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euro team champs: day 2

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GB & NI men's 4x400m
GB & NI's relay heroes

 

21 June 2009 

In a thrilling finale the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team snatched third place in the inaugural European Team Championships, pipping France by two points after taking victory in the 40th and final event of the two-day competition, the men’s 4x400m.

GB &  NI were the overnight leaders after taking the maximum 12 points in five of day one’s 20 events. But day two was always looked a tougher day on paper and so it proved. By virtue of some resolute performances, GB & NI were long time leaders until the field event strength of Russian and Germany told and they began to ease clear.

France were also consistently strong and led GB & NI by two points going into the men’s 4x400m. But in a dominant display the GB & NI quartet of Conrad Williams, Rob Tobin, Richard Strachan and Tim Benjamin blasted away to win in 3:00.82. With France in 5th it meant a podium position for the battling Brits.

There were other British victories by Andy Turner in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.42 (+1.3m/s) and Dwain Chambers in the men’s 200m in 20.55 (-0.9m/s). The latter’s win came as he deputised for Rikki Fifton, who pulled up in Saturday’s 4x100m relay. For Chambers it completed a fine sprint double after his victory in the men’s 100m the previous day.

There was also top three finishes from Olympic medallists Christine Ohuruogu, Phillips Idowu and the women’s 4x400m team. Team captain and Olympic 400m champion Ohuruogu was 3rd in the women’s 200m in 23.40 (+0.9m/s), due to illness she later pulled out of the women’s 4x400m as a precautionary measure.

Idowu enjoyed another close duel with Olympic champion Nelson Evora in the men’s triple jump. They repeated their placings from Beijing, with Evora producing a winning leap of 17.59m (+0.6m/s), just topping Idowu’s best effort of 17.50m (+0.1m/s).

The women’s 4x400m foursome of Vicki Barr, Eilidh Child, Jenny Meadows and Lee McConnell gave GB & NI the opportunity to take third overall in the day’s penultimate event by placing third. McConnell made up two places on the anchor leg, over taking Germany and crucially, France in the final stretch.

The overall title was won by Germany on 326.5, Russia were 2nd with 320, GB & NI accrued 303 for third, with France fourth with 301.