10th July 2018

SIX BRITS SECURE AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION ON DAY ONE OF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Six British athletes qualified from their heats into semi-finals and finals on day one of the World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Team captain Molly Caudery (coach: Stuart Caudery, club: Cornwall AC), the only British athlete in field action today, qualified for the final of the women’s pole vault with a best height of 4.20m.

Despite failing first time at 4.10m and 4.20m, the British junior record holder kept her nerve and as those around her faltered, she cleared the latter height at the second attempt, with no athlete hitting the 4.25m auto-qualifying mark.

“I’m really happy that I’ve got through because that’s what I came here to do but it wasn’t the smoothest competition that I could have asked for,” Caudery said.

“It [the bar] didn’t go any higher than 4.20m and it’s quite easy once I get into my flow so it’s good knowing I can go into the final confident and clear some big heights.

“It means everything to get to the final. World Juniors was my focus at the start of the year. Last year I said this was where I wanted to peak and do well at so just to get to the final is the next step and then be up on that podium on Thursday.”

Sprinters Dominic Ashwell (Marvin Rowe, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Chad Miller (Ryan Freckleton, Hercules Wimbledon) both won their heats of the men’s 100m, with Ashwell equalling his 10.36 (0.6m/s) personal best and Miller shaving 0.02 seconds off his previous best to 10.33 (0.5m/s) to become the fastest British under-20 over the distance this year.

Jake Heyward (James Thie, Cardiff) ran a controlled race to make it into Thursday’s final of the men’s 1500m, qualifying third in 3:45.45, while fellow middle-distance runners Isabelle Boffey (Douglas Stone, Enfield & Haringey) and Katy-Ann McDonald (Philip Kissi, Blackheath & Bromley) both safely negotiated the women’s 800m heats.

Holly Page (Jason Marchant, Dartford Harriers) was edged out in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, finishing 11th in her heat but had the honour of being the first British athlete to take to the track at the championships.

After winning his heat, Miller said: “It’s good to PB in the heats and it shows you that anything can happen when you’re ready. It remains the same as it was before, get back relax and go again.

“If I didn’t think I was capable of what I’ve just done then I wouldn’t have come to Finland. I’m here to do what everyone else is here to do and that’s to win, but we’ll see who actually fulfils that.”

Ashwell added: “I’m feeling good now. I was really nervous coming into the race especially when some of those guys have run 10.1 seconds already. It’s nice to get the win because it’s a real confidence booster.”

Heyward was in the mix with World Indoor gold medallist Samuel Tefera (ETH) throughout his heat but ran a composed race to pull clear of the chasing pack with 250m to go and ensure his place in the final.

“It was a really good race,” Heyward said. “The crowd were amazing but the field was really strong. I stuck to my plan to get an automatic qualifying spot and it paid off. All that matters is getting to the final because no one looks back at the heats and thinks ‘he did that there’.

“It’s going to be a competitive field and I have absolutely nothing to lose. I’m just going to give it a go and see what happens. As long as I leave the track knowing I’ve given the best account of myself on Thursday that’s all that matters.”

Boffey & McDonald both booked their place into tomorrow’s semi-finals of the women’s 800m after both finished second in their respective heats. Boffey ran a near-perfect race which she controlled from the front, before being passed in the closing stages, finishing in 2:11.43.

McDonald, competing in her first major championships, ran a solid first 400m and then in a tight finish, held her nerve to clock 2:07.24 and book her spot in tomorrow’s semi-final.

“That was perfect qualification for me. I’m a person who tends to be strongest in the heats but I went in there knowing it was the World Juniors and I wanted to get into the semis. I stuck to the front and felt really powerful in the home straight. It’s a decent time for a heat and I’m very confident for the semi-finals,” Boffey said.

McDonald added: “It was interesting. This is my first major championships which is really exciting and I felt really good. I knew I needed to keep my head in the right place and not get distracted. I was worried because I didn’t know how fast we’d gone through the first 400m. It’s great to be heading through to the semi-finals with Issy.”

Page was the first athlete in competition action for the British team in heat two of the women’s 3000m steeplechase but she failed to progress to the final after recording a time of 10:35.36, outside of the fastest loser spots.

She assessed: “I fell at the first hurdle. I tried to catch up the rest of the way but unfortunately I didn’t have it in my legs. I’d say it was terrible, I’m struggling to find many positives from that performance. My hurdling wasn’t good enough and nor really were the water jumps.

“I tried to keep my cool and not panic but everyone was so bunched it was really hard to spot the barriers. I’m happy to be able to watch the rest of the team and cheer them on because they’re all awesome. The whole thing has been a great learning experience for me that I can take forward.”

Full results from today’s action can be found here: https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-u20-championships/iaaf-world-u20-championships-tampere-2018-6082/timetable/byday

#Represent