8th August 2018


Tim Duckworth (coach: Toby Stevenson; club: Liverpool) fought hard to keep his lead in the decathlon as the six British athletes in qualifying action ensured a clean sweep of progression during an excellent second morning at the European Championships in Berlin.

Duckworth maintained his lead after the 110m hurdles as the second day of the decathlon began before being pushed out of top spot by Arthur Abele in the discus but fought back in the pole vault as the German cleared just one height.

It has set up an intriguing final two events – the javelin and 1500m – with Duckworth on 6930 points overall, now ahead of Ilya Shkurenyov, who won the pole vault, by 70 with home hope Abele in third a further 28 adrift.

Elsewhere, Naomi Ogbeta (coach: Tom Cullen; club: Trafford), Delano Williams (Stephen Francis; Enfield & Haringey), Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker; Enfield & Haringey) and all three 1500m runners Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon; Edinburgh), Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh) made the most of good German conditions.

Duckworth kept hold of his overnight lead after a third place in the third of three 110m hurdles heats in 14.55, won by Abele, before surrendering it to the German in the discus. The rising Brit threw a best of 41.94m while Abele hit 45.42m.

However Duckworth is a strong performer in the pole vault and a clearance of 5.10m was comfortably better than Abele’s 4.60m with Shkurenyov’s effort of 5.30m and his mark of 45.53m in the discus helping to push him up to second.

Elsewhere, Ogbeta shattered her personal best of 13.95m in qualifying for Friday’s women’s triple jump final, recording a last round effort of 14.15m (1.6m/s), finishing fourth in her pool and moving to third on the British all-time list.

With nine athletes already through to the final automatically after hitting the 14.05m automatic qualification mark, Ogbeta took to the runway and produced when it mattered most.

She said: “I am just so happy right now. I stayed relaxed. I was a little bit nervous when I first jumped and then there was a little bit of waiting around because there were some technical difficulties.

“I did what I needed to do. I am so amazed that I did it. It is another under-23 record and third all time. I’ve delivered. I think that jump was behind the board as well so hopefully in the final I can get on the board and get an extra 20 centimetres and see what happens.”

O’Hare made sure of qualification in the men’s 1500m by kicking strongly in the final 200m and pulling away from the chasing pack to win in 3:49.06, with Da’Vall Grice following him into the final in the following heat, coming home second in 3:40.80.

Wightman’s 3:40.73 was the fastest time in qualification, holding off Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen to secure victory and make it a clean sweep for the British trio.

O’Hare said: “I knew that’s what it would come down to eventually [a fast finish] and I was making sure I had enough space to run and not get tripped up and spiked and what not. I am happy with that.”

Da’Vall Grice said: “It was a relief to make it through and get automatically qualified. I saw the first heat was really slow, so that was a good sign, but you never know how your heat is going to be taken out. It is so hot out there. I put myself in a good position, it was really smooth, and I felt back to my best.” 

Wightman said: “It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. After watching the heats previously, some big names went out and I didn’t want to be one of them so I had work a bit harder. I am glad to get through and we have a rest day – I need that.”

Nielsen made light work of qualifying for the semi-finals of the women’s 400m, cruising to victory in 51.67, a new personal best and the fastest time of the heats.

She said: “I’ve been trying to time these Championships to perfection. I knew after we finished the British Championships we had six weeks until this. I trained right through the Anniversary Games and I got a PB. That gave me a lot of confidence for this.

“I was so pleased I had the heat to ease into it, but then I’m hoping to make the final, that’s my aim. If I get to the final, going through my head is that some of these girls have run one less round than me so I’m not pleased with it at all. I just have to focus on my champs.”

Williams also made a safe passage into the semi-finals of the men’s 200m in 20.89 (0.2m/s), good enough to finish third in his heat.

He will join Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver; Newham & Essex Beagles) in this evening’s semi-finals.