomas (Neil Thomas, Carmarthen & District Harriers) overcame hitting a barrier to qualify for the final. The group was fairly bunched early on, and a deacceleration in pace before a barrier led to him being brought to a halt by it.

However, the Welshman showed great strength to refocus and pick off those in front of him and capture one of the five additional fastest qualifier spots for the final.

Full results can be found here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-youth-championships/2018/schedules-results/


British Athletics Medal Tally:

Gold (1):

Thomas Keen – 3000m