Sesay put himself in European picture

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The Independent Online
The traditional curtain-raiser to the British athletics season at Loughborough University threw up another significant performance yesterday. Mark Sesay, running the 800 metres for the host university, broke his seven-year-old personal best by two and a half seconds to win in 1min 46.05sec. Sesay, 25, produced a burst over the final 200 metres to beat last year's England number one Craig Winrow into second place, with the Wigan athlete recording 1:47.44.

It was an outstanding early season performance by Sesay, running on a track laid in the wake of the enormous successes of a previous Loughborough 800 metres runner, Sebastian Coe. The result puts Sesay, who has struggled with injury and illness over recent years, in with a shout for the 800 metres place at next month's European Cup in Munich, the team for which will be selected in a fortnight's time.

Meanwhile, another promising athlete whose recent career has been blighted by injury, Brendan Reilly, announced his return to the top level with a victory in the high jump. Reilly, like Sesay, a Loughborough student, has missed 17 months of competition with injuries, having a nightmarish sequence which began when he snapped an achilles tendon while competing indoors on 30 January last year. He required two operations and was unable to resume training until 1 October.

Reilly, who has already recorded a victory at 2.20m over the Irish international Mark Mandy, secured victory yesterday with a jump of 2.15.

Angie Thorp, an Olympic 100 metres hurdles semi-finalist last summer, put down her first hurdles marker for the season after returning from warm weather training in California. Thorp, who ran the 100 metres flat in last week's Yorkshire championships, defeated her training partner Melanie Wilkins in a time of 13.47sec. Wilkins recorded 13.69.

In the 100 metres hurdles development race, Sarah Claxton, 17, gave notice of her potential with victory in 14.01sec, a time which would have earned her fourth place in the senior race.

Yesterday's Adidas International, contested by Loughborough, England AAAs, GB Students and GB Juniors, will give the AAA of England selectors plenty to work on as they decide on their team to meet Latvia in the forthcoming match at Riga.

Elsewhere, in the City of Glasgow women's 10km race, Yvonne Murray, the former European champion, could only finish fifth after suffering from cramp in her calf.

Bristol's Jo Thompson broke the course record with 33min 17sec.