Reigning individual European champions Greg Rutherford (coach: Dan Pfaff) and Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) progressed to the long jump final and 400m semi-final respectively on the opening morning of action at the 23rd European Championships in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2014 European 400m champion Martyn Rooney progressed into the semi-finals with ease as he looks to retain the title he won in Zurich. He ran a very controlled race, having a 15m lead as he came into the home straight before easing off to take the heat victory in 46.57.
Rooney commented: “I got out nicely and probably relaxed a bit too much. It was quite windy down the back straight but I basically ran it like I would in Loughborough. I wanted to be running 45 low so I am a bit disappointed but I’ll have to do that tomorrow. I want to win every race, that’s the target.”
He will be joined by Birchfield’s Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt) who ran a solid race from lane eight to win his heat in 46.05.
In the women’s equivalent, multiple global medallist Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) was in fine form as she won her 400m heat to confirm her place in the semi-finals alongside fellow Briton, Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) who received a bye. The 2008 Olympic champion eased her way around the top bend to take the lead and finished in a time of 52.69.
Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth gold medallist Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) made it into the final of the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.93m and was eighth overall after two fouls. He now goes into Thursday’s final where he will look to retain the title he achieved two years ago.
Rutherford said: “It was very rusty but I felt by my last jump, I was getting things together. I knew 7.93m would be safe but I needed that last jump to get me going. The body feels so much better for taking three jumps. When you haven’t been in competition for a month, you have to just try and get it out of the way with those first jumps.”
Richard Kilty (Benke Blomkvist) and Ojie Edoburun (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) both assured their places in the semi-finals of the men’s 100m tomorrow. Kilty won his heat convincingly, taking the lead in the first few strides to come home in 10.24 (+0.5m/s). Edoburun, making his senior debut for the British team, also stopped the clock at 10.24 (+1.9) to qualify in second place in his heat.
Kilty said afterwards: “It felt really easy – even from the gun I didn’t really put my foot down. I managed to pull away from the field in the first couple of steps and held it. My aim is to get to the final and win a medal. The standard of athletes here is really high. In terms of getting a medal, it’s pretty tight between everyone but it’s all about getting to that final and being amongst the medals.”
Ashley Bryant (Aston Moore) began his decathlon quest on the first day of action in Amsterdam with the 100m. It was a good start for the Commonwealth silver medallist who clocked 11.12 (+0.8) which was narrowly outside his season best. He finished second in his heat collecting 834 points. He followed this up with an impressive long jump, finishing second overall with 7.56m. This was just two centimetres under his lifetime best and the 950 points moved him up to fifth overall. He rounded things off in the third event, the shot put, with an equal season’s best of 13.74m on his third attempt. After three events, Bryant is fifth on 2496 points with the high jump and 400m later today.
After an impressive 2016 to date, Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) continued her strong form as she threw 58.76m in the women’s discus with her first throw to gain the automatic qualifying distance. The British champion will now focus on the final this Friday.
In the qualification for the women’s hammer throw, Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson) advanced with a best of 69.48m in round three. It did not quite exceed the automatic qualifying distance of 70m but it was enough to see the British record-holder return for the final on Friday evening.
In the heats of the women’s 100m hurdles there was disappointment for Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) and Lucy Hatton (Toni Minichiello) as they did not progress to the semi-finals. Hatton was involved in heat three but a 13.37 (+0.1) clocking was only enough for fifth place. Similarly, Solomon recorded 13.39 (+0.6) to finish fourth in a heat including Sweden’s 2006 European champion Susanna Kallur, returning after many years of injuries. Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider) had a bye through to the semi-finals as the top 12 ranked this year in sprint events go straight through and do not take part in round one
Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Caan) missed out on place in the women’s high jump final after three fouls at 1.89m. A first round clearance at 1.85m had settled the nerves after one foul at 1.80m; however the result left her in 16th position with only the top 12 advancing.
Full results from the European Championships can be found here: https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2016/schedules-results/