2019 Bydgoszcz Diary: The European Team Championships, GBR takes fifth place....


Williams_JodieR-Lausanne19.jpgJodie Williams, photo by PhotoRun.net (Lausanne 2019)

Stuart Weir likes to give us a view of the major champs, from several view points. This is the GBR view. Nice to see our friend, Jodie Willaims, doing so well.

Fifth place for Team GB

There were a number of stand-out performances by team GB on the final day of the European Team Championships Super League but they were sadly eclipsed by an official's error. When a British official submitted the declaration of the team for the men's 4 by 400, the name of Youcef Zatat (a shot putter) was entered instead of Rabah Yousif. As no change could be made, the GB team was excluded from the relay. Officials are human, mistakes are made and sadly, common sense was not allowed to prevail.

Jodie Williams had two second places in just over an hour - in the 200m and then running the second leg of the women's 4 by 400. She said of her 200m run: "It is OK but I'm a little disappointed. I tied up in the last 20 metres of battling with Mujinga [Kambundji]. But one of my better runs of the year".

Richard Kilty's second win - the 200m following the previous day's 4 by 100m relay) - was overshadowed by needing to call for ice immediately afterwards, worrying with the GB trials just 2 weeks away. The former European and World 60m champion is now diversifying: "I am a very good specialist at 60m. But I'm trying my hand at 200m now and I am doing all right. I am enjoying it. I won, that was the main thing. Conditions were terrible. The wind is so strong. It's a headwind on the bend and a headwind on the straight. It's not ideal for sprint times as you saw yesterday and today. But I won and got the points for the team".

Jamie Webb beat Adam Kszczot in the London Diamond League last month but couldn't repeat the victory although he did finish ahead of European indoor champion Alvaro de Arriba. He took positives from his run: "The race was a good one. I am really excited to get in that type of field. It's the same as Charlie Grice said yesterday, for Kszczot and Lewandowski it's a home championship and they want to perform well in front of the home crowd, like us in Glasgow. I wanted to go out and give Kszczot a run for his money but his turn of speed is ridiculous. I don't think I got much wrong. De Arriba beat me in Glasgow so it was nice to beat him here. Getting second shows how I have moved forward from indoors. Instead of de Arriba kicking on me and getting away, I was able to respond and show my strength down the home straight. So I am very happy".

There were third place finishes for Sophie McKinnon in the shot-put, Jamie West in the 3000m and Sarah Inglis in the 5000m with Zak Seddon fourth in the steeplechase.

The surprise performance of the day was Ben Williams winning the triple jump with 17.14, a PR. Few saw it coming: "I did!", Ben told me, "It's been in the tank for a while. I've been doing well in training. I took a risk and moved to Loughborough to concentrate on training and recovery because before I was driving a couple of hours. I took that risk and it seems to be paying off". In a nice gesture he credited his new coach, Aston Moore, but also thanked his previous coach of 10 years, John Crotty.

GB performance director, Neil Black, affirmed the importance of the competition from a GB perspective: "I think for us we genuinely see it as an important competition for two particular reasons:

1 The new, the young and the up and coming athletes are given an opportunity for competition at this level in a short but really intense competition;

2 and then some of those really targeted events where people use it to get the experience they need to take into the trials and into the world championships".

While it is easy to say that had Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Laviai Nielsen, Morgan Lake etc been there, we would probably have taken second place, you have to balance that against the benefit to younger athletes of the experience of being here. GB took silver and gold in the two sprint relays in the 2017 World Championship. We came first and second this weekend with only one of the eight runners from 2017 here, showing the strength of depth and also giving the next generation a chance to compete at this level.

Overall more positives than negatives.

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