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World Cup tester wins for Baptiste, Douglas

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Leon Baptiste

UK Challenge sprints Champion Leon Baptiste (pictured, Enfield and Haringey) and his fellow AAA Under 23 Champion Montell Douglas (Blackheath and Bromley) achieved double victories at a test meeting held in the Athens Olympic Stadium for officials who will be on duty at the IAAF World Cup on 16-17 September. Both clocked lifetime bests over 200m in registering victories against Greek athletes hoping to impress selectors ahead of this weekend’s match.

 

Douglas’s time of 23.55 made her the 11th athlete to beat the Power of 10 UK target of 23.60 this summer. It was a significant improvement on her previous quickest this summer of 23.71 when she took fourth place at the Norwich Union European Trials in July. She also won the Athens 100m in 11.68.

 

Baptiste, the 2003 European Junior 100m Champion, took nine-hundredths of a second off his previous quickest 200m this summer in clocking 20.86 seconds – his first PB for two years. And he won his 100m in 10.36.

 

Having suffered two years of toil in the transition to Senior competition, he said: “I was determined to run myself back into form. I’ve had so many races this year – 34 altogether – but now I can prepare for next year with confidence, set my aims high and achieve them. “I was pleased to run my first PB for two years in the 200 and to run 10.3 in a one-off 100. If there had been another round, I’m sure I would have gone quicker.”

 

He now plans to have a break from training and set into his sports science studies at Southbank University before he begins to prepare for an indoor campaign. “I want to improve my 60m PB of 6.82,” he says. “If I work on my starts as I want to, I’ll knock chunks off it.”

And then he will have three targets in his sights next summer – the European Under 23 Championships, World Student Games and the biggest prize of all, a place in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, on 25 August to 2 September.

 

Meanwhile, back in Athens Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) has withdrawn from Team Europe for the weekend’s World Cup match. She has been replaced in the 3000m by Krisztina Papp (Hungary).

 

The Norwich Union GB medallists from last month’s European Championships racing in Athens were:

 

4x100m: Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers), Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva Harriers), Dwayne Grant (Blackheath and Bromley) and Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers).

800m: Rebecca Lyne (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield).

4x100m: Emma Ania (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), Emily Freeman (Wakefield and District Harriers), Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies and Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers).