Sam Bennett equals UK under-18 110m hurdles record, while Spain’s Maria Vicente smashes world age-group heptathlon best on day two in Gyor

Sarah Healy gained gold for Ireland on the second day of European U18 Championships action in Gyor, Hungary, clocking 9:18.05 in wet conditions for a clear 3000m victory.

Ahead of the competition the 17-year-old had run 4:09.25 for 1500m to smash the Irish under-18 record and move to second on the European all-time list for the age group, while she also leads the 800m rankings with her Irish under-20 record of 2:02.76 from Belfast recently.

This time, over 3000m, she broke the Irish youth outdoor record to take the title ahead of Turkey’s Inci Kalkan (9:24.01) and France’s Alessia Zarbo (9:25.25).

GB’s Charlotte Alexander finished ninth in 9:41.18 and Kiara Frizelle 13th in 9:51.08.

Healy had earlier gone quickest in the 1500m heats with 4:30.19, while Britain’s Emily Williams also qualified for the final after running 4:34.62.

Qualifying action on day two also saw an impressive performance by Commonwealth Youth Games champion Sam Bennett as he clocked a 13.33 (+1.7) championship best to equal the UK under-18 110m hurdles record.

He then ran a wind-aided 13.15 (+4.3) to fly into the final where he will be joined by his fellow Briton Jordan Ricketts.

“The personal best record is great, but as I have mentioned before, it is not the most important for me,” said Bennett. “In this competition I am just looking to improve in each round, get faster as the competition gets bigger, and hopefully get more records throughout the process. To be honest I do not like to look at the rankings, because it is about who is the fastest on the day, not who is the fastest on paper.”

Bedford & County sprinter Raphael Bouju, who won English Schools 100m bronze last year, claimed the European under-18 title for Netherlands after clocking 10.64 ahead of home favourite Dominik Illovsky and Norway’s Pal Haugen Lillefosse.

Just 0.006 separated the three medallists in an incredibly close women’s 100m final, with the title won by Iceland’s Gudbjorg Jona Bjarnadottir from France’s Pamera Losange and Hungary’s Boglarka Takacs, all with 11.75. GB’s Cassie-Ann Pemberton was fourth in 11.84 and Ireland’s Patience Jumbo-Gula fifth in 11.87.

Spain’s Maria Vicente added the European U18 heptathlon title to her world U18 gold from Nairobi last year, scoring a world U18 best of 6221 points.

Her results included PBs in all events except the high jump, with a 13.25 Spanish under-18 record in the 100m hurdles, a championship record of 6.37m in the long jump, a more than seven-metre PB of 43.28m in the javelin and 2:23.29 in the 800m.

“It is incredible to be a European champion!” she said. “I reached 6200 points, which is an amazing achievement. I just cannot find the words to describe how happy I am right now.”

Vicente is also entered for the triple jump competition in Gyor.

Latvia’s Kristine Blazevica scored 5629 points for heptathlon silver ahead of Austria’s Chiara-Belinda Schuler with 5615 points.

Italy claimed the top two spots in the 10,000m race walk as Davide Finocchietti got gold in 45:01.33 from Aldo Andrei with 45:03.50. Mattéo Duc of France secured bronze with 45:03.69.

Belarus’ Aliaksei Aliaksandrovich won the shot put with 20.97m, while GB’s Lewis Byng was seventh with 17.62m.

GB’s Max Burgin, who ran a world age 15 best of 1:47.50 in May, eased through to the 800m semi-finals after running 1:53.23 to win his heat, while Ben Pattison and Ethan Brown clocked 47.91 and 47.94 respectively to make the 400m final, their times being the second and third quickest of the qualifying round.

Natasha Harrison will line up in the women’s 400m final after running a 54.60 PB, while Keely Hodgkinson won her 800m semi-final in 2:08.57 to also advance and she will be joined by Sophie O’Sullivan, daughter of Irish endurance legend Sonia, in the final after she ran 2:07.95.

Britain’s Karl Johnson booked his place in the 400m hurdles semi-finals, clocking a PB with 52.56 to win his heat, while Jasmine Jolly progressed in the women’s event after clocking 60.67.

Despite coming to a halt before a barrier mid-race, Ben Thomas battled back to clock 6:01.47 which secured him a spot in the 2000m steeplechase final.

Serena Vincent with 16.47m and Hannah Molyneaux with 15.62m both made the shot put final.

» See the July 12 issue of AW magazine for full coverage