British quartet progress in Gothenburg

Chris Tomlinson, Steve Lewis, Lauren Howarth and Asha Philip remain on course after Saturday’s opening session

Chris Tomlinson (Mark Shearman)

All four Brits from Saturday morning’s session at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg qualified from their first rounds.

Steve Lewis cleared a season’s best of 5.70m and, while France’s Renaud Lavillenie remains a big favourite for the final, Lewis is eyeing a medal.

“If I can jump 5.70m relaxed like that, I’ve got a couple of poles in my bag. My indoor PB in 5.77m and the British record is 5.81, so it would be nice to go close to that,” he said.

Asha Philip qualified comfortably for the 60m semi-finals with 7.19, one of the quickest times of her career, though the heats saw several of her competitors set PBs.

Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen equalled her pre-championship European lead with 7.12, but she was matched by Bulgaria’s Tezdzhan Naimova, just ahead of her in the same heat, and Germany’s Verena Sailer.

Former world indoor silver medallist Chris Tomlinson had not been on his best form thus far in the season, but reached the final with 7.98m, his best of 2013. He was fifth overall from the two pools, led by Russian Aleksandr Menkov’s European lead of 8.22m.

Tomlinson’s third-round leap ensured the defending champion, Sebastian Bayer, would not be taking part in the final. The German, who also won in 2009 in a European indoor record of 8.71m as well the 2012 European outdoor title, recorded just 7.91m.

Lauren Howarth qualified comfortably for the final of the women’s 3000m, clocking 9:03.30 for second in her heat. She was behind one of the event favourites, Sara Moreira of Portugal, and just ahead of Ireland’s double European cross-country champion Fionnuala Britton.

In the men’s 1500m, which was controversially devoid of any Brits following the GB selection, France’s 2012 Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi and European 2010 outdoor 800m champion Marcin Lewandowski were among the heat winners.

In the high jump, Italy’s Alessia Trost just scraped into the final in eighth place by clearing 1.92m at her third attempt.

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