British athletes win six gold medals on day seven of the European Masters Championships

After Tuesday’s rest day, it was a quiet return on Wednesday at the European Masters Championships in Italy. There were no track finals but Britain still won six gold medals.

Two of these were for former Olympians Ian Richards and John Watts, while there were additional golds for Evaun Williams and Joanne Willoughby.

Olympic 50km walker Richards had already won a 5000m title on the track and here he added the 10km road walk. His time of 49:32 gave him a two-minute win over Italy’s Ettorino Formentin.

In third place Peter Boszko won his second medal of the Games with a time of 53:06.

Richards won his third gold with the M70 team defeating Italy by over six minutes to win the team contest.

World Masters bronze medallist Noel Blatchford won Britain’s other walking gold in the W70 category.

It was close though as Blatchford’s 61:37 gave her just a seven second margin over Ukraine’s Antonina Tyshko.

Cath Duhig won her second medal in Italy with a bronze in the W60s in 57:08 and she also won a team silver with assistance from Ann Wheeler in sixth and Judy Howard in 12th.

Britain’s W50 team also won a bronze.

The fastest walkers overall were Netherlands’ M40 Rick Liesting and German M35 Andreas Janker (both 41:26) and German W40 Blanca Schenker (48:00).

Richards was not the only British Olympian to win gold and another, Penny Forse, had won gold in the earlier cross-country.

Watts, who threw in the Munich Olympics 47 years ago and has a PB of 59.70m in finishing second in that year’s Olympic trials, won his third medal of the championships but first gold.

The discus is his speciality though and after a no throw, he then threw the five longest throws of the competition, peaking with a 39.25m fifth round throw to go very close to his British record and within two metres of the world record. Germany’s Roland Heiler won silver with 32.59m.

Williams won her fourth gold in the W80 category.

Already in possession of the shot, discus and hammer titles, she added the javelin with a 26.64m throw to go within a metre of her world record.

Her worst throw was 23.83m and the best the opposition mustered was a 11.64m.

Another multi champion is Willoughby as she added the W55 long jump title to her triple jump won earlier in the week.

She only won by nine centimetres but produced a superbly consistent series of 4.56m, 4.66m, 4.57m, 4.50m. 4.69m and 4.63m to defeat Birgit Burzlaff of Germany’s 4.60m.

Melanie Garland jumped 4.50m for third.

Dougie Graham went one place better than the World Masters to win a M40 bronze in the pole vault with a 4.20m leap.

Other top overseas performances included Sweden’s M45 pole vaulter Jonas Asplund (4.70m).

In the 200m heats M80 Anthony Treacher (33.14), M65 Steve Peters (25.83) and W65 Caroline Powell (30.77) qualified fastest.

Powell’s nearest opposition for the final is seemingly fellow Brits Joylyn Saunders-Mullin (32.62) and Caroline Marler (33.46).

M35 100m champion Jonathan Browne (22.13) was a whole second faster than the other seven who made the final.

Qualifying fastest for the semi-finals were M60 John Wright (25.68) and M55 Don Brown (24.51).

In the 800m, Britain had the three fastest M50 finalists led by David Matthew (2:07:26), Dominic Bokor-Ingram (2:07.79) and 1500m champion Mark Symes (2:08.47).

M60 1500m and 10,000m champion Paul Fletcher was third fastest in his heat (2:18.70) though top ranked former 1:45 international Paul Forbes pulled up injured.

In the W55s 1500m, cross-country and 10,000m champion Clare Elms (2:43.10) and 400m champion Virginia Mitchell (2:47.28) were fastest.

W40 1500m champion Zoe Doyle qualified third fastest in 2:18.67 behind Ireland’s Denise Toner (2:17.89) and Annette Quaid (2:18.34).

Thanks largely to the team golds, Italy are back in front of the medal table with 64 gold, 51 silver and 49 bronze to Germany’s 60, 64 and 59, Britain’s 46, 34 and 46 and Finland’s 27, 15 and 11.

Britain’s gold medallists Days 1-7

Clare Elms: W55 1500m, 10,000m, XC, XC team
Evaun Williams: W80 shot, discus, hammer, javelin
Ian Richards: M70 5000m walk, 10km walk, 10km team walk
Paul Fletcher: M60 1500m, 10,000m
Steve Peters: M65 100m, 400m
John Wright: M60 100m, 400m
Caroline Powell: W65 100m, 400m
Joanne Willoughby: W55 long jump, triple jump
Matt Barnes: M40 1500m
Ed Betts: M45 400mH
Norel Blatchford: W70 10km walk
Guy Bracken: M55 1500m
Ian Broadhurst: M65 300mH
Don Brown: M55 100m
Jonathan Browne: M35 100m
Gintas Degutis: M45 shot
Nisha Desai: W35 400mH
Zoe Doyle: W40 1500m
Lucy Elliott: W50 XC, XC team
Jean Fail: W70 200mH
Iris Holder: W75 triple jump
Jane Horder: W60 300mH
Andrew Leach: M55 10,000m
Virginia Mitchell: W55 400m
Julie Rogers: W55 300mH
Victor Shirley: M75 1500m
Mark Symes: M50 1500m
Ros Tabor: W70 1500m
Anthony Treacher: M80 Triple jump
John Watts: M80 discus
Team gold medallists not included above
Karen Rushton/Sue Ridley: W50 XC
Christine Anthony/Jane Pidgeon: W55 XC
Peter Boszko/Roger Mitchell: M70 10km walk

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