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UK Athletics

Idowu takes victory in Birmingham

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The Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team finished third in the Norwich Union International in Birmingham on Sunday 20 August and there was a personal triumph for Phillips Idowu (Belgrave Harriers) in the triple jump.


Idowu won the event and showed that not only has he not been affected by missing out on a medal at the European Championships in Gothenburg, but that the domestic competition between Nathan Douglas (Oxford City) and him is a strong as ever. The Commonwealth Games champion overcame the pain of a back injury to be the sole British individual winner of the weekend as Russia won the match with 349 points, followed by the USA with 312.5. Britain were third with 269 and China were fourth with 158.5.

Idowu, who was fifth in Gothenburg as Douglas took silver, showed real fight as his back injury worsened.
He could manage just three jumps. His first was 16.65m, his second of 17.10m gave him victory and after he fouled on his third, Douglas he pulled out the competition. China’s Yanxi Li finished second with 17.05m with Aleksandr Sergeyev, of Russia, third with 16.77m. Douglas was sixth with 16.74m.

Idowu said: “The back was a bit sore in the Gothenburg final and I knew it would be sore here. But I wanted to come and put in an appearance.  “I jumped as far as I thought I would in this condition so I am content with that. I am content with the way the year has gone and I am looking forward to the next couple of years. I do not know whether I will jump again this year; we will have to see.”


Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) again demonstrated his strength as he finished second in the 3000m behind Bernard Lagat, of the USA, who won Olympic 1500m silver in Athens. Lagat won in 7:50.49, with Farah second in 7:51.84 and Russia’s Sergey Ivanov third in 7:59.49. Michael Skinner (Blackheath & Bromey) was fifth in 8:18.93. Farah said: “It was great to run against a class athlete such as Bernard. I ran okay and gave him a bit of a hard time. I have been feeling a little tired since the Europeans so today was tough. I matched every move during the race but just could not any faster over the last 200m.”


Gothenburg long jump silver-medallist Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes) was second again, but notched an impressive scalp in Olympic champion Dwight Phillips, of America. Brian Johnson, of the USA, won with 7.99m, Rutherford was second with 7.96m from his first jump with Phillips only fifth with 7.75m. Chris Tomlinson (Newham & Essex Beagles) was eighth with 7.66m. Rutherford said: “I thought I was going to jump a little bit further but my take off ankle is giving me some pain. I have not given it time to rest so until I do, I will not go any further.”


But there was final event mishap for the men in the 4 x 400m relay. Led by Rob Tobin (Basingstoke & Mid Hants), who then handed over to Richard Buck (Rowntrees) with Richard Strachan (Leeds City) next, the problem happened as Graham Hedman (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) took the baton and went round the first bend. It fell from his grasp and Dave Collins, UK Athletics Performance director, had a chat with the team afterwards. He said: “Graham keeps his number attached to his shorts with three pins and the baton caught that.”


Jemma Simpson (Newquay & Par) produced one of the performances of the day with a brilliant run in the 800m. The Russian duo had finished first and second in Gothenburg, and Simpson had not even made the final. But she delivered a spirited display to finish second in 2:02.31 as European champion Olga Kotlyarova won in 2:02.09 with Svetlana Klyuka third in 2:02.34. Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) was was fourth in 2:03.08. Simpson said: “That was a great result in this type of field. The wind made it difficult but I was focussed on the race so it wasn’t an issue.”


It has been some week for Sam Ellis (Barnsley). Seven days ago he won a bronze medal on the final afternoon of the European Championships and then within 48 hours he was in hospital having his finger stitched up after cutting it on broken glass.

But he was back running today, as he finished a narrow third again in the 800m. Ellis battled at the finish but could not prevent Khadevis Robinson, of the USA, from winning in 1:47.48 with Russia’s Dmitriy Bogdanov second in 1:47.85 with the Briton third in 1:47.98. ”The season has been a huge learning curve,” said Ellis. “They used some tricks on me today. They were slowing and using different pace. It was great to have the whole crowd cheering me on, not just my family.”


His fellow Briton Michael Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton) was fourth in 1:48.38.
Another athlete who won bronze in Gothenburg also finished third in the 400m Hurdles.

Rhys Williams (Cardiff) was positioned well throughout the 400m hurdles and though he charged for a better final place, Americans Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson were too strong. Clement won in 48.64, Jackson was second in 48.67, Williams was third in 49.43 and fellow Briton Ryan Dinham (Belgrave Harriers) was seventh in 52.43.  “The Europeans was a great experience for me,” said Williams, “I was so glad to come away with a medal. Today I wanted to remember that and use it here. This crowd was great to run in front of.”


It was a busy weekend for Nick Nieland (Shaftesbury Barnet), and it was not all about athletics. He had official duties at a wedding on Saturday and, as he said, he was not quite the best man today in the javelin as he finished fourth with 76.31m as China’s Qi Chen won with 80.04m. Chen triumphed with his final throw while Commonwealth Games champion Nieland’s best came from his fourth. He said: “I am kind of disappointed. I didn’t prepare well as I was best man at a wedding, it’s no excuse though.” Neil McLellan (Stevenage & North Herts) was eighth with 70.44m.

A week after Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) did so much of the running at the European Championships, but finished fourth, she met the woman who was second in Gothenburg. It was a similar outcome after another fine, front-running display from Pavey who was second, passed with just over a lap to go by Liliya Shobukhova.

The Russian won in 8:38.42, a stadium record, from Pavey, in 8:42.35, with Britain's Faye Fullerton (Havering Mayesbrook)) sixth in 9:20.71. Pavey, who is set to run the BUPA Great North Run in October, said: “I am fairly pleased. I wanted a hard race and I got it. I was a little disappointed with the Europeans. The Great North Run will be a new experience for me.”

It was some afternoon in the Hammer as Russia’s European champion Tatyana Lysenko treated the crowd to a great display which included an all-comers record of 76.24 with her final throw. Britain’s Shirley Webb (City of Edinburgh) was fifth with 64.59m and Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers) was sixth with 60.81m.

“It was very good to be in with such a world class field,” said Webb. A stadium record was achieved in the women’s high jump when Russian Yekaterina Savchenko cleared 1.95m, with Britons Julie Crane (Sale Harriers Manchester) and Stephanie Pywell (Sale Harriers Manchester) third and fourth respectively. Crane cleared 1.87m and Pywell 1.83m.

”It is great to compete with top jumpers like the Russians said Crane. “You can learn so much from being here. After not qualifying for the Europeans, I have done some good work in training, so the height today shows me that the training is working well.”

In the women’s 200m, Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was fifth in 23.25, just ahead of British teammate Emily Freeman (Wakefield & District) in sixth in 23.44 as American Allyson Felix won in an all-comers record of 22.19.

Maduaka, who just missed out on a medal in the 100m in Gothenburg, was third in the event yesterday in 11.42 as Brianna Glenn, of the USA, won in 11.34. Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers) was sixth in 11.51.

Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva) has been dashing between events this weekend. He won the invitational 100m on Saturday, before running the third leg in the victorious 4 x 100m relay. Today he put in another good performance in the 200m to finish second in 20.49 behind Wallace Spearmon, of the USA, the world championship silver medallist from Helsinki last year. Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets) was sixth in 21.22.
Devonish praised the support he has received this weekend and said: “The crowd were fantastic. They really helped me during my races.”

Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was fifth in the 100m hurdles in 13.33, with teammate Sara McGreavy (Sale Harriers Manchester) seventh in 13.55 as Jenny Adams, of the USA, won in 12.94.

Brad Walker, of the USA, won the Pole Vault with 5.61m as Christian North (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) finished fifth with 5.16m and Scott Simpson (Birchfield) was sixth with 5.01m.

Britain’s women were third in the 4 x 400m relay as the USA won in 3:25.54 with Russia second in 3:26.68. The British quartet of Emma Duck (Team Southampton), Jenny Meadows (Wigan & District), Lee McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Nicola Sanders (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Harrow) clocked 3:27.87.

The first event of this second day in Birmingham was an indication to the future as the latest race in the Norwich Union On Camp With Kelly series, a 1500m race won by Hannah Whitmore (Charnwood) in 4:23.22 from Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester) second in 4:25.19 with Linzi Snow (Woodford Green and Essex Ladies) third in 4:29.43.