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.

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: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific