Ojie Edoburun and Laviai Nielsen live up to their billing as pre-event favourites in their events as they inspire a British medal rush in Sweden
Ojie Edoburun in the 100m and Laviai Nielsen in the 400m each led a Great Britain 1-2 on the second day of the European Junior Championships in Eskilstuna, Sweden, on Friday.
Edoburun led fellow Briton Joseph Dewar by 0.1 as he clocked 10.36. Reuben Arthur just missed out on making it a GB monopoly of the podium as he finished fourth with 10.67. It was Emil von Barth who took bronze for the home nation as Sweden also had three in the final.
Edoburun was two tenths outside his PB, but for the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier it was all about becoming Britain’s 12th men’s 100m champion in the 23 editions of these championships.
He said: “It feels really good that I’ve finally got my first title. I got the silver in Donetsk two years ago (World Youth Championships) and I feel like I’ve grown a lot since then. I’ve used the experiences from the World Youths and [European] Juniors to put together a really good champs here in Eskilstuna.”
Edoborun, who was third at the Sainsbury’s British Championships – the national event for seniors held earlier this month – believes he has a good chance of getting into Britain’s relay squad for the IAAF World Championships next month.
Dewar, who previously concentrated on long jump, at which he has a 7.36m PB, was delighted with his silver medal on his major championships debut.
In the women’s 400m, Nielsen clocked 52.58 as she headed silver medallist Cheriece Hylton (53.16). Lina Nielsen, the identical twin sister of the winner, was eighth in the final, running from lane eight and having been laid low with a cold, with 54.72.
Laviai said: “It’s what I’ve wanted all season. I’ve had so many doubts throughout the season,but on the startline I said to myself, ‘You have to believe in yourself.'”
The 19-year-old revealed she was concerned when she had to withdraw injured from the England Under-20 Championships last month. She said: “I was thinking, ‘Am I going to recover in time?’ But my coach and everyone around me had more belief in me than I’ve had in myself so I have to thank everyone.”
Hylton, whose identical twin Shannon later won her 200m heat in 23.24, was delighted to take 0.38 off her PB.
Britain’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes set a PB to win silver in the long jump with 7.75m, pushing Russia’s Anatoliy Ryapolov to equal his own best of 7.96m to take gold.
He said: “I wasn’t in medal contention going into it, but once a few of the people dropped out in the qualifying it was anybody’s medal. In qualifying and the war- up I felt really good so I knew anything could happen today.”
Switzerland’s Caroline Agnou’s 6123 to win the heptathlon took her into the world all-time top 20 at junior level. Boosted by a 13.86m shot and 49.34 javelin, the Swiss junior record was just 25 points less than the score which gave Morgan Lake world junior gold last year.
Hungary’s Bence Halasz set a championship best to win the hammer with 79.60m, but UK junior hammer record-holder Taylor Campbell was disappointed to miss out on a medal. His 75.63m was more than three metres down on the best that ranked him third of the finalists coming into the event and was only good enough for sixth. European No.1 Germany’s Alexej Mikhailov also performed below-par in 11th.
In an eventful women’s discus competition, the big favourite Claudine Vita of Germany suffered a scare before taking gold with 57.47m. Slovenia’s Veronika Domjan led until round five when Vita – who was six metres ahead at the top of the world rankings with 62.31m – edged ahead with 56.64m. She improved to 57.47m in the final round and, despite Domjan improving her own national senior record to 56.63m, it was enough.
Moments after the GB 1-2 in the men’s 100m, their female counterparts failed to follow them on to the podium.
Daryll Neita was devastated to place fourth in 11.69 – just a hundredth behind the bronze medallist as Polish pre-race favourite Ewa Swoboda took gold in 11.52. Britain’s Imani Lansiquot was fifth with 11.74.
Russia’s Valentina Kosolapova took a 2cm win over fellow Russian Kristina Malaya to win the triple jump with 13.27m.
World junior champion Morgan Lake survived a nervy start to her campaign in the high jump as she needed three attempts to go clear at her opening height of 1.79m.
The athlete who also scooped world junior heptathlon gold last year, said: “We’d been sitting around for quite a while so I wasn’t that fresh going into the first attempt and just brushed it over. The second one was a bit rushed and the run-up wasn’t great, so I had to leave it up to the final attempt.
“I’m glad I did start at 1.79m. I wasn’t thinking about 1.74m. I usually start at 1.80m so I don’t think I pushed myself too much at the starting height, but think I might go a bit lower in the final if there’s a long wait in between.”
The UK junior record-holder at 1.94m should start as a big favourite in the final as her closest challenger has jumped 1.92m.
All three British pole vaulters went through to the final. UK junior record-holder Adam Hague and Charlie Myers were joined by Harry Coppell, who survived a nervous moment at 5.05m – 37cm below his best – as he needed three attempts.
It was a similar story in the 800m where all of the British trio looked comfortable. UK senior champion Kyle Langford will be joined in the semi-finals by compatriots Spencer Thomas and Daniel Rowden.
As with the men’s 100m, the half-lap final will also feature three British runners as Tommy Ramdhan (21.18) and Elliot Powell (21.06) won their heats and Frankie Owsley (21.37) joined them as a fastest loser.
Also progressing from the GB team were Jack Lawrie, whose winning 51.91 in the 400m hurdles heats is just 0.14 outside his PB, and Charlotte McLennaghan, who coasted to a win in her 200m heat in 23.64.
However, there was rare disappointment for the British team as Jack Hutton, who had been a medal contender in the 110m hurdles, pulled out just before the heats with a hamstring injury.
British steeplechaser Haran Dunderdale was just ninth in his heat but just went through to the final as the last fastest loser, but compatriot Jacob Jibb was last in his despite looking comfortable in the lead for much of the race.
» Full results can be found at www.european-athletics.org