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Silver for Nathan Douglas and bronze for Turner

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On day six of the European Championships in Gothenburg, the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team increased their medal tally to six, when Nathan Douglas (Oxford City) and Andy Turner (Sale Harriers Manchester) both made the podium amid the rain and wind on a cold Saturday afternoon in Sweden.

 

Douglas won silver in the triple jump and Turner took bronze in the 110m hurdles. Turner’s performance makes up superbly for him failing to reach the final at last year’s World Championships in Helsinki.

While Phillips Idowu (Belgrave Harriers), his British team-mate, may have been expected to finish higher, the Oxford jumper turned it around. In a competition where Christian Olsson, of Sweden, the Olympic champion, set the standard with 17.67m in the second round, a gold medal performance, it was a case of who would take second and third.

 

Idowu started with a foul, while Douglas began with 15.36, but in the second round, Idowu leapt out to 17.01m, which took him into third position. He then increased that to 17.02m, before Douglas, showing great speed on the runway, leapt to 17.12 in the third round and then produced a leap of 17.21m in the fourth round, to move into the Silver medal position.

 

He fouled his next two while Idowu jumped only 16.40m in one out of three jumps and ended up in fifth. He was suffering from cramp in his calf, during the second half of the competition. Douglas coached at the Birmingham High Performance Centre by Ted King, was delighted. He said: “I knew I was not in the best shape of my life coming here. It has been a long, hard year. “I did not start running until January. I knew coming into the championships that I could not jump 17m for six rounds. The first one did not feel as if it was over 17m, but I realised that things must be clicking.

“If I kept it going, and got the crowd behind me, I thought I might be able to do something. When Christian went out to 17.67m, I knew he was out of reach. I composed myself as best as I could.”

Turner won bronze at the Commonwealth Games and he repeated that run here with a stirring performance after a slow start.

 

He clawed his way back into the race and knew someone special was watching. His daughter Jasmine, nearly two, was back home with her Dad’s Commonwealth medal around her neck. He was timed at 13.52 as Latvian Olijars Stanislav won in 13.24 and Thomas Blaschek, of Germany, finished second in 13.46.

Turner said: “I was told my daughter Jasmine was watching the television back home wearing my Commonwealth bronze medal, saying: “I want Daddy to bring home another medal”, so I had my orders!”

 “It could have been better, but I can’t complain it’s great to win a medal.” But David Hughes (Trafford) was knocked out in the semi-finals. He finished eighth in 13.87 as Russian Igor Peremota won in 13.46.

Jo Pavey (Exeter Harris) described by Dave Collins, UK Athletics Performance Director, as ‘one hell of an athlete’ put in one hell of a performance. But it was not enough to make the podium in the 5000m.

With six-and-a-half laps left, at a slow pace, Pavey, who won Commonwealth silver in March, decided to take it on. She showed real guts as the pack behind her dwindled down from five to three. But Marta Domininguez, of Spain, Liliya Shobukhova, of Russia, and Elvan Abeylegesse, of Turkey, just refused to go away and with 200m left, they passed the brave Briton. Pavey finished in fourth in 15:01.41 as Domininguez won in 14:56.18.  She said afterwards: “I am really disappointed not to get a medal, I did my best. It is easy to look back with hindsight and say I could have run the race differently, but I did all that I could on the day.”

Britain’s women won their semi-final in the 4 x 400m relay, with no panics and a well-controlled performance. Emma Duck (Team Southampton) set the team on their way, handing over to Jenny Meadows (Wigan & District), just about in front of Germany and Poland. She maintained the position as Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) ran the third before handing onto Lee McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet) who brought the team home in 3:27.92. McConnell, easing down, ran the fastest of the splits, in 51.3, with the other times being 52.6, 51.7 and 52.3. The men followed suit, with a confident performance led by Robert Tobin (Basingstoke & Mid Hants). Rhys Williams (Cardiff AAC), looking for his second medal after his bronze in the 4 x 400m hurdles, ran next, handing onto Graham Hedman (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) before Tim Benjamin (Belgrave Harriers) took over. The quartet produced the quickest time from the semis of 3:02.51 after Benjamin ran the fastest leg of 45.2 seconds; Tobin and Graham Hedman clocked 45.6 seconds.

 Great Britain and Northern Ireland qualified for the final of both the men’s and women’s 4 x 100m relays. The women were first to qualify as the quartet of Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers), Emily Freeman (Wakefield & District), Laura Turner (Harrow) and Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) combined to finish fourth in their heat in 44.00 as France won in 43.38, but still go through as one of the best qualifiers. The men won their heat, with a series of slick changeovers. Led off by Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers), he passed the baton onto Darren Campbell (Sale Harriers), with Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva) next and then Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) fourth to bring the team home in 38.77, the best of all the qualifiers. Dwain Chambers said afterwards: “We are confident we can run well in the final, today we only ran at probably 75%. We had to be safe and get the job.”

 

Goldie Sayers (Belgrave Harriers) reached Sunday’s Javelin final, as the last of the 12 qualifiers. She progressed thanks to her second throw of 58.65m. Her first effort was 56.60 and her last was a foul.

She made it by 40 centimetres with Barbora Spotakova, of the Czech Republic, setting a national record as she threw the furthest with 66.12.

 

Tracey Morris (Valley Striders) finished 16th in the marathon in 2:33.13, in conditions which at least were good for the runners, virtually constant rain. The race was won by Ulrike Maisch, of Germany, in 2:30.01. Morris said: “I had bad stomach cramps from the start. I felt uncomfortable. Towards the end it became easier. I have never had it before. It is really frustrating.”