Athletics: Gardener squeezes narrow win in European trials

Britain's Olympic medallists Jason Gardener and Kelly Sotherton stated their continuing ambition here yesterday, while for the triple jumper Phillips Idowu, the long jumper Nathan Morgan and the pole vaulter Janine Whitlock, the Norwich Union European trials and AAA Championships offered an opportunity for old ambitions to be revived.

Britain's Olympic medallists Jason Gardener and Kelly Sotherton stated their continuing ambition here yesterday, while for the triple jumper Phillips Idowu, the long jumper Nathan Morgan and the pole vaulter Janine Whitlock, the Norwich Union European trials and AAA Championships offered an opportunity for old ambitions to be revived.

Gardener went to his blocks in the 60m final as an ex-European record-holder, thanks to Ronald Pognan's performance at Karlruhe earlier in the afternoon - the Frenchman took one hundredth of a second off the mark of 6.46sec which the Briton set on the same swift German track last year.

Things did not go entirely smoothly for the 29-year-old Olympic relay gold medallist on home territory, either, as he was pushed all the way to the line by Mark Findlay, who finished one hundredth of a second behind him in a personal best of 6.61sec.

"I dropped out of the blocks in the final and my record's been broken," Gardener said. "It's not the best. But there's life in me yet, and I still think I can run a personal best at the Europeans."

Britain's world indoor champion will have the chance to sharpen his form in Birmingham on Friday against the likes of Maurice Greene, Kim Collins and Mark Lewis-Francis.

Meanwhile Sotherton, bronze medallist in the Athens heptathlon, completed a satisfying weekend by adding three more personal bests to the distance of 6.43 metres she had set in the previous day's long jump, where she was beaten by a final effort of 6.50 from Jade Johnson.

The former debt collector, who had also shot-putted 13.77m on Saturday, recorded a high jump of 1.80m in an event won by Susan Jones in 1.90m. The 60m hurdles event brought Sotherton further personal bests of 8.47sec in the heats and 8.40sec in a final in which Sarah Claxton, who had set a British record of 7.98sec a week earlier, reduced it by another 0.02sec to earn a cheque for $5,000 (£2,600).

Idowu produced one of the performances of the weekend with a last-round effort of 17.30m in the triple jump , the furthest in the world this season and well inside the European qualifying mark.

Despite a characteristically extravagant streak of gold in his hair, Idowu looked dull throughout most of the competition as he chased a personal best of 16.76m from Nathan Douglas.

But after landing his sixth and final effort, he broke into his broad, trademark grin for the first time, looking up for confirmation to his coach in the stand, the former European Cup winner John Herbert, before sinking to his knees in relief.

Asked if he had any demons to exorcise following his Olympic failure, he readily assented. "I did," he said. "Right from the beginning. My last competition was horrible." But he dismissed the idea that he had ever contemplated giving up the sport. "Not at all," he said. "I haven't fulfilled my potential, and there's a lot more to come." Idowu's next target is the national indoor record of 17.46m held by former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards - who is on BBC duty here, failed to provoke even the glimmer of a smile from Herbert as he noted in passing: "Not bad for a young pup." Herbert believes his charge is capable of jumping 18 metres this season, and does not put Edwards' world record of 18.29m out of his reach.

"There is only one way he can redeem himself after his four no-jumps fiasco at the Olympics," Herbert said. "And that is to go out this year and win a major title." While Herbert said that Idowu took an age to get over the Olympic failure, Idowu's own take on it was slightly different. "A couple of weeks of partying and it was forgotten," he said.

There is also a spring back in Whitlock's step after a two-year enforced absence because of a doping ban. Whitlock was relieved to earn a warm reception as she qualified with a winning mark of 4.25m in the pole vault. "In my situation you can get people staring and making comments," she said. "But it was great today." The British woman's progress was set in context, however, by the previous day's world indoor record of 4.87m set in Donetsk by Russia's Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva.

Morgan, who missed out on Olympic qualification last year at the expense of Chris Tomlinson, defeated his rival by a margin of five centimetres - 7.96m to 7.91m - in the long jump and earned the European qualifier in so doing, despite the fact that he was suffering from a bruised heel which caused him to pull out after just one jump.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas