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4 X 400m team through to final

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12 July 2008

 

 

Day Four

 

 

A positive penultimate day for team NU GB & NI at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz.

 

 

In the final of the men’s pole vault Andrew Marsh (City of Stoke) began confidently clearing 4.85m on his first attempt and then working his way up to 5.20m, equalling his life time best.

 

He failed three times at 5.30m but was pleased with his performance: “I started out and nailed my first attempts and I felt really good. I was closer on my last attempt at 5.30m but I can get there and overall I’m really pleased.

 

“The experience has been amazing to jump with the top guys and come fifth. It was great, I really enjoyed it. I need to start using longer poles, the boys out there are gripping a lot higher than me. You can never be perfect, there’s always things to learn.”

 

The men’s 4 x 400m team, made up of Louis Persent (Colchester Harriers), Robert Davis (Birchfield Harriers), Nigel Levine (Bedford & County) and Jordan McGrath (Birchfield Harriers), won their heat and cruised through to the final with a World Junior Leading time of 3:06.85. USA narrowly bettered their time in the final heat, taking the World Junior Leaders title and setting up for a top class final tomorrow, Sunday 13 July.

 

4 x 400m relay team captain Davis said: “We just wanted to qualify. The team spirit has remained high throughout the week which is good. We’re looking forward to the final now.”

 

McGrath noted the absence of one team member due to injury: “We want to say that it’s a massive shame that Chris Clarke can’t be running with us today, he would have been a strong part of the team but these are great guys.”

 

Edirin Okoro’s (Birchfield Harriers) hopes of lining up in the men’s 110m hurdles ended in disappointment as he finished sixth in the second of the semi-final races clocking 13.91 (-1.7m/s) with a great effort.

 

The Midlands based athlete said: “It’s better than last time but I’ve obviously got a lot to work on. I think I need to work on my mid section, half way through I was all over the place.

 

“I’m pleased about getting to the semi but obviously the final would have been better. I’m pleased with my season overall, I’ve had a great experience here.”

 

110m hurdles team-mate and fellow semi-finalist Alex Al-Ameen (Blackheath & Bromley) finished eighth in his round. He felt he could have improved on his time of 14.14 (-1.0m/s): “I got out but I didn’t drive. I didn’t run very well and I don’t think it was a fast time either. I wanted to make the final, that was my aim but it just didn’t happen today. I need to work on technique and speed.”

 

Jo Harvey (Exeter) and Lauren Howarth (Leigh Harriers & AC) did well in the women’s 3000m final. Both girls stayed with the predominately European pack as the Kenyan’s and Ethiopians made their usual push and broke away into the second lap. Both the Brit’s looked comfortable throughout the race, no doubt learning a lot from the experience of running in a world class competition.

 

Harvey finished ninth pushing hard towards the end with a time of 9:15.98. She Said: “It was OK, I was looking for top eight but I’ve been off with injury for the past two weeks. I’ve been cross training for a while and have just started running again so I felt abit heavy legged. In one way I’m pleased because I did that in spite of the injury but in another way I’m not.”

 

 

Howarth, who made her GB and International debut, finished just behind her team-mate in eleventh place, the top quality field pushing her to a new personal best of 9:16.92.

 

She said: “I got a personal best! I set off at a good pace but kept tripping over the girl in front of me, it was better than I thought it was going to be, I really enjoyed it.

 

“My plan was to stick with the group which was as fast as me and let the Ethiopians and the Kenyan’s do what they wanted. I want to progress and do better next year.

 

“As it’s my first GB vest I’ve enjoyed the whole thing and the whole atmosphere, even warming up and the call room because it’s all new to me. “

 

The men’s 4 x100m final promised a great deal following GB & NI’s storming qualification in the semi-final, however on the first baton changeover there was a slight miss before it got safely from Olafunmi Sobodu (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC) to Junior Ejehu (Harrow AC), which may have slowed the team slightly. James Alaka (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC) and Richard Kilty (Gateshead Harriers) carried out leg’s three and four successfully, Kilty crossing the line in fifth place with 39.89.

 

Alaka summed up the team’s feelings coming off the track: “Gutted, we could have done so much more. We’re better than any other country in the world at changing the baton and we didn’t do that today, we did it yesterday in the heat.”

 

GB & NI team captain Kilty said: “We ran such a good time in the heat and we aimed to improve on it in the final but it just didn’t happen. It was a great experience and we’ve learnt a lot.”

 

Abigail Irozuru (Sale Harriers) came eighth in the final of the women’s long jump but could have gone further with a more consistent performance. Her great second jump of 6.16m (1.7m/s) was just under her season’s best of 6.18m, set in Birmingham in June, but her following efforts did not keep to that standard.