6th March 2021
SIX BRITS PROGRESS THROUGH QUALIFICATION ON DAY TWO IN TORUN
Six British athletes made safe progression from the second morning of action at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland.
Andrew Robertson (coach: Michael Carolan; club: Sale Harriers Manchester) was the sole British man to advance into tonight’s men’s 60m final, with teammates Oliver Bromby (Marvin Rowe; Southampton) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist; Sutton & District) missing out on qualification.
Having qualified with a season’s best of 6.60 in the third heat earlier in the morning, the second-fastest time of the session, Robertson continued his improvements in the semi-final, blitzing through for victory in 6.59 for his second successive season’s best.
After the race, Robertson said: “It feels good to be in the final. I had a good first round, it was very smooth. The semi-finals are usually the toughest ones because you don’t know who is going to come out and perform, so you have to treat it like a final.
“It was a very scrappy run, you could see in the last 20m that my hips are dropping, my knees are going and my hands were scrappy. At the end of the day, it’s a qualification so it’s all set up for tonight’s final now.
“It’s just about letting it happen now. It’s not all about the times. I could run a personal best and come fourth because it can happen so quickly. The main thing is, taking it round by round. Now I’ve secured my spot in the final, hopefully I’ll get a good lane and get a spot next to the big boys. It’s game on!”
Reigning British 100m champion Aikines-Aryeetey and 2019 European Under-23 100m silver medallist Bromby both safely qualified from the morning heats in 6.68s and 6.70s. Running from lane eight, Bromby flew through the final 30m to notch third position in a season’s best 6.64s, placing him in a fastest qualifier spot with one semi-final remaining. A fast third semi-final saw teammate Aikines-Aryeetey match his 60m season’s best with a 6.67s run for sixth position as Bromby bowed out with the 11th fastest time overall. Both endured hamstring issues during their respective races and will have scans in the next few days.
Over 3000m, Andrew Butchart (Barry Fudge; Central AC) and Jack Rowe (Tim Eglen; Aldershot Farnham & District) made safe qualification for the final with well executed performances, but teammate Phil Sesemann (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City) could not join them after finishing fifth in a close-run race.
The Scotsman qualified fastest for tomorrow’s final after a measured 7:46.46 effort in which he never dropped outside the top three, moving beyond Spain’s Adel Mechaal in the home straight to take top spot.
After qualifying, Butchart said: “It felt good. It went exactly how I wanted it to go. The floor felt pretty smooth and my legs should be pretty fresh for tomorrow. The main thing is to be as fresh as I can for the final and hopefully I can come back tomorrow and get the win.
“When we went out quick, I knew some people would struggle with it, so I tried to keep clear. When it’s like that, you can look around a bit and enjoy the moment, so that was nice. I want to bring home a medal. The shinier, the better.”
In the opening heat, Rowe led the field round from 1500m in but slipped to third position with 150m remaining. The AFD man dug in well to ensure he took the final automatic qualification spot, stopping the clock in 7:55.67.
A much more tactical third heat saw France’s Jimmy Gressier and Dutchman Mike Foppen kick the pace on early, stringing the field out and making it a dash for the final automatic qualifying spot. Unfortunately for Sesemann, he could not quite do enough to qualify, coming home fifth in 7:51.70.
Later in the session Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon) was rewarded for a sharp start as he stormed through the first of five 60m hurdles heats in 7.52s, the joint-fastest showing of all competitors despite hitting the penultimate hurdle.
His time laid down a marker to the rest of the competitors that none of them could touch as he began his quest to regain the title he last won in Belgrade in 2017.
Speaking after the race, Pozzi said: “It was a really good time. I had a great reaction from the blocks which I’ve been missing from the indoor season, so that was really encouraging. I backed off the first hurdle to be safe. After that, it was a safe run. I’m happy with the time and I’m really happy with the form that I am in.
“Today was about trying to get some feeling. I managed to do that. I felt in really good shape and I’m excited to crack on now.”
In the women’s 60m hurdles, sisters Cindy Sember (Jeff Porter; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) and Tiffany Porter (Jeff Porter; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) safely qualified for the women’s 60m hurdles semi-finals, but Emma Nwofor (Newham & Essex Beagles) did not progress.
A clean run from lane eight saw Sember ease into tomorrow’s semi-finals in second place a season’s best of 7.99, her fastest time over the distance since 2017 and the fourth fastest of all automatic qualifiers, having earlier seen Porter progress in second spot in her heat, clocking 8.04s.
Nwofor, making her British senior individual debut out in Poland, missed out on a spot in the semi-finals, finishing fifth in her heat in 8.24s.
Sember assessed afterwards: “I’m very pleased. I wanted to come out and work on my start today. It was a bit better, but not as good as it could have been. However, I got out and had a good finish and that’s my best time since 2017, so that’s very encouraging.
“I knew that I could be here, it was just a matter of getting my mind-set into that place after my injuries. Being here is amazing, it’s a blessing and I’m really excited for the semi-final.
“I’m still going to work on the start and if I get that together, things can happen. If I can exit out of the blocks and get through the first two hurdles, hopefully I can hang on and make it to the final.”
Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy; Birtley), the only athlete in field action this morning, missed out on qualifying for tomorrow’s pole vault final after bowing out of the competition with a best of 5.35m.
Myers cleared his opening height at the second time of asking but could not quite get over 5.50m despite two good attempts, finishing the event in 13th spot overall.
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medallists:
Amy-Eloise Markovc – women’s 3000m
Verity Ockenden – women’s 3000m