Golds for Hayley McLean, Zak Seddon and the women’s 4x100m relay team on the final day of competition contribute to a best-ever medal haul of 19 for GB in Rieti
Three golds, two silvers and two bronzes in Rieti on Sunday helped make for GB’s best-ever medal haul at the European Junior Championships.
Hayley McLean and Zak Seddon claimed individual titles in the 400m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase respectively on a day that saw Yasmin Miller, Dina Asher-Smith, Steffi Wilson and Desiree Henry set a national junior record in the women’s 4x100m relay to also secure one of the nine golds claimed by the GB team at this year’s championships.
A personal best of 57.26 for McLean in the women’s 400m hurdles final boosts her to third on the under-20 all time list behind Perri Shakes-Drayton and Meghan Beesley. The 18-year-old admitted she is thrilled and emotional to have claimed victory in a race that saw her finish ahead of France’s Joan Medjid (57.34 PB) and Stina Troest of Denmark (57.41 NJR). McLean’s team-mate Shona Richards clocked a 58.33 PB for fifth.
“I’m very emotional,” she told British Athletics, “especially when I’ve worked all season to come here and get a gold medal. It’s kind of a dream come true so I’m very happy.”
The gold rush continued for GB with Miller, Asher-Smith, Wilson and Henry storming to their second national junior record of the day in the women’s 4x100m relay. Having clocked 43.89 to qualify as fastest for the final, the quartet bettered the national junior record they had only recently set with 43.81 to take the title. France claimed silver with 44.00 as the Netherlands clocked 44.22 for bronze.
Zak Seddon went into the men’s 3000m steeplechase as favourite and comfortably claimed gold, crossing the line in 8:45.91 almost two seconds clear of second-placed Viktor Bakharev of Russia (8:47.81) and Turkey’s Ersin Tekal (8:54.54 PB).
The GB medal rush didn’t stop their either, Nick Percy claiming discus silver thanks to a third-round throw of 62.04m to place him behind Hungarian athlete Róbert Szikszai who clocked a national junior record 64.75m. Another silver went to Jazmin Sawyers in the long jump as she leapt 6.63m to finish just 7cm behind winner Malaika Mihambo of Germany.
Bronzes for Jacob Paul in the men’s 400m hurdles and the men’s 4x400m relay team of Alex Boyce, Matthew Hudson-Smith, Ben Snaith and George Caddick added to the record haul to top the chart ahead of Russia (22, eight gold) and Germany (11, four gold).
» For full results from Rieti see here. You will find more in-depth coverage together with pictures and results in the July 25 issue of AW.