Twenty-one athletes reached finals and several posted personal bests on an entertaining first day of the European Athletics U20 Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.
Joy Eze (coach: Michael Donnelly, club: Gateshead) produced another sizzling display at the Kadriorg Stadium as she ran her second PB of the day to progress to the women’s 100m final. She ran a European U18 lead with a time of 11.52 (-1.0) during the morning session, and later revised that mark to 11.48 (1.9). She finished second in the race to Dutch athlete, Minke Bisschops who ran 11.35, and Eze goes into the final as the third fastest from the semis.
Post-race, she said, “I had to raise my game in that race. It was a high-quality field, so I had to run my best. I did run a PB, but I would have liked to have executed it a bit better. But I am very pleased to have qualified automatically to the final. Whatever happens, happens in that final but I would like to medal.”
Aleeya Sibbons (Coral Nourrice, Newham and Essex Beagles) equalled her PB in semi-final one with a time of 11.65 (1.4) for fourth, and narrowly missed out on one of two fastest non-auto qualifying slots.
Meanwhile, Eve Wright (Ryan Freckleton, Shaftesbury Barnet) ran a time of 11.66 (+1.0) for third in semi-final three, but the time did not see her move into tomorrow’s final.
The British trio in the men’s 100m semi-finals were 1-2-4 in the rankings and will return for the final on Friday afternoon.
Jeriel Quainoo (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath and Bromley) continued where he left off this morning when he stopped the clock at 10.30 (0.2) to record a time of 10.26 (0.1) on his way to a berth in the men’s 100m final. He won his heat to go through as joint fastest.
Quainoo said, “Same as the heat, patience, execution and belief. I had a clear mind going into this one and I’ll do the same going into the final. I need to come back and do the same thing. I’m grateful to God, grateful to my coach and grateful to my parents.”
Compatriot Toby Makoyawo (Peter Griffiths, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) matched the time of 10.26 (0.9) which took 0.11s off his previous best. He admitted he got a better start than the morning’s heat, and it showed as he achieved a lane in the final at 15:10 on Friday.
It was three from three as Ethan Wiltshire (Jake Awe) ran a personal best of 10.34 (1.3) for second in the final semi-final. He had only improved his PB to 10.50 during the morning session, so it was another significant improvement for the Marshall Milton Keynes athlete.
Mary John (Alan James, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) delivered another professional display as she backed up her time of 53.85 in the heat with a personal best of 53.17 to advance to the women’s 400m final.
John took it out to her competitors in the opening 200m but held her composure to push on in the final 200m to secure a career best and a place in her first European final.
She said, “I definitely ran a bit harder in that race. I ran a PB, so I am very happy with my time and my race. I’m excited for the final, and I’ll be trying to do my best and PB again.”
Edward Faulds (James Wright, Rugby and Northampton) and Charlie Carvell (Stuart Hamilton, Telford) qualified for the men’s 400m final on Friday night after both winning their respective semi-finals.
Faulds did it in style, going sub 46 seconds for the first time in his career, with a time of 45.95 to win. Even more impressively, he achieved the feat from lane eight.
Faulds said, “I ran the race by myself. I had to push hard, carry, build and execute. It’s the time I’ve been waiting for all season. I’m over the moon but it is only a semi-final, so I’m got a lot more to come!”
Carvell came through to win his semi-final in 47.07 and was pleased with his day’s work. He added, “I’m extremely happy to be in the final. There is no pressure on me, I’ve just turned 17 and I’ve got two more years in this age group. But I’m so pleased that I’ve got to the final, it was always my aim. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Brodie Young (James McMenemy, Airdrie Harriers) was sixth in the first semi-final, following up his qualification from the morning’s heats with a time of 48.37.
Temi Ojora (Nick Newman, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) made light work of triple jump qualification as she jumped over the 13.25m mark on his first jump, going out to 13.43m (0.9) to become the first athlete to book her place in Friday’s final.
She said afterwards, “the qualifying mark was 13.25m and I’ve been jumping over that for the last three months, so I was quite confident going in. I really wanted to get over that mark on my first jumps so I could get my legs rested up for tomorrow. I trusted my coach, I trusted myself and I just went for it, and here we are.”
Samantha Callaway (David Callaway, Newham and Essex Beagles) and Taia Tunstall (Stuart Carlaw, Harrow) made it to the women’s discus final.
Callaway’s throw of 50.12m saw her finish third in pool A, so she had to wait to see if she sat in the top 12 after Pool B later in the session. A couple of hours later her place in the final was confirmed with the opening round effort. Tunstall also booked her spot in the final with her 48.36m throw in the final round saw her take the final qualifying spot.
Callaway said after her qualification, “It was pretty nervy to be honest but once I got my first throw in I could relax and then I just went for it. I fouled the second one as I reversed into the throw and then the third one I was a bit too technical and lost my speed but I’m ready for tomorrow now. I’ve been looking forward to this all year so I’m just glad I went out there and achieved it.”
Zara Obamakinwa (Mark Chapman, Blackheath and Bromley) threw 45.83m in the second round of throws, but it did not see her progress to the final.
Sam Brereton (Fuzz Caan, Birchfield) and Dominic Ogbechie (Marius Guei, Highgate) both progressed to the men’s high jump final after successfully negotiating their way through the qualification pool.
Brereton cleared 2.16m on his first attempt which saw him qualify with ease, while co-captain Ogbechie’s 2.13m season best saw him take the final spot in the final on Saturday.
Over in the javelin qualification, Thomas Holmes (Mark Bradford, Andover) threw a best of 66.55m in his series which left him in fifth position in pool A. With a mark of 71.50m or top 12 guaranteeing a place in the final, he had to wait until the completion of pool B to see whether he had reached the final. However, as the session was wrapping up, he secured his place, moving through in 11th overall in the field.
Coming in ranked fifth in Europe, Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers Manchester) showed her ability to the rest of the field as she secured her place in the women’s pole vault final with a clearance over 4.00m. She enjoyed a clean score card up to that height and that saw her reach her first European final.
Gemma Tutton (Richard Pilling, Lewes) cleared 3.90m on her second attempt but did not clear the 4.00m height, so she sadly just fell just short of the mark for qualification.
All three British men in the 1500m moved into the final after some fine performances. 2018 European U18 champion Kane Elliot (William Sharp, Falkirk) had enough in the tank to coast across the line fourth in his heat after putting himself in a strong position on the final lap. The Scottish athlete posted a time of 3:48.78.
Henry McLuckie (Geoff Watkin, Aldershot Farnham and District) and Joe Ewing (Carol Sharp, Edinburgh) went in heat one and after a wind-up on the last lap, they both came through in style finishing second and third in 3:50.89 and 3:50.95 respectively.
The trio of Will Barnicoat (Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow), Alex Melloy (Mark Vile, Cambridge and Coleridge) and Duncan Robinson (Dudley Walker, Giffnock North) all reached the men’s 3000m final after solid races.
Melloy and Barnicoat were 1-2 in the opening heat as they managed to avoid a fall at the bell to push on to automatic qualification. In heat two, Robinson achieved a fastest non-auto qualifier spot as he finished seventh in 8:30.44 to grab one of the additional spots in Saturday’s final.
There was similarly serene progress for Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness) in the women’s 3000m as she came through to win her heat in a time of 9:35.77 from Germany’s Anneke Vortmeier. She took on the lead in the final few laps and dictated the pace to bring it home in comfortable fashion.
In the heptathlon, Abigail Pawlett (Joe Frost, Stockport T&F) began her campaign with a time of 13.75 (-0.1) in the 100m hurdles, the second quickest in the field behind Finland’s Saga Vanninen. It was just 0.04s off her PB from this year.
She followed this with a clearance of 1.72m in the high jump which added 879 points to her tally to leave her on 1930 points and third overall in the standings after two events.
The Stockport athlete returned for the shot put later in the day as the temperatures reached their highest and landed a mark of 11.73m. However, it would be the 200m that would bring her the most joy for the day as she recorded a lifetime best of 24.32 (1.0) which took her tally of points to 3486 to lie in bronze medal position after the first day.
Stephanie Moss (Trevor Painter, Sale Harriers Manchester) was second in the third women’s 800m heats to seal her place in tomorrow’s semi-finals. She moved around the pack around the final bend to manoeuvre into a strong position and followed the pace of the heat winner Audrey Werro (SUI) to move through in a time of 2:08.04.
On the other hand, Eleanor Colbourn (Joanne Day, Harrogate) had to wait to see if she had gone through as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers after finishing fourth in her heat in a time of 2:07.06. Despite the wait, she advanced to the semis. In a scrappy contest the Harrogate athlete saved a late burst for the line but just missed out of third spot by 0.04s.
Unfortunately, after an opening-round jump of 6.56m, Brad Davies-Pughe (Jake Awe, Shaftesbury Barnet) was forced to retire from the qualification pool.
The event is streamed on the European Athletics website and live results can be found here: https://tallinn21-u20results.european-athletics.com/en/results/athletics/daily-schedule.htm