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UK athletes in IAAF World Cup

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Becky Lyne

Becky Lyne (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) ran a brilliantly brave race for Team Europe on the opening day of the IAAF World Cup in the Athens Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening, 16 September.

 

There was no last gasp sprint to golden glory as happened when her predecessor as the UK’s 800m No.1, Kelly Holmes (Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC) ran herself into the realms of the legends with victories over 800m and 1500m on the same track at the 2004 Olympic Games.

 

But Lyne capped her breakthrough summer as a senior at international level by finishing fourth behind three of the world’s current best two-lap racers.

 

The 24-year-old European Bronze medallist hit the bell at the shoulder of the leader, Eleni Filandra (Greece) and swept into the lead down the back straight on the second lap. Digging in determinedly, she maintained her advantage all the way round the final bend but, hard though she strove, could not prevent the big guns blasting past her in the closing stages.

 

In a desperate finish, Zulia Calatayud (Cuba), the reigning World Champion, won in 2:00.06 for the Americas, three-hundredths ahead of Commonwealth Champion Janeth Jepkosgei (Kenya) representing Africa. Olga Kotlyarova (Russia), the European Champion, squeezed into third place with 35m to go, clocking 2:00.84 to the 2:00.97 of the gallant Lyne.

 

Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) ran a fabulous last leg of the Men’s 4x100m to snatch second place for the Norwich Union GB quartet representing Team Europe behind the USA, who clocked 37.59 seconds, a championship record.

 

Dwain Chambers (Belgrave Harriers), Dwayne Grant (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies), Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva Harriers) and Lewis-Francis clocked 38.45, quicker than the 38.91 registered by Chambers, Darren Campbell (Sale Harriers Manchester), Devonish and Lewis-Francis when they won the European title last month.

 

The women’s 4x100m was nothing short of farcical, especially for the Norwich Union GB quartet who earned the right to represent Team Europe by winning the Silver medals at the European Championships in Gothenburg. Emma Ania (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) and the USA athlete were both placed in the wrong lanes for the second legs, to the obvious astonishment of their first-leg team mates. They sorted out, kind of, in that USA finished third and Team Europe ninth. Then USA were disqualified and Team Europe moved up to eighth in a race won unquestionably and impressively by the Americas in 42.26 seconds. Not the manner in which Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers), Ania, Emily Freeman (Wakefield and District Harriers) and Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) deserved to end their season.

 

Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Yamile Aldama finished third for Africa in the women’s triple jump with a best of 14.78m (wind: +1.0) with the second of her four attempts. European Champion Tayana Lebedeva won for Russia with a championship record 15.13m (wind: +1.4).

 

Team Europe’s replacement for Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) in the 3000m, Krisztina Papp (Hungary) finished sixth in 8:51.15, well outside her PB of 8:44.49. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) came up with a trademark blistering final lap to win for Africa in a championship record 8:33.78, 6 seconds clear of Lidia Chojecka (Poland).