Jodie Williams clocks lifetime best of 11.18 to break championship record in Tallin
On the second day of the European Junior Championships, Great Britain’s Jodie Williams won her third major 100m title in as many years and it was arguably her most impressive victory to date.
The strong headwinds from earlier in the afternoon calmed down and switched direction just in time for the 100m finals, as Williams sped to a winning time of 11.18 – a UK junior record, a championship record and a European age-17 best.
She finished a quarter of a second ahead of world junior bronze medallist Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands, who set a PB of 11.43, with Germany’s Tatjana Lofamakanda Pinto in third (11.48). Williams’ team-mate Marylyn Nwawulor finished eighth in 11.73.
Williams becomes just the second British woman ever to win a European junior 100m title, 38 years after Sonia Lannaman achieved the feat back in the Seventies.
“I’ve been training better than last year and my times in training have been better than last year so I knew I had 11.1 in me, I’ve just not had the right conditions until today,” said Williams.
“These girls are so talented and they’ve been running good times this season so it wasn’t even a given that I’d medal, but I performed on the day and I’m over the moon. I had hoped today would be the day for a PB so I’m really happy.”
Williams’ gold followed two British medals in the men’s 100m final, but the class of the field was undoubtedly Jimmy Vicaut of France. The world junior bronze medallist had clocked 10.12 into a headwind in yesterday’s semi-finals, but in more favourable conditions Vicaut ran a PB of 10.07 to move to third on the European junior all-time list behind Christophe Lemaitre and Dwain Chambers.
Britain’s Adam Gemili, a semi-professional footballer for Dagenham & Redbridge, ran 10.41 for silver ahead of team-mate David Bolarinwa (10.46).
The women’s heptathlon was a competition of an incredible standard as for the first time ever at the European Junior Championships four women broke 6000 points. World junior champion Dafne Schippers took gold with a score of 6153, but her victory was not without controversy.
The Dutch teenager went into day two as the overnight leader, but in the first event of the day she managed just 6.08m in the long jump – or so it seemed. She ran through her final attempt and the jump was not measured, but as she had taken off behind the board – and therefore technically legal – she requested to retake her final jump.
It is a move that paid dividends. Until that point Schippers was trailing German rival Sara Gambetta in the long jump by 12cm. But with a lifeline of another jump, she nailed it with a PB of 6.47m. It was also another Dutch junior record to add to her ever-growing collection (60m, 100m, 200m, 100m hurdles and heptathlon).
Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson was someway short of her best with just 6.05m – her final attempt looked to be in the 6.50m region, but was ruled a foul.
Although Schippers maintained her lead through to the end, the javelin was the event where medals were decided and Latvia’s Laura Ikauniece produced a 50.70m throw to land herself in the bronze medal position. Schippers threw 39.76m to Gambetta’s 48.36m, but went into the 800m with a comfortable points cushion and duly came away the winner.
Gambetta smashed her PB with 6108 for second ahead of Ikauniece (6063) and Germany’s Tilia Udelhoven. Johnson-Thompson finished sixth with a PB of 5787 to move to No.3 on the UK all-time junior list.
Had Schippers not been allowed to retake her final long jump, the contest between her and Gambetta would have been much closer. Schippers would have gone into the 800m trailing Gambetta by 109 points, meaning she’d have had to finish eight seconds ahead of the German to win. In actuality, Schippers finished just two seconds ahead.
There was more drama in the men’s long jump final. Russia’s Sergey Morgunov took the lead in round two with 7.60m, only for Poland’s Tomasz Jaszczuk to improve his PB by 27 centimetres to steal the lead with 8.01m.
Not to be outdone, Morgunov pulled out a leap of 8.10m in the following round to regain the lead. Jaszczuk was not done however, and produced another PB of 8.11m in the final round. But with the final jump of the competition – and aided by a 3.6m/s tailwind – Morgunov responded once more with a jump of 8.18m to wrap up the title.
In the throws finals, Quentin Bigot of France won the men’s hammer with 78.45m from Moldova’s Sergei Marghiev (76.60m), while Shanice Craft led a German 1-2 in the discus from Anna Ruh, 58.65m to 58.10m.
Hungary’s Marcel Deak-Nagy was a clear winner of the men’s 400m title, setting a national senior record of 45.42 from Russia’s Nikita Uglov (46.01). Britain’s Jarryd Dunn was eighth in 47.56.
Bianca Razor of Romania won the women’s 400m in 51.96 with an even bigger winning margin as Yuliya Yurenya of Belarus was second (53.03). British duo Katie Kirk (54.36) and Lucy James (55.18) were fifth and seventh respectively.