2018 Berlin Diary: A tale of two semi finals, stories for Day 2, European Athletic Championships

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Stuart Weir writes about the success of GBR athletes in the semi finals for Wednesday, August 8, Day 2 of the European Championships. All was complicated with very warm conditions.

20180808_101802.jpgFans on August 8, 2018, photo by Stuart Weir

A tale of two women's semi-finals

It was semi-finals night in Berlin or so it looked.

The most impressive performances came in the women's 800 meters when all three British athletes qualified for the final. This event had become a bit controversial when Alexandra Bell went public with her criticisms of the selection procedure and of UK Athletics after she failed to get one of the two discretionary places.

The selection process was complicated by Laura Muir winning but opting not to take her automatic selection in the 800m, opting only to run the 1500m. Second placer Shelayna Oskan-Clarke took an automatic place and the selectors opted for Adelle Tracey (3rd in trials) and Lynsey Sharp (5th) but not Bell (4th)

Bell's comments included: "I am disgraced [sic] by the insults that were directed towards me by individuals from British Athletics in the selection meeting. The comments and justifications made towards my case is outrageous and I can't believe I've once again been let down by my own governing body."

"My appeal was unsuccessful and the decision was held on the personal opinions and predictions of the 'professionals and experts' on the selection board... not the actual selection criteria itself with BA dismissing the selection policy altogether.

"I can't wait to prove these small minds wrong about their comment on how 'she hasn't got a medal mentality'."

Anyway, tonight the three selected girls did the business. The first semi was very slow (winning time 2:02.71) but Lynsey Sharp always looked in control, sitting in and then taking the lead with 100m to go and finishing second of the three automatic qualifiers. The second semi was much faster with Renelle Lamote winning in 1:59.44. Adelle Tracey ran a PR 1:59.86 for second and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (4th) took the first time place in 2:00.39.

Sharp commented: "It's funny the semis were slower than the heats but I thought that might be the case. Just nice to get that one out of the way and look forward to the final. Now it's just one race, I have to get out and see what happens".

Tracey commented: I think just being in the second heat had the advantage of seeing the first race. But in my head it didn't change too much, Breaking 2 minutes is massive...It's such a relief, I've been doing some good sessions which is an indication that you can do it, but actually doing it is a massive thing in the 800m - that's a bit of a barrier so it feels amazing. it feels awesome to come to a championship and perform at the best of my ability"

Oskan-Clarke's assessment was: "I made some tactical changes and some mistakes, but I'm really pleased as anything can happen in the final. I knew I was going to be rusty coming in here and I just wanted to get to the final and put it all out there. Now I can relax and know that all the work is in there and I can go out and beat the girls."

Eilidh Doyle and Meeghan Beesley made the final but Kirsten McAslan did not. It has been a tough year for Doyle. By her own admission she entered the 400 flat in the World Indoors to work on her speed and finished up winning a bronze medal. Then she reverted to hurdles and took silver in the Commonwealth Games. She picked up an injury is short races. Doyle is a fighter - and one of my favourite athletes. I just fear that the Europeans may have come too soon but I hope I am wrong.

I know there aren't semi- finals in the high jump but Morgan Lake qualified for the final, first equal.

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