Thomas's gutsy win proves a welcome distraction
Monday 20 June 2011
Charlene Thomas did not quite kiss the Union Flag crest but it was clear how much it meant to the Wakefield Harrier not just to wear a Great Britain vest on the second and concluding day of the European Team Championships in Stockholm yesterday, but also to surge to victory in it. "Ooooooh, I'm so excited," she said in the wake of her 1500m win, bouncing up and down on the steps of the 1912 Olympic Stadium like a West Yorkshire version of Tigger.
There had been a similarly anima-ed celebration when Thomas upset the form book to beat Steph Twell and Hannah England to win the 1500m at the 2009 World Championships trials in Birmingham. "I was off me head then," she said. "I'm off me head now. I'm so excited."
We had kind of noticed. Still, after a weekend spending as much time monitoring Twitter for the latest developments in the spat between Charles Van Commenee and the absent Phillips Idowu, it was great to see a Great Britain athlete rising to the occasion of the European Team Championships and glorying in their performance.
There was a blast of "Rule Britannia" over the public address system as the 29-year-old Thomas crossed the line after showing her racing pedigree, exploiting a gap on the inside to sprint past the Russian Yekatarina Martynova and clinch victory in 4min 06.85sec. On Thursday, the former design and technology teacher, a full-time athlete since last September, arrived at Manchester Airport to find her flight to Stockholm cancelled. She had to travel via Copenhagen, missing a planned training session.
In following in the footsteps of Kirsty Wade, Kelly Holmes and Helen Clitheroe as only the fourth British winner of the women's 1500m in the 46-year history of the European Team Championship and its predecessor, the European Cup, Thomas became the only female British victor of the weekend. Clitheroe finished third in the 5,000m yesterday and the 4 x 400m relay team, anchored superbly by Perri Shakes-Drayton, were a close second to the Russians.
On the men's side yesterday Andy Turner won the 110m hurdles in 13.44sec, emulating the success achieved by team captain Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles on Saturday. Going into the final event, the men's 4 x 400m relay, Britain had a chance of finishing third in the overall competition but Richard Buck dropped the baton.
Latest in Sport
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Modesty of Louis van Gaal makes nice contrast with his old pupil Jose Mourinho
Real Madrid analysis: Toni Kroos control may give extra edge that enables Real Madrid to retain Champions League crown
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...