Chris Bennett (coach: Mick Jones) stole the show in the men’s hammer throw qualification, unleashing a best of 74.39m in torrential rain to reach the final on Sunday. The Scottish athlete finished fifth overall in the qualification round and will be confident heading into his first European Championships final.
The British champion said: “That was great fun, I really enjoyed it. The first throw set me up nicely but I would have liked to have got the automatic qualifying mark (75m). But, job one is done, the main aim was to reach the final.”
On the rainy conditions, Bennett added: “It was hard out there, my hands were getting so wet and the tape was slipping off my hands. The circle was a lot better in the wet – it is quite slow in the dry. I liked it whereas a lot of the guys don’t – I’m used to it I’m from Scotland.”
In wet conditions which were less than ideal, Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson) and Mark Dry (Gustafsson) fared less well. Miller threw 67.76m with his first attempt, but two further fouls placed him 11th in his pool and with only the top 12 from two pools going through, he didn’t advance. It was a lot closer for Dry who narrowly missed a place in the final by one place, finishing 15th overall with a best of 71.96m on his final attempt.
On a grey afternoon in Amsterdam, the women’s heptathlon got underway with Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) the British representative across the seven event discipline. In her opening 100m hurdles race she stopped the clock at 14.72 (-0.9) after a slight stumble at the halfway stage, which disrupted her rhythm, nevertheless, it earned her 879 points.
A lonely high jump competition followed as she completed her last three heights with no other competitors left in the stadium. That showed her prowess at the discipline, and managed a best first time clearance at 1.89m. Three attempts at 1.92m were unsuccessful but it took the 19 year-old up to 1972 points and third position after two events.
David King (James Hillier) looked impressive in the 110m Hurdles qualification rounds, winning the third heat in 13.55 (0.0), just 0.01 seconds outside his personal best. After torrential rain had wet the track, it appeared to halt in time for King’s race and he set off with great intent to advance to the semi-finals. He will join Andrew Pozzi (Malcolm Arnold) and Lawrence Clarke (Samba-Koundy Giscard) at this stage because they received byes into the round, being ranked within the top 12 in Europe this year.
There were nervous moments for Lennie Waite (Steve Sisson) when she slipped at the first water jump and as she put it, ‘went for a swim’, but she got back to her feet to finish eighth. However, she agonisingly missed out on a spot in the final by one second. Her fast finish showed she had plenty left in the legs but the fall did blight her effort to reach the final.
Waite commented: “You can see at the start of the race, I went for a swim at the first water jump. I fell down but got back up again but there was already a 20m gap. When it happens on the first lap, maybe there is time to make it up but I just couldn’t get my heart rate down and the panic set in. I’m really upset – I mean to run 9:48 with a five second swim it just shows I am so fit. I just feel I deserved to get a spot in the final. The sport is brutal – sometimes you experience the highs of it, but today was just annoying. But I’m proud of myself for fighting.”
In the second heat, relative newcomer to the steeplechase Rosie Clarke (David Harmer) finished 12th in 10:00.25 after succumbing to the early pace. Clarke started quickly with the group but faded in the closing stages so also missed out on a place in the final.
The qualifying round of the women’s triple jump was played out in mixed conditions, wind and rain. Laura Samuel (Aston Moore) recorded one jump of 13.65m and two fouls, but did not progress to the final over the weekend.
Full results from the European Championships can be found here: https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2016/schedules-results/
British Athletics medal tally at the 23rd European Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – Women’s 200m
Greg Rutherford – Men’s Long Jump
Tiffany Porter – 100m Hurdles