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UK athletes in Athens and Norrtalje

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Returning to the Athens Stadium in which he won a 4x100m Olympics Gold medal 23 months ago, Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva Harriers) had two brisk 100m outings and a good run over 200m at the IAAF Super Grand Prix on Monday evening, 3 July.

 

As the storm clouds gathered and unseasonally chilly high winds swirled around the near-deserted stadium, Devonish recorded a comfortable 10.16 seconds in his heat. While he was blown along by a wind of +3.4 metres per second, it will encourage him that he equalled his season’s best as he prepares for the Norwich Union European Trials incorporating the AAA Championships in Manchester on 15 and 16 July.

 

Such was the quality of the field – this was the meeting at which Asafa Powell (Jamaica) became world record holder last year – that Devonish was third over the line behind Francis Obikwelu (Portugal), who clocked 10.04, and Dwight Thomas (Jamaica), timed at 10.14.

 

Running in lane eight in the final (wind officially –0.4 m/s), Devonish clocked 10.21 for sixth place. Obikwelu was a comprehensive winner in 10.03, a full tenth of a second ahead of Marc Burns (Trinidad), who finished behind Devonish in the semi-final, and Jason Smoots (USA), who were given the same time.

 

Devonish also lined up in the 200m, his preferred distance and came home first ahead of a full Greek line up in 20.53 seconds (wind officially -0.7m/s), a season's best inside the UKA Elite standard for the European Championships.

 

Hayley Tullett (Swansea Harriers), Ashford’s Lisa Dobriskey (pictured on that unforgettable night she won the Commonwealth 1500m in Melbourne) and Helen Clitheroe (Preston) were involved in a 1500m that fell victim to problems with the timing equipment … twice over. The race began 12 minutes late and had a crowd of 20 competitors on the start line. The Greek officials’ result immediately afterwards credited Tullett and Dobriskey with huge season’s bests, well inside the UKA Elite Standard of 4:05.00. Wily Tullett, who eased through from last with 800m to go to finish ninth, was given a hand time of 4:01.3 in a race won by Yelena Soboleva (Russia) in 3:51.8. Dobriskey, placed 13th, was clocked at 4:02.4, with Clitheroe 17th in 4:05.3. Later the IAAF came up with electronic timings: Soboleva 3:56.74, Tullett 4:06.34, Dobriskey 4:07.55 and Clitheroe 4:10.14.

 

Hatti Dean (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) trimmed her 3000m steeplechase PB to 9:51.12 – the UKA Elite Standard for the Europeans is 9:40.00 – in moving purposefully through the field of 18 to finish 10th. Wioletta Janowska (Poland) won in 9:17.15, the fastest time in the world this year.

 

At the Folksam Grand Prix in Norrtalje, Sweden, on Monday 3 July, Mike Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton) continued his preparations for what promises to be one of the hottest events at the NU European Trials by winning the 800m in 1:46.63. He currently stands second in the UK rankings with 1:45.47, behind the 1:45.10 of Richard Hill (Notts), after their BMC Nike Grand Prix burn-up at Watford on 10 June.

 

Rimmer completed a hat-trick of UK triumphs in Sweden.

 

Emma Duck (Team Southampton) again threatened the UK Athletics 400m hurdles Elite Standard for the European Championships in winning in 56.99 seconds.

 

Duck got to within a quarter of a second of her season’s best – which ranks her fourth in the UK this summer behind Tasha Danvers-Smith, Lee McConnell and Nicola Sanders – in finishing 14-hundredths of a second clear of runner-up Erica Martensson (Sweden).

 

Kate Dennison (Stoke) won the pole vault with a 4.15m clearance at the third attempt then had three misses at 4.30m, which she cleared at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne to go top of the UK rankings for the year.

 

Freya Murray (Edinburgh) was seventh in the 800m in 2:12.17. Winner Elisa Cusman (Italy) clocked 2:02.94. The UKA Development Standard for Gothenburg is 2:02.50.

 

Malachi Davis was third in his 400m in 47.57 seconds. Paul Gorries (South Africa) won in 45.94. The UKA Elite Standard for the Europeans is 45.80.