British clean sweep in men’s 200m and a GB 1-2 in the women’s 200m as Jake Wightman and Emelia Gorecka also claim gold at European Junior Championships
A clean sweep in the men’s 200m final at the European Junior Championships highlighted a super Saturday for GB in Rieti.
Contributing to a medal haul which saw the British team claim four gold medals in less than an hour of action in Italy, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake led home team mates Leon Reid and Matthew Hudson-Smith with his personal best 20.62. Coincidentally, 20.62 was the time that Reid had clocked in his semi final earlier in the day to qualify as quickest ahead of Mitchell-Blake for the final and their identical PBs boost them to joint fourth on the British junior all-time list.
Just before and Dina Asher-Smith had led a British one-two in the women’s 200m, a strong finish seeing her cross the line in 23.29 into a -2.2m wind. Asher-Smith and team-mate Desiree Henry had looked pretty evenly matched at the bend, before Asher-Smith turned on the gas to power ahead of her compatriot, Henry clocking 23.56 for silver. Tessa van Schagen of the Netherlands claimed bronze with 23.65.
Jake Wightman claimed GB’s first gold of the day in the men’s 1500m where his 3:44.14 was enough to win the battle with Turkey’s Süleyman Bekmezci for top spot. Perhaps he had been inspired by Mo Farah’s European record over the distance in Monaco the day before, as the Brit held on to finish ahead of Bekmezci who clocked 3:44.45 as Germany’s Julius Lawnik claimed bronze with 3:45.43.
Emelia Gorecka had gone into the women’s 3000m final as the one to beat and she didn’t disappoint, clocking a hugely dominant 9:12.53 to add another medal to GB’s haul and claim the gold she had been craving. The world junior bronze medallist, who is also entered into tomorrow’s 5000m final, went into the championships looking to go one better than her silver in Tallinn two years ago and should be pleased with a season’s best time that saw her cross 13 seconds clear of second-placed Emine Hatun Tuna of Turkey (9:25.83PB).
Sophie McKinna had claimed GB’s first medal of the day thanks to a fourth-round throw of 17.09m in the women’s shot final. Having taken an early lead, McKinna became Britain’s first-ever female shot medallist at these championships as she claimed silver behind Turkey’s recently crowned world youth champion Emel Dereli who unleashed a final-round throw of 18.04m to claim a national record along with her European junior gold.
Another world youth champion that was again in fine form was Aníta Hinriksdóttir who added European junior 800m gold to the title she claimed in Donetsk a week ago. GB’s Jess Judd had withdrawn prior to the championships, so the Icelandic runner went into the race as favourite, her 2:01.14 clocking sealing the victory ahead of Olena Sidorska of the Ukraine (2:01.46).
Jonathan Davies was another GB athlete to medal, his 14:36.62 in the men’s 5000m seeing him finish just ahead of team-mate Michael Callegari (14:42.54) for bronze in a race won by Turkey’s Ali Kaya in 13:49.76.
Earlier hurdles action had seen France’s Wilhem Belocian claim the 110m hurdles title in European junior record clocking of 13.18. Swiss athlete Noemi Zbären won the 100m hurdles thanks to her run of 13.17. Finland’s Oona Kettunen won the women’s 3000m steeplechase in a national junior record of 9:45.51 as Eirik Greibrokk Dolve took gold (5.30m) in a men’s pole vault competition that saw GB’s Rowan May finish fourth with a 5.25m PB.
A fifth-round throw of 65.44m was enough for Belarussian Hanna Zinchuk claim gold in the women’s hammer competition, while Germany’s Tobias Potye cleared a personal best 2.20m to win the men’s high jump and his compatriot Julian Weber threw a personal best 79.68m to win the men’s javelin.
» For full results from Rieti see here