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U23s At bedford

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Shakes Drayton beats Child

 

28 June 2009

With a number of European leading performances (under-23) over the course of the weekend, Lloyd Gumbs (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Perri Shakes-Drayton (Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets) set the standard on day two of the Aviva England Under-23 Championships and European Trials in Bedford, winning their respective 400m hurdles finals in brilliant personal bests.

Gumbs, in the second event of the day, clocked an impressive 50.36s for victory, almost a second quicker than his previous best and well inside the 50.70s European Under-23 Championships qualifying standard already achieved by runner-up Toby Ulm (Swindon) in 50.69s and bronze medalist Tom Burton (Tamworth) in 51.10s.

“I didn’t know I could run that quickly,” he said in disbelief. “I knew it was going to be tough for me to make the team…this is just unbelievable. It’s my first GB vest. I’ve always fallen short of the standard but today I made it, I don’t know what to say.”

But it was women’s winner Shakes-Drayton who set the stadium alight.

Ranked sixth European under-23 going into today’s final, she secured her GB & NI team place with an outstanding victory and Championship Best time of 55.34s over defending champion Eilidh Child (Pitreavie) in 55.36s.

Not only did the top two secure the European Under-23 standard (57.40s) - they now rank first and second on the European age-group rankings and have a genuine chance of winning two medals for GB & NI in Lithuania  (Kaunas, 16th-19th July) – but both athletes also achieved the UKA ‘A’ standard of 55.50s for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in August.

The morning’s excitement continued on the in field with a new PB, Championship Best and European Under-23 Championships qualifying standard from Mark Dry (Woodford Green) in the men’s hammer (69.40m).

Dry, the Scottish champion who had already achieved the Commonwealth Games qualifying mark (66.00m) on multiple occasions prior to today’s performance, stepped up a level in Bedford to guarantee his selection onto the GB under-23 team.

“There was no way I was letting that GB vest go,” he said. “I knew I could do it, I didn’t ever doubt it, I just needed to pull it all together. I’m sure I can throw 70.00m in the Championships.”

Back on the track, it was the 800m races which stole the show as the heat got more intense.

Andrew Osagie (Harlow) clocked a fast 1:47.70 for victory in the men’s event ahead of Blackburn Harriers’ Paul Bradshaw in second (1:48.48) and Cambridge & Coleridge’s Ed Aston in third (1:48.68), making it tough for the selectors who until today, only had two athletes inside the 1:48.00 selection standard.

“I’m really happy with that,” he said. “I knew I had it in me and I’m in good shape. I’ve been working on my tactics and that was a lot better, I want to thank all the guys at St Mary’s who’ve helped me out.”

Tara Bird (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), who had already achieved the women’s 800m standard, won gold in the women’s event and reduced her lifetime best to 2:03.00 in a Championship Best performance.

“I feel like everything came together today,” she said. “It’s cool to take the Championship Record from my training partner Marilyn Okoro. Hopefully I can go on to run the time she has!”

Joey Duck (Marshall Milton Keynes), one of two athletes with the European under-23 standard going into today’s competition, raced to victory in her 200m heat in 23.65s, equaling the required mark before matching it in the final for victory.

Toby Sandeman (Thames Valley) also made sure of selection, winning the men’s 200m in 20.72s. He had clocked a fast 20.96s in his heat, also inside the 21.00s selection standard.

Nigel Levine (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) also secured the European Under-23 Championships selection standard on the day, winning the men’s 400m in 46.30s.

 

Visit the England Athletics On Track website for more results