Athletics: Britain's women rise to challenge
Monday 17 February 2003
The newly-appointed UK Athletics president Lynn Davies said Great Britain must be represented by stronger teams after mixed results at Saturday's European Indoor Cup final in Leipzig.
The women's contingent performed beyond expectations when picking up the bronze medal behind Russia and Germany. Their efforts embarrassed their male counterparts, whose underachievers were headed by the Commonwealth 1500 metres champion Michael East, who managed only fourth place, and the high jumper Ben Challenger, who was last. The men finished second bottom of the table as Spain took top honours ahead of Germany and France.
Davies, who took up his appointment on New Year's Day, believes this inaugural event was a great success. The former Olympic long jump gold champion now wants Britain to take it seriously.
The Welshman, a highly respected British team manager during the halcyon days of the 1980s, accepts that it was thrust on the competing nations at short notice and said he can understand why selectors decided not to issue a three-line whip to the leading athletes, knowing many were focusing on the World Indoor Championships while others are in warm-weather training abroad.
"I'm a great believer in team competitions such as this," he said. "In future I would like to see us field our very best teams. They mould the athletes together and create a great team spirit."
After a sticky start, the women's team, bottom after four of the nine events, responded to the lead of team captain Hayley Tullett, who scored a brilliant 1500m victory.
The reigning European indoor 60m champion Jason Gardener was the only man to win his race outright – although captain-for-the-day Jamie Baulch took his 400m with a confident run, but produced only the third fastest time of the day. "Now you know why I'm called the 'Bath Bullet'," said Gardener after a start which blew him into an unbeatable lead ahead of Aristotelis Gavelas of Greece and Russia's Andrey Yepishin.
Jo Fenn, second over 800m, and Chris Tomlinson, third in the long jump, were also among the individual medals while the men's medley relay quartet picked up a bronze.
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 5 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...