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UK Athletics

Rutherford leaps into world class

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The leading British performance on the first day of the Norwich Union European Trials at SportCity, Manchester was Greg Rutherford’s leap of 8.26m that moved him to second on the UK all-time list for the long jump, just one centimetre shy of the British record held by Chris Tomlinson. Andy Turner produced a fine sprint hurdles victory in a windy 13.24 seconds and there was drama in the Men’s 100m following the withdrawal of Dwain Chambers from the final, impressively won by Marlon Devonish. Ashia Hansen enjoyed a successful comeback in the triple jump after two years battling to overcome a knee injury that threatened her career and Joice Maduaka produced a lifetime best in the 100m final.




100m (elite standard: 10.26, development standard: 10.50)      


All the main protagonists started in the men's 100m heats but not all made it through to the final! The big news prior to the final was the withdrawal of British number one this year, Dwain Chambers (Belgrave), following his semi final, he said:

'I sustained a quad muscle injury in the semi and I'm withdrawing from the final as a precaution. I was happy with my form today and thought I was running well but I'm not prepared to take any risks that might jeopardise the rest of the season.'

In his absence it left the way open for an exciting final and that was won impressively by three time 200m Champion Marlon Devonish (Coventry). Devonish, who was disqualified last year, booked his place for Gothenburg with a tight 10.19 victory, he said afterwards:


 'They said I was just a 200m runner but I think I proved otherwise. It was a shame Dwain wasn't in it but I'm happy with my performance, especially after last year's false start. Christian got out well but I came through strongly at the end and I'm consistently in the 10.1s. The plan is to concentrate on the 200s in the Europeans as doing the two at the Commonwealths was probably a mistake.'


Also sealing his place in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team was Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) who ran 10.23 for second place after a 10.19 semi victory, he said: 'That was brilliant. I'm glad to come back and run well after returning from the States which I haven't done in recent years. Now for the Europeans,' said Edgar.


Mark Lewis Francis (Birchfield) who medalled for the sixth year running, kept alive his hopes of running the Europeans in third place with 10.28 seconds, especially if his training partner turns down his 100m place.


Mark Findlay (Newham & Essex Beagles) was a close fourth in 10.33, with Christian Malcolm fifth in 10.34 and Ryan Moseley setting a PB of 10.36 in sixth. Tim Abeyie (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was a disappointing 7th in 10.40.

Meanwhile, Darren Campbell (Sale) went out in the semi finals as did European Junior Champion Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes). Defending AAA champion, Jason Gardener (Wessex & Bath) withdrew after his heat, where he was second in 10.67.


'There's nothing wrong. I just haven't had a good batch of training since the Commonwealths. Because of the back problems I've had, I'm nowhere near my best and it's not worth risking injury.'



5000m: (elite standard: 13:32.00, development standard: 13:42.00)


This was a strange race with the two athletes in line for European selection, Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) who was a very close second in the European Cup 3000 and has been inside the development time and AAA 1500m champion Nick McCormick (Morpeth), who made a highly promising 5000m debut of 13:25.34 in Spain last month, languishing well behind the rest of the field.


They did move through the field but gave themselves too much to do as the race was deservedly won by Pete Reilly (Leigh) who led home the British challenge in the Flora London Marathon. AAA 10,000m champion Dominic Bannister (Shaftesbury Barnet) led through the first kilometre in 2:48.13 before Reilly took off and he was clear by 2km (5:31.21) and the lead was 12 seconds at 3km (8:16.33) as Farah came to life. However it was too late as the gap was still 10 seconds at 4km (11:04.14) and though McCormick and then Farah sprinted well on the last lap. Riley's 63 last lap proved sufficient to hold off Farah's 58 final circuit.


Riley won in a pb 13:46.68, superb running in the heat:


'I am over the moon at winning my first track title. My coach told me not to take on the race but the pace was too slow and no one came with me so I put my head down and went for it. I was very tired over the last couple of laps but to finish in a pb was great.'


Farah, who clocked 13:49.15, said: ' I am not happy with second but it was my fault. I was watching Nick and before we knew it Peter was gone. We should have gone with the pace and now we will have to see what happens about selection.'

McCormick eased off to finish third in 13:52.26 with Mike Skinner (Blackheath & Bromley) the only other runner inside 14 minutes with 13:53.83.


110mh: (elite standard: 13.55, development standard: 13.88)


The track performance of the day came from Andy Turner (Sale). Aided by a strong following wind of 2.7, Turner ran a superb time of 13.24 and only the great Colin Jackson and Tony Jarrett have run faster amongst British athletes.


'I couldn't have wished for a better race. It was wind assisted but I don't care. The last time I ran a PB, I backed it up a week later. I know I am capable of running those times. My coach dreamed I would run 13.26. so it was two hundredths out. I under performed in the Commonwealths and I think I can get a medal in the Europeans.'


UK Challenge leader Will Sharman (Belgrave) also enjoyed a great breakthrough and his windy 13.45 was inside the elite time, and though he doesn't have a legal mark inside the standard, at just 21, and improving fast, he should be comfortable for a place in the team for Gothenburg as he has been consistently beating the development time of 13.88 all season.


Defending champion Allan Scott (Shaftesbury) had his best run of the year to take third in 13.73, ahead of a disappointing David Hughes (Trafford), who ran 13.81 as six broke 14 seconds.


Pole Vault (elite standard: 5.70, development standard: 5.55)      


Surprise Commonwealth silver medallist Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex Beagles) who leapt 5.50 in Melbourne, won a disappointing competition clearing 5.30 and 5.40 at the second attempt before three failures at 5.55.


Lewis said, 'I'm pleased to have won in tricky conditions but I need to tighten a few things up if I'm going to get this 5.55 and get to the Europeans. Let's hope I can find that little bit extra in the next few competitions.'


Scott Simpson (Birchfield) took second with 5.30 while Cardiff's Paul Walker took bronze with a pb 5.15.


Long Jump (elite standard: 8.05, development standard: 7.95)     


Defending Champion Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes) needed to bounce back from his European Cup disaster and here he came close to the British record with a world class leap of 8.26m. Rutherford who started with a windy 7.82 and then improved to 7.90 in the fourth and then a windy 8.02 stadium record in the fifth.


The big jump in the final round came with a perfect 2 metres per second following wind which improved his previous best of 8.14m, when he won the European junior Championships last year. A delighted Rutherford said afterwards:


'I left it to the last jump again. I have been jumping well all year and over 8.30 in training and it's a shame that it’s 1cm short of the British record. I got six jumps in today and I haven't done that in a long time.


'I'm definitely in with a shout for the Europeans and I'm only 19. This win has put me up amongst the best in the world. My coach Frank Attoh, dad, best friend and girlfriend were all in the stand then my coach came down to shake my hand.'


Still the British record holder but only just, Chris Tomlinson didn't have a great competition but he pipped rival Nathan Morgan (Birchfield) for the silver with a 7.87 final jump. Morgan jumped 7.84 for third.


Shot Putt (elite standard: 20.00, development standard: 18.90)     


Carl Myerscough (Blackpool & Fylde) easily defended with Australian Chris Gavligio (Trafford) a clear second and there was a great breakthrough for teenager Chris Gearing (Belgrave)  who set a PB of 17.12 to take bronze. Gearing was lying second in the UK Challenge in the shot. Leader Emeka Udechuku decided to focus on the discus.


Myerscough, who already has a 20.36 mark under his belt from Gateshead, rubber-stamped his European selection by hitting the 20.00 elite standard right on the nail. That throw came in the first round and he backed that up with a 19.71 fourth round and 19.83 fifth round throw, which was two metres better than anyone else managed.


The Blackpool Tower wasn't happy though: 'I'm very disappointed. I'm in good shape to throw much further than 20.00m. I just couldn’t get my technique together at all. It's very frustrating. Conditions were perfect but I couldn't get my rhythm and need to sort my technique out.'


In fourth Sam Westlake Cann (Shaftesbury Barnet) also achieved a PB with 17.00.



Discus Throw (elite standard: 62.00, development standard: 62.00)          


Just as last year, Carl Myerscough (Blackpool & Fylde) made it a shot and discus double, winning in a fine 61.04. And just as last year Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) took second while Chris Gavligio, Trafford's Australian thrower gained his second medal of the day.


Myerscough's big throw came in the second round (just 7cm down on his European Cup mark which leads the UK lists this year) and a 59.12 final throw was also better than the opposition could muster.


Myerscough said, 'I feel better about that than I did about my shot. It was more of a serious competition and I'm delighted to go home with two gold medals.'


UK Challenge leader Udechuku in five of his six throws and he saved his best for last, a 58.72 while improved Gavliglio threw 55.76.


Hammer Throw (elite standard: 77.00, development standard: 75.00)       


As expected Andy Frost (Isle of Wight) defended his hammer title with 69.15, though it was closer than expected with Mike Floyd (Sale) achieving a season's best of 68.54 and less than a metre down. UK Challenge leader Simon Bown (Newham & Essex Beagles) took the bronze with 66.77.


Frost opened modestly with 64.62, followed by 68.49, a no throw, 68.56 and then the winning throw of 69.15 in the fifth round and 67.99.


Floyd's big throw came in the final round, going within a metre of his six-year old pb. Though Frost was some way off the 75.00 qualifying mark, he hasn't given up all hope. 'I am in much better shape than 69 metres. The training's going well but I'm just not getting it right in competition. If I get the timing right it'll go a long way, certainly better than my Commonwealth throw of 72.62. I'll look for a few more competitions, and guess I'll accept 74, if I do it.'                                                                                                                       




100m (elite standard: 11.30, development standard: 11.60)


Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was only third last year with 11.64.  What a difference a year makes as she sped to a stadium record 11.23, which was well inside the elite qualifying time for Gothenburg of 11.30 and it strengthened her hold on 8th spot on the UK all-time lists, and also bettered her 7 year-old pb.


Maduaka looked superb all day, bettering the qualifying time in the heat, though the wind was marginally over the limit. She always looked in control and benefiting from her improved strength this year and near perfect conditions (a plus wind of 1.2), she won by around five feet.


'It's down to hard work with my two coaches, Thomas Johnson and Ron Roddan who have both really helped. A fifth title is great but the PB and qualifying mark was what I was after. Gothenburg is the target and I'm very confident of some good results there.'


Anyika Onoura (Liverpool), who ran a pb 11.31 in her semi, wasn't quite as impressive in the final but at just 21, and backing that up with a 11.39, she could be added to the team. Montell Douglas (Blackheath & Bromley) who set a pb of 11.52 in the earlier rounds, took bronze in 11.57.


100m hurdles (elite standard 13.00, development standard: 13.45)


After some quick heats, the final didn't quite deliver but defending champion Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) was a clear winner and her win following her PB 12.93 in Cork earlier in the month, guaranteed her European selection.

Claxton won in 13.19 with second and third going to Sara McGreavy (Sale) and Gemma Bennett (Newham & Essex Beagles) who kept alive their hopes of going to Sweden by being well inside the development time of 13.45.


McGreavy ran 13.26 and Bennett 13.33 and the latter who lost her balance mid-race and did well to recover, shared the time with multi-eventer Jessica Ennis (Sheffield). Ennis had smashed her pb in the heat with 13.19. Kelly Sotherton, another having a busy day, achieved a fast 13.38 for fifth place.


Claxton said: 'Three times now and I want to make it four next year. I knew I was in good form as I ran a PB a couple of weeks ago. Today was about winning which is what I did. Training is going well and I should peak at the right time, which is the Europeans.'


High Jump (elite standard: 1.91, development standard: 1.89)      


Ireland's Deidre Ryan won in an Irish record and stadium record of 1.92 as the British jumpers slightly disappointed though there were seven over 1.82 or higher.


The British battle was won by European Cup representative and Commonwealth medallist Julie Crane (Sale) with a third time clearance of 1.86. Crane, who said she had a slight problem with her back, has a 1.89 indoor mark and 1.88 outdoors mark to her credit but needed the elite standard of 1.91 to be sure of a trip to Sweden.


Third place was shared by Jessica Ennis (Sheffield) who does have the 1.91 mark from the Commonwealth heptathlon but here she was clear up to 1.82, but failed three times as 1.86.That was also the fate of junior Stephanie Pywell (Sale) who thus shared the bronze medal.


Fellow junior Vicki Hubbard (Grantham), who leads the UK Challenge, was fifth due to one failure at her opening height of 1.74. Also at 1.82 were Commonwealth Heptathlon champion Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield), five times winner Susan Moncrieff (Trafford) and teenager Jessica Leach (Dudley)..


Triple Jump (elite standard: 14.10, development standard: 13.65)


American record holder Tiombe Hurd (Birchfield) was a classy winner, leaping 14.15 in the fifth round to win easily. The big news of the competition though was the return of UK record holder and European and Commonwealth champion Ashia Hansen (Birchfield). The 34-year-old, who won this title back in 1996, 2001 and 2002, ruptured a tendon in her left knee at the European Cup in Poland in June 2004 and this was her first competition for two years. Hansen started tentatively with 11.99, improved to 13.37 in the second, 13.64 in the third and after two passes, a slight improvement to 13.65 for a UK season's best.


'I was hoping things would hold together then I ended up getting cramp in warm-up which is why I had to sit out two rounds. It's been tough with lots of complications. I've had four operations, the last in January. So to come here and walk away with everything in tact, I'm really happy.


'I'm not a development athlete - I've been to championships so I have to prove my fitness and get the 14.10 standard they want. I've got a few weeks left. I needed to go out and attack the run-up and didn't do that today. I tried to go for it more in the last round but still didn't attack it enough and need to focus on technical aspects.'


UK Challenge leader Nadia Williams (Shaftesbury Barnet) was third with13.27.


Javelin Throw (elite standard: 60.00, development standard: 55.50)


Goldie Sayers (Belgrave) ensured her Gothenburg selection by easily winning the javelin. She already had the elite standard with a 60.41 mark in Denmark last week, and she won in her fourth title in a row with a championship record of 58.81. Sayers opened with 57.16 which she improved to 57.29 in the fourth and finally the record 58.81 in the last round.


'I didn't make the most of the conditions today and felt I should have thrown further but a few centimetres off in the run up means a few metres less in the throw. I'll definitely be throwing pbs before the end of the season.'


The next seven finishers were all aged 19 or 20 and the silver went to Jo Blair (Birchfield) whose best throw of 50.48 came in the last round. UK Challenge leader and defending champion Laura Whittingham (Wakefield) took bronze with a season's best of 50.22. Laurin Therin (Channel Islands) set a PB of 48.50 in fourth