Five medals were won by the British team on day three of the European Athletics U20 Championships with Derek Kinlock taking the men’s 200m title in phenomenal style at the Kadriorg Stadium in Estonia.
Aside from the 200m gold, there were four bronze medals won by Sam Brereton [men’s high jump], Success Eduan [women’s 200m], Henry McLuckie [men’s 1500m] and Alex Melloy [men’s 3000m].
Derek Kinlock (Paul Weston, Croydon) triumphed in a memorable men’s 200m final, taking the title in a personal best of 20.72 (0.7).
The Briton had shown his potential in the semi-finals earlier in the session as he clocked a then PB of 20.97 (-0.5), the first time he had ever run sub 21 seconds for 200m, to go through as the quickest overall from the semis.
In the final he showed great composure to take another significant chunk of time off his lifetime best and convincingly take the victory as his nearest competitor was over a tenth behind.
A delighted Kinlock spoke afterwards, saying, “Coming into the Championship, I was ranked about 20th so I think that took a lot of pressure off me. I really surprised myself today. I was just trying to maintain form as much as I could like my coach is always telling me.
“I was just telling myself to have fun, and that is what helps to take pressure off me. Seeing everyone else run quickly this week encouraged me to run quicker.”
Louie Hinchliffe (Rudolph Paul Hohn, Sheffield and Dearne) exited the men’s 200m competition at the semi-final stage as he finished seventh in 21.76 (-2.0)
16-year-old Success Eduan (Anita Richardson, Sale Harriers Manchester) surprised herself to claim the bronze medal in a very competitive women’s 200m final.
One of the youngest members of the team, Eduan showed maturity beyond her years as she chased down 100m gold medallist Rhasidat Adeleke (IRE) and Minke Bisschops (NED) to post a PB of 23.62 (0.1) and earn a spot on the podium in Tallinn.
Sophie Walton (Trevor Williams, Horwich) finished seventh in the final after a strong showing from lane one, recording a time of 23.91. Both had come through the semi-finals earlier in the day; Eduan in 23.75 for second place, while Walton clocked 23.84 (1.4) in fifth to go through as one of the two next fastest.
Eduan said post-race, “I am just full of excitement right now. I am 100% happy with this medal. I am only 16 but I am here competing at the U20s and coming away with the bronze medal, so I have to be happy with that.
“I was just chasing and chasing [in the last 100m]. I had to stay relaxed because if I panic, I lose my technique and everything. I was less nervous for the final than I was for the semi-finals. I knew I could do it, I just had to execute my race like my coach said. I’ve just spoken to her, and she said it was perfect, I think there was confetti all around the house! She told me to enjoy the celebration which I will.”
There was a bronze medal in the field for Sam Brereton (Fuzz Caan, Birchfield) in the men’s high jump. He started well as he cleared all his first three heights on the first attempt before passing at 2.15m before sailing over 2.17m first time too. That equalled his PB and put him in the lead for a brief period of time. Two fouls at 2.19m moved him down to third but as the Belarusian, Yahor Huptar, bowed out, it confirmed the Briton’s place on the podium. He tried one more attempt at 2.21m but it wasn’t to be.
Brereton said, “It was a tough competition. It’s the third time I´ve jumped 2.17m this year, so it’s a bit of an annoying one to not get further, but I got the medal and this is what I came here to do. The other boys were pretty unbeatable today.
“I like the tension; it moves me forward. There is definitely more to come and more in me. The biggest learning I have taken from the Europeans is not to put too much pressure on myself if it gets to certain heights. It’s the first time I’ve done heats and then the final, so definitely a learning curve and a good experience.”
Co-captain Dominic Ogbechie (Marius Guei, Highgate) ended the competition in ninth place after clearing an equal season best of 2.13m.
Henry McLuckie (Geoff Watkin, Aldershot Farnham and District) navigated a frantic finish to the men’s 1500m race to claim the bronze medal just ahead of Kane Elliot (William Sharp, Falkirk) in fourth, while Joe Ewing (Carol Sharp, Edinburgh) was 10th.
McLuckie and Elliott read the race perfectly and made a decisive move down the back straight as they followed the leader, Ireland’s Cian McPhillips, but as the latter moved away to secure the title, McLuckie and Elliott became involved in a tussle for bronze as the Netherlands’ Rick Van Riel came through for silver. McLuckie just edged it in 3:47.15 to the Scots 3:47.53, while Ewing came home in 3:50.66.
The 1500m bronze medallist said, “Obviously, I am over the moon to get a medal. It was really good to run today, it wasn’t that hot so it was good. But I am really happy, I came here to win a medal and I’ve done. I don’t think I could have improved anything; I didn’t have a certain race plan so I was just going to adjust according to the race. It was a fairly quick race, so I had to decide quickly what I was going to do and how, but I came out of it with a bronze so obviously it went well.”
Alex Melloy (Mark Vile, Cambridge and Coleridge) bagged the bronze in the men’s 3000m after a late charge on the final lap saw him secure his position in the medals. After a cagey race, the pace heated up on the final lap and Melloy and Will Barnicoat (Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) were part of a leading pack chasing the impressive Irish athlete, Nicholas Griggs who would go on to win the gold.
With gold gone, Melloy chased down the silver medal along with the German Yassin Mohumed but the Briton settled for bronze at his first major junior championship in a time of 8:18.49.
Melloy said after, “The pace of the race was quicker than I thought it would be. I just wasn’t expecting it, so there was a little bit of a gap I had to break through and catch up with. In the beginning the pace wasn’t sharp enough to do any sort of massive damage, but it picked up quickly and I just wanted to maintain my good position the best way possible.
“In my head I was telling myself “try to get the first place”, that was my motivation throughout. Unfortunately, I didn´t manage it, but I´m still very pleased and happy with the bronze. The young Irish boy was just another class today, but I´m sure I´ll get him eventually. It´s my first time representing Great Britain and getting to stand on that podium will be very special for me.”
Barnicoat was fifth in 8:20.36 while Duncan Robinson (Dudley Walker, Giffnock North) crossed the line in 8:26.33 for 12th.
It was an agonizing fourth place for Megan Keith (Ross Cairns, Inverness) who produced an admirable performance in the women’s 3000m, just missing out on bronze by 0.03s to Norway’s Ina Halle Haugen but setting a big PB along the way.
The Inverness athlete went with the leading pack at the bell, and although a slight gap was forming, she slammed the door shut and fought back at the top three. She was in contention for any colour of medal with 50 metres to go, but in the end the Norwegian had enough to hold off the Briton, but she recorded a time of 9:16.50, a 13 second PB.
Thomas Holmes (Mark Bradford, Andover) threw the javelin further than he ever had done before as he ended the competition in fourth place overall. The PB throw came in round three as he unleashed the implement out to 70.70m – his previous best stood at 69.44m from Bedford earlier this year.
After a no throw to open his competition, and a 61.58m in round two, Holmes faced an early exit from the competition, but he responded in style with his PB.
Starting the session for the British contingent, co-captain Charlotte Payne (Paul Dickenson, Reading) improved on her seventh-place finish at the 2019 edition of the Championships by ending the women’s hammer throw competition in fourth position with a best of 62.13m.
Going in ranked eighth overall, the British Athletics Futures Academy athlete exceeded her own expectations as she pushed a talented field all the way. Her scorecard was marked with three fouls but two throws in the 59m range added to her furthest effort to see her claim fourth spot. The event was won by Finland’s Silja Kosonen with a Championship record of 71.06m.
Elsewhere, Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers Manchester) was happy with fifth place in her first European U20 pole vault final.
After clear progressions at 3.84m and 3.94m, Ashurst experienced difficulties at the 4.02m height after fouling her first two attempts, but she went over on the final jump to continue her competition. The same happened at the 4.10m height when on her last attempt she cleared the bar with room to spare much to the Sale Harriers athletes’ delight. However, three fouls at 4.15m brought her Championship to an end as she finished in fifth place overall.
In the men’s 110m hurdles final, Joseph Harding (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Basildon) crossed the line in seventh place in a time of 13.87 (0.2). In a high-quality contest, the field were shown a green card after the first attempt to get underway, but they were away second time around. Harding clipped a couple of hurdles in the second part of his race which he admitted hindered the execution of his race. The gold medal went to France’s Sasha Zhoya in a Championship record of 13.05.
Adam Booth (Graeme Gourlay, Poole AC) ran the quickest 400m hurdles race of his life as he qualified for the final on Sunday. After a solid performance in the heats on Friday, he ran a controlled first 200m to place him in a strong position as the Turkish and Spanish athletes opened an advantage over the field over the first half of the race. The Briton slightly clipped the hurdle coming off the final bend but kept his form until he clattered the final hurdle, however he recovered to finish fourth in a time of 51.38 and advance as next fastest after the automatic qualifiers.
Daniel Howells (Richard Ashe, Aldershot Farnham and District) and Henry Johnson (Lynn Cooper, Houghton Harriers) both succeeded in reaching the men’s 800m final after two hard-fought performances.
Howells went in semi-final one and ran another clean race to finish second in a time of 1:48.47, while Johnson had to work hard in the final 100m to come past Spain’s David Carranza to secure third position in 1:49.73 and a safe passage to the race for the medals on Sunday.
To end the day, Daniel Falode (Guy Spencer, Cambridge Harriers) earned automatic qualification to the men’s triple jump final, but Bera Ajala (John Scott, Edinburgh) narrowly missed out by four centimetres.
Falode jumped beyond the 15.55m qualifying performance mark with 15.67m (1.1) which saw him through. Ajala best jump of his series measured in at 15.04m (1.5).
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
British team medals :
Edward Faulds – Men’s 400m
Derek Kinlock – Men’s 200m
Toby Makoyako – Men’s 100m
Mary John – Women’s 400m
Sam Brereton – Men’s High Jump
Success Eduan – Women’s 200m
Joy Eze – Women’s 100m
Alex Melloy – Men’s 3000m
Henry McLuckie – Men’s 1500m