Oliver's streak goes on but no dash from Brits

London GP proves a damp squib for the heroes of Barcelona but showcases the US hurdler on a roll

Back in the good old days of British athletics – oh, all of two weeks ago – Charles van Commenee revealed that he had introduced "fun evenings" of quizzes and games at the team training camp. "It's not like you're going to work in the coalmines of Azerbaijan," the head coach of UK Athletics reasoned.

A fortnight on from Super Saturday in Barcelona, when Dai Greene, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah struck European Championship gold in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, it felt like Van Commenee's charges were heaving picks at a coal face in the Caucasus.

At Crystal Palace it was Sorry Saturday at the Aviva Grand Prix meeting, after a Friday the 13th opening when none of the athletes who won a record total haul of 19 Euro medals (six of them gold) managed a home victory.

There was a win for an England A team anchored by Mark Lewis-Francis in the 4 x 100m relay, but that was an event scheduled primarily as practice for the Commonwealth Games, against nothing like world-class opposition.

So, yet again, there was not one home winner in any of the international events, making it a complete domestic blank at the annual showpiece British meeting. Last year there were four (Michael Bingham at 400m, Farah 5,000m, Nicola Sanders 400m, Jemma Simpson 800m) but in 2009 the London Grand Prix came before the focal point of the season, the Berlin World Championships. This time, coming post Barcelona, there was always a danger it would turn into something of a nightmare for the best of British.

So it proved. Over the two days, Farah was the highest-place Briton, as runner-up in the 3,000m on Friday night. There had been third places then for Greene (400m hurdles) and Lisa Dobriskey (1500m) and yesterday came four more, courtesy of three Britons who failed to make the podium in Barcelona – Eilidh Child (400m hurdles), Simpson (800m) and Kate Dennison (pole vault) – plus Chris Tomlinson, the Teessider who matched his bronze in the Barcelona long jump.

The one British gold medal winner in action on day two, Andy Turner, finished eighth and last in the 110m hurdles. His time of 13.54sec was a quarter-second down on his Barcelona effort and the newly crowned European champion was not even the first Briton in the race. William Sharman was fourth in 13.39sec, a season's best.

The winner, in a meeting record of 13.06sec, was David Oliver, the man from Orlando who has yet to be beaten in the 110m hurdles in 2010. As was the case on Friday night, when Tyson Gay blitzed the 100m in 9.78sec, the stars of the show yesterday were from the land of the Stars and Stripes.

Still, it was not just the Britons who struggled to reproduce their European Championship form. There were few more emphatic winners in Barcelona than Natalya Antyukh, who smashed the championship record in the 400m hurdles with 52.92sec. Yesterday the Russian was fifth in 55.89sec.

Ahead of Antyukh, Child ran a strong race for her bronze behind the Jamaican Kaliese Spencer and Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic. In doing so, the Perth schoolteacher broke her own Scottish record, clocking 55.16sec, which helped ease the disappointment of finishing last in the European final. "I'm really chuffed with a personal best today," the 23-year-old said. "After Barcelona I was really disappointed, because I knew I was in shape to run a PB there. I wanted to come out and show it here. There's definitely more to come."

There would appear to be a good deal more to come from Perri Shakes-Drayton, the young east Londoner who took 400m hurdles bronze in the Catalan capital. The 21-year-old tested her speed in the flat 400m yesterday and ran a personal best, 51.48sec, in a race won by Allyson Felix, the American who on Friday had prevailed at 200m, the distance at which she is world champion. "I'm very pleased," Shakes-Drayton said. "That's what I came here to do, a PB."

Simpson was half a second short of a PB in the 800m but the Cornishwoman – fifth in the European final – produced a highly respectable 1min 59.26sec for her third. Jenny Meadows, the bronze winner in Barcelona, was fifth in 1:59.40 and Dobriskey eighth in a lifetime best of 2:00.14, less than 24 hours after placing third at her specialist distance, 1500m.

In actual terms, if not placings, it was the pole-vaulting Dennison who came closest to a British victory. The first five all cleared the same height, 4.46m, before Fabiana Murer of Brazil won on the count-back, having registered no failures at lower heights.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Receptionist

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss