A largely developmental British Athletics team performed well to finish in fourth place overall at the European Athletics Team Championships in Lille.
Marc Scott (Steve Gulley) was the highest British finisher on the track during the final day thanks to a superb second place in the 3000m, a rapid final lap seeing him dip under 8 minutes with a time of 7:58.52 and collect ten points for the team.
Scott said: “For my first senior GB vest I’m really pleased with second place. I was beaten by a very good guy in Holusa who’s a many time Olympian, and I felt good. It wasn’t quite where I want to be tactically but I closed well over the last 400m and felt good doing it so I’m feeling pretty good going into Trials next week.”
Ben Williams (Jon Crotty) pulled it out of the bag when it mattered as he leaped to a season’s best of 16.73m in the third round of the triple jump to secure second place and ten valuable points for the British team.
He said: “It was good. It was my first GB vest in six years so it was awesome to put on these colours again. I always try to show up when I’ve got these colours on and I think I did myself a bit of justice today. That crowd was electric so I’m hoping for more of that in the future. I loved the experience, it was fantastic.”
David Omoregie (Benke Blomkvist) had got the track action underway in the 110m hurdles and ran well for a third place finish with a time of 13.36 as Orlando Ortega of Spain equalled the championship record with his winning time of 13.20.
Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson) got the British team off to a good start in the first field event of the day as he placed third in the hammer, his best throw of 76.60m not far from a season’s best.
James Bowness (William Parker) finished strongly in the 800m, avoiding an obstacle on the back straight and then overtaking several athletes in the closing stages to finish in third place with a time of 1:48.19.
Bowness said: “I was pleased with the first lap, I put myself in a decent position then everyone sort of arrived at 600m. Fourth (upgraded to third after Kszczot was disqualified) isn’t brilliant but it’s not bad either. Representing Great Britain at senior level is always good, it’s been a great experience of going through the call room and racing against people like Adam Kszczot.”
Long jumper Jazmin Sawyers (Kelly Sotherton) had a consistent series with a best distance of 6.42m, which put her in fourth place.
Sawyers said: “That was not where I wanted to be. I’m not walking away too disappointed because this is a team competition and ultimately you come here to get points for the team, and I did pretty well. It’s the best I’ve ever done at the Team Champs by a long way and made the top four.”
The women’s 4x400m team of Emily Diamond (Jared Deacon), Laviai Nielsen (Frank Adams), Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter) and Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) finished in fourth place with a time of 3:28.96. The men’s 4x400m quartet of Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams), Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt), Cameron Chalmers (James Hillier) and Sam Miller then closed the weekend’s competition with a sixth place finish in 3:07.49.
Rob Mullett (self-coached) earned another eight hard-fought points for the British team in the 3000m steeplechase as he went with the pace and was rewarded with fourth place in a time of 8:33.99.
Another fourth place came from Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice) who ran a great race from lane one in the 200m and finished with a personal best of 23.19 on her senior GB debut.
Not to be outdone, there was also a PB in the men’s 200m for Sam Miller (Leon Baptiste) who crossed the line in 20.79 to finish fifth against a very strong field.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello) finished sixth in 13.27 to give her a very solid senior GB debut. Calli Thackery (Joe Franklin) also finished sixth as she battled well in a gruelling 5000m race and came home with a time of 16:12.16.
In the field events, there were fifth place finishes for Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) in the discus with 61.62m and Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) in the pole vault with a best clearance of 5.30m. Morgan Lake (Aston Moore) made comfortable clearances at 1.80m and 1.85m in the high jump but wasn’t able to clear 1.90m and finished in seventh place.
Jo Blair’s (David Burrell) first round throw of 50.61m placed her ninth in the javelin. In the shot put, Amelia Strickler (Paul Wilson) had a best mark of 15.17m and finished in tenth place. Rhianwedd Price (Houston Franks) was ninth in the 1500m with a time of 4:17.60.
Britain’s best athletes will be in action next weekend at the British Athletics Team Trials in Birmingham. For tickets visit britishathletics.org.uk