Reigning champion Jo Pavey (coach: Gavin Pavey) finished fifth in the women’s 10,000m final on the first evening of the European Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In the first track final of the championships, Pavey ran a well-paced race to close down her rivals in the last quarter of the race to move from 11th to fifth, finishing in a time of 31.34.61, inside the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games.
Pavey said: “I just gave it my all today. I feel so honoured to be running at these Championships and representing the British team once again, it has been a great opportunity. I have been struggling with form and fitness but each week I have been getting that little bit quicker. All I could do was run my absolute hardest.
“We’ve had so many great performances from the girls this year, Jess (Andrews) and Beth (Potter) ran superbly to secure their spots in Rio and the 5000m girls have been very strong as well. I’ve just been focusing on the fact that I had an opportunity to run at these championships, I’m pleased with the time and we’ll have to see about selection for Rio.
“I feel like I have made progress. Last time around at these championships I had fond memories of winning but I wasn’t in that kind of shape today. I’m pleased to have made progress and I really enjoyed it.”
On her senior international debut, Jess Andrews ran a lifetime best of 31.38.02 for seventh place. She was in a battle for fifth for much of the race with Ireland’s Fionnula McCormack but a strong finishing Pavey closed in the final couple of laps, but it was a good learning experience for Andrews who has already qualified for the Rio Olympics over 10,000m.
In the women’s 200m semi-finals, Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) stormed into the final with a convincing win in a time of 22.57. A powerful start and strong bend was followed by a controlled home straight and with it the British record holder comfortably progressed.
Asher-Smith spoke afterwards: “I am very happy with that, I didn’t expect to run so quickly in the semi-final. It was a nice track and a really good run for me, so I’m excited for the final.”
The Blackheath and Bromley athlete will be joined by compatriot Jodie Williams (Ryan Freckleton) in the final after she claimed the second of two fastest qualifier spots. The silver medallist from two years ago finished third in her semi-final in 23.14, but after a nervous wait confirmed her place in another European final.
In a frantic finish to the first heat of the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Rob Mullett (David Leach) booked his spot in the final but was just two seconds off securing a second Olympic qualifying standard. The 29 year-old was one of the leading contenders throughout the race and as the pace picked up, he held on to claim fourth place and a time of 8:32.06.
There were mixed fortunes in the women’s 800m heats with Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) showing all of her experience to win her heat in 2:03.10 to progress into the semi-finals. Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) had a little scare in the final stages of her heat after getting boxed in with 90m to go but she managed to move out and secure second spot in 2:03.64. Unfortunately, despite leading for the majority of the race, Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow) faded in the closing stages for sixth spot in 2:05.41 and narrowly missed out on a place in the semis.
After sitting in fifth place after the first three events of the decathlon, Ashley Bryant (Aston Moore) returned for the high jump and 400m to reach the midway point of the competition. In the high jump, he made 1.89m to score 705 points which moved him down to 13th place in the standings. However, in the 400m, he posted a time of 50.15 which took his tally at the halfway stage to 4009 points in 12th.
On the end of day one, Bryant reflected: “I started the day well with an incredibly solid 100m which was just off my season’s best. My long jump I executed quite well and after my shot put I was pleased that after three events I was well on track for a big score. But then the high jump which has been one of my most consistent events all season didn’t go to plan. Before today I’d not failed a height before 1.95m but today it never really came about for me.
“I worked hard in the 400m and came home strong so whilst it was solid I am down across the board. At least I am still fit and ready for the second day which is the main thing.”
Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) qualified for her first major senior final with a 6.49m leap in the long jump but unfortunately Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) missed out with her 6.33m best in round one. Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) withdrew as a precautionary measure citing soreness in her knee.
In the field, Rachel Wallader earned a place in the women’s shot put final with a best of 16.86m. Elsewhere, Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) missed out on a spot in the men’s pole vault final after three fouls at 5.50m.
Full results from the European Championships can be found here: https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2016/schedules-results/