World indoor and Commonwealth champion leads after two events, while a quartet of British field eventers make finals during Thursday’s morning session
Britain’s world indoor and Commonwealth champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a solid start to the first morning of her heptathlon campaign at the European Championships and leads by 51 points after two events, Steve Smythe reports.
The 25-year-old was fourth after a time of 13.34 in the 100m hurdles – her third-quickest ever – just behind Germany’s big hope Carolin Schafer who ran 13.33.
Leading after one event was Germany’s Louisa Grauvogel who won her heat easily in 12.97 ahead of Czech Katerina Cachova.
Belgium’s world and Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam did not get a great start as her sluggish 13.69 left her in 14th.
Heptathlon (100m hurdles): Event 1/7
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 9, 2018
As expected, the high jump was a battle between world-class performers Thiam and Johnson-Thompson.
The Briton entered at 1.82m and then had first time clearances at 1.85m, 1.88m and a season’s best-equalling 1.91m, though never really came close at 1.94m.
Thiam entered at 1.85m and likewise also had a perfect record up to 1.91m but was also surprisingly unconvincing at 1.94m.
Both scored 1119 points so after two events Johnson-Thompson has 2193 points from Thjiam’s 2142.
Cachova, who was the best of the rest with a 1.85m leap, is third on 2122, while Grauvogel is fourth on 2057 after a 1.76m clearance and Schafer sixth on 2041 after a 1.79m jump.
All three Brits made it through to the women’s long jump final, though not without a few worries.
Towards the end of the second jumps in the qualifying round none were in a qualifying position.
World leader Lorraine Ugen had a big foul in her first jump but qualified easily enough with a 6.70m leap in her second.
Shara Proctor started with a modest 6.22m but then jumped 6.75m despite being 16 centimetres short of the board.
2016 runner-up Jazmin Sawyers started modestly but improved as she went on to leap 6.64m which was just short of the automatic 6.67m but ultimately 6.61m proved enough for a top 12 place.
Proctor was second best and Ugen fourth ranked with Sawyers ninth.
Defending champion Ivana Spanovic topped qualifying with a 6.84m leap.
“It seems like I have a pattern for preliminary rounds but I live to see another day and that’s all that matters,” said Proctor. “I’m going to come out and attack for the final. I’m confident fit and ready and it’s at night so that’s better for me.”
Ugen said: “Job done. It was all right. My first jump was a foul but I knew it was over the automatic qualifying mark. I just had to make sure to get the second round in high on the board and I knew it would be enough to qualify.”
Sawyers commented: “Qualifying is always difficult. I never seem to have an easy time in qualifying, I wish I could just do it in one jump but I am through and that is all that really counts. We wanted all three of us in the final as you’ve got to have all three in the final to have a British 1-2-3.”
Jade Lally also progressed as she qualified for the women’s discus final.
She fell marginally short of the required 58.50m but a 57.71m placed her 11th best, with 56.52m good enough to make the final.
Her team-mate Kirsty Law threw a non-qualifying 52.37m.
Lally said: “I made that hard work for myself. I’m grateful I made the final. I really didn’t know if I would be competing today. Two days ago in my last training session something happened to my back. It was hard. I couldn’t put my knickers and socks on and I was in a bad way. I’m delighted I started and scraped through to the final.”
Huge favourite and quadruple champion Sandra Perkovic, who is also the double world and Olympic champion, was a class apart with a 64.54m throw.
German pairing Shanice Craft (61.13m) and Nadine Muller (60.64) were the only others over 60 metres.
Some lacklustre women’s javelin qualifying in the midday sun was enlivened by Germany’s Christin Hussong launching a PB of 67.29m which moves her to second in the European rankings.
Only four others managed the required 60.50m and these included European leader and defending champion Tatsiana Khalodovich, who threw 61.21m. A mark of 59.29m made the top 12 and final.
Elliot Giles in the wars after bumpy ride to 800m semi-finals
In the men’s 800m, the three British contenders progressed from the heats but, for Elliot Giles, his passage to the semi-finals was anything but smooth, Euan Crumley reports.
Attempting to pass on the inside coming into the home straight, the 2016 European bronze medallist tussled with and was cut off by Abedin Mujezinovic. Giles stumbled and ultimately had to resort to throwing himself across the line to make sure of his qualification, coming third in 1:48.05 and gaining a scraped torso after hitting the track, while his Bosnian foe was disqualified for obstruction, as was German Marc Reuther for an earlier incident in the race.
Saul Ordonez of Spain was first in 1:47.95, followed by Poland’s Michal Rozmys in 1:48.01.
“That guy out there (Mujezinovic), he was racing but boy did he step in and step out, it was harsh,” said Giles. “He stepped in, I tried to go the other side, then he stepped out. I was thinking ‘what are you doing?’ then I was going down the home straight thinking ‘no way am I losing this, I’ve done too much’, so I tried to go again.
“I dipped but I didn’t know if I got it and I came away with this war wound.”
‘His coach will be having nightmares… textbook stuff of how not to do it’
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 9, 2018
The second heat proved to be much quicker, which worked out well for Guy Learmonth as the Scot’s 1:46.75 in coming fifth proved to be enough to see him progress in a fastest loser spot. Pole Mateusz Borkowski won the heat in 1:46.41, ahead of Spaniard Alvaro de Arriba.
Heat three went to European U23 champion Andrea Kramer of Sweden in 1:47.87 ahead of Danish European Indoor silver medallist Andreas Bube’s 1:47.94 and world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse’s 1:48.14.
Daniel Rowden completed the British trio of semi-finalists and enjoyed a more straightforward qualification than his team-mates, coming third with 1:46.59 in heat four as world indoor champion Adam Kszczot led the way in 1:46.31 while Bosnian Amel Tuka clocked 1:46.47.
With the top 12 ranked athletes receiving byes, the British interest in the 110m hurdles fell solely on David King in the qualifying heats.
He progressed safely to the semi-finals after finishing second in heat two in a time of 13.65 (+0.6), behind German Erik Balnuweit’s 13.55, while it was an Italian one-two in the opening heat as Paolo Dal Molin in 13.40 (+1.8) from compatriot Hassane Fofana (13.50).
“I had a clean race, got out OK and ran well for the rest of it,” said King. “I feel like there is more to come. It was a good first round. It is like you when you walk into a swimming pool, you enter at the shallow end and work your way up (to the deep end). It is nice for me (to do the heats). If you are one of the big boys you can afford to go straight in and run fast off the gun.
“But for me if I go up against the best in Europe straight away and they start pulling away at the front end of the race, I can tighten up and struggle a bit, so I feel the first round is good for me, I liked doing it.”