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Athletics: Davenport hurdles into the record books

Richard Davenport, from Gloucester, produced a superb performance to set a new British junior record in the 400 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Grosseto yesterday. Davenport clocked 50.20 seconds, shaving 0.02sec off the previous best set by Martin Briggs 21 years ago.

In doing so, Davenport qualified for today's final when finishing second behind Ibrahim Al-Hamaidi, of Saudi Arabia, who recorded a lifetime best of 49.55sec. It was the second successive day the 18-year-old Davenport, a former European youth silver-medallist, had broken his personal best. In his heat he ran 51.08sec.

The British sprinters Julian Thomas and Rikki Fifton both qualified for last night's semi-finals of the 200m after winning their heats.

Thomas, of Birchfield Harriers, achieved what would have been a personal best time of 20.93sec but for the wind speed being over the limit. The 17-year-old three-time English Schools champion, who set his personal best of 21.19sec earlier this month, posted the third-quickest time of the heats.

Fifton, 18, struck one tenth of a second from his personal best with a legal clocking of 20.99sec in the final heat of the morning session to list just behind Thomas in the overall placings.

The American-born Andrew Howe, winner of Wednesday night's long jump and representing the host nation Italy, posted the quickest time of the day, a personal best 20.86sec, with the South African Leigh Julius running 20.91sec to win his heat.

The women's 200m saw Ireland's Mandy Crowe lower her lifetime best by 0.20sec when she won the first heat ina time of 24.18sec.

Steve Lewis progressed into tomorrow's pole vault by clearing a height of 5.05m which was also achieved by the other 11 qualifiers.

Nicola Robinson crashed out of the 100m hurdles as she finished fourth in her heat in 14.03sec.