British athletes win four gold medals on third day at European Juniors, favoruites Sirmais and Bengtsson live up to expectation
Just 24 hours after winning gold in the 100m, Britain’s Jodie Williams returned in the longer sprint to scoop her second European junior title of the week in Tallinn.
Her victory was one of four British gold medals on the third day of action in Estonia, as Great Britain now moves into first on the medals table with one more day of competition left.
After easing down to a 23.21 clocking in the 200m heats, Williams lined up as favourite for the final just two hours later. The 17-year-old did not disappoint and ran away with the title with her second-fastest time ever of 22.9.
The stiff -1.5m/s headwind suggested that her performance was intrinsically some way better than her PB of 22.79, set with a perfect 2.0m/s tailwind last year. As was the case in the 100m, Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands finished second, clocking 23.31.
“We had such a quick turnaround,” said Williams, who became the first woman in eight years to win the European junior sprint double. “I think it was just two hours, I literally cooled down then started warming up again.
“I’m not particularly pleased with the time, but it’s good to go sub-23 seconds again. I felt a lot better in the heats but I don’t think it was ever going to be a quick time in the final after that (the semi final). I’m definitely happy though; I’ve done what I came here to do.”
David Bolarinwa made it a British 200m double in what is arguably his weaker event, but perhaps not for much longer. Despite a strong -2.7m/s headwind, the Youth Olympic bronze medallist sped to a PB of 21.07 to finish ahead of French duo Pierre Vincent (21.22) and Jeffrey John (21.24).
“I’m so happy to come out and deliver like I did today,” said Bolarinwa. “To finish third yesterday and come back to win, that’s the sign of a true champion. I had to believe in myself like my mum and dad told me, and I did that.”
Another two medals came Britain’s way in the men’s 110m hurdles as training partners Jack Meredith and Andy Pozzi finished first and second. Pozzi was perhaps the favourite to win, having broken Meredith’s UK junior record earlier this year. But world junior bronze medallist came away with the win in 13.50 to Pozzi’s 13.57.
“I feel I should have won the World Youths in 2009 (he was second) and World Juniors last year (he was third), and now that I’ve won this I’m just over the moon,” said Meredith. “I thought I could win it, I’m just not sure that anyone else did.”
Britain’s fourth gold medal of the day came in the men’s 1500m, with Adam Cotton finishing almost a second ahead of Norway’s Thomas Eide to secure the gold, becoming Britain’s first winner of the 1500m title since Graham Williamson in 1979. Cotton’s team-mates Cameron Boyek and Charlie Grice finished ninth and 10th respectively.
“That was incredible, absolutely incredible,” said Cotton. “John (Nuttall, his coach) told me to hit the front at the bell and control it and that’s exactly what I did.”
World junior record-holder Angelica Bengtsson had been set to be one of the stars of the championships, but after a shaky pole vault qualification there was a bit of a question mark over her form. But the Swedish teenager rebounded well in the final to smash Yelena Isinbayeva’s championship record with 4.57m, the best ever mark set by a junior outdoors, and second on the world junior all-time performance list behind Bengtsson’s own 4.63m world junior record set indoors earlier this year.
Britain’s Katie Byres narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing fourth with 4.10m behind Germany’s Lillie Schnitzerling and Russia’s Natalia Demidenko, both clearing 4.20m.
The other junior star in action today – world junior record-holder Zigismunds Sirmais – lived up to expectations in the javelin and also set a championship record. The Latvian had his work cut out for him though, as Poland’s Marcin Krukowski opened with 79.19m to hold the lead for four rounds. But Sirmais responded with his best throw of the day in round five. Britain’s Richard Shuttleworth was 11th (68.81m).
Ukraine’s Anastasiya Tkatchuk was a class apart in the women’s 800m and led from gun to tape to win in 2:02.73. Britain’s Rowena Cole proved to be her nearest challenger and set a PB of 2:03.43 to win silver ahead of Russia’s Ayvika Malanova.
After winning the 10,000m with the biggest winning margin ever witnessed at the European Junior Championships, Spain’s Gabriel Navarro returned to the track for the 5000m and despite it being a much closer race, still came away with the win in 14:07.06.
Jonny Hay took bronze in a time of 14:07.78, winning Great Britain’s seventh medal of the day.
Serbia’s Amela Terzic, the European junior cross-country silver medallist, finally landed a big title, winning 3000m gold in a PB of 9:17.61. The women’s 3000m steeplechase was won by Germany’s Gesa-Felicitas Krause by almost seven seconds clear in 9:51.08.
Nooralotta Neziri of Finland ended Norway’s Isabelle Pederson’s reign over the 100m hurdles at the international junior level. Pederson had won the 2009 world youth title and 2010 world junior title, but today Neziri was simply too good, clocking 13.34 to Pederson’s 13.37.
Elsewhere Nikita Anishchenkov, the Russian junior record-holder, won a high-quality men’s high jump with 2.27m, Slovenia’s Barbara Spiler set a championship record of 67.06m in the women’s hammer, Germany’s Lena Urbaniak won the women’s shot with 16.31m, and team-mate Hagen Pohle won the men’s 10,000m race walk in 40:43.73.