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Ofili sets British Record with Silver

At the Aviva GB&NI team meeting captain Helen Clitheroe told athletes to “take their opportunity and exceed people’s expectations,” Tiffany Ofili took those inspirational words and translated them into two 60m hurdles British records and silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Paris.

Tiffany Ofili UK Indoor Record

Tiffany Ofili UK Indoor Record

Ofili (coach: James Henry / Arnett Chisholm) ran a blistering 7.80 in the final to set her second British record of the day, an equal European leading time with winner Carolin Nytra (GER) who won by the smallest margin in a photo finish.

Earlier in the day Ofili dominated her semi-final to set her first British record of 7.89 which was also a European leading time.

“I feel good, I feel excited! I’m excited about that time, it’s a personal best for me. The race was so close and I had no idea if I was first or second. It’s a big deal and it will give me a lot of momentum going into the outdoor season. I’m very proud to bring a medal home. This is absolutely fabulous, I’m honoured to wear the vest.”


Jenny Meadows (coach: Trevor Painter) qualified comfortably from heat four. The Wigan athlete led the group throughout, with her indoors confidence – the result of a world medal and British record in 2010- clear to see, and finished first with 2:02.96.

“The intention for me was to run a confident race and go out and dominate from the front. The plan was to run 2.03 and I got that almost spot on with 2:03.96 so job done.  Of course I want a medal here and I want to win but there are no guarantees in athletics. It’ll be a hard semi and I’m only third ranked going into this.”

Marilyn Okoro (coach: Ayo Falola) finished third in her qualifier, gaining a place in the final through the fastest loser process. Her time of 2:03.86 was the result of a tough round with competition from Tatyana Paliyenko (RUS) and Egle Balciunaite (LTU) right to the line.

“It wasn’t exactly the result I wanted but I really raced that. It’s a shame I wasn’t in the automatic qualification but at least I crossed the line ok with the way I raced. This is all about a marker my only focus is the outdoor season and this has let me know what I need to work on.”

Andrew Osagie (coach: Craig Winrow) indicated what he can produce at a major championships with a fine run out in the 800m heats. Shadowing Russian Ivan Tukhtachev until the bell, he then took on the front running but had the crowd scared when he slowed slightly too soon before the line and nearly risked his automatic qualification. He snuck second with 1:51.09 and will race in the final.

“That felt so comfortable. It’s actually hard to run at that pace when my aim for the last few weeks has been to run fast to get times. Last year was disappointing but it was amazing to be in the team with all these stars like Jessica Ennis and Dwain Chambers. This year it’s not about the experience I’m here and I want to make my own name.”

Joe Thomas (coach: Arwyn Davies) did well to make up ground in his heat and qualify in second place with 1:50.29. He sat in fourth place going into the final lap, with a gap between the leading pair and trailing others, but came into the home straight and shocked the crowd with a late surge which brought him into contention.

“At 400m I was really tired but I didn’t panic and I knew a gap would open up so when the Russian tired I was able to make the most of it. I came here to make the final and put myself on the line there. ”

Debutant Stacey Smith (coach: Mick Woods) looked comfortable on her first senior outing. She hung to the leading pack throughout the race and took on second place until the bell. She lost ground however when the others kicked but put in a gutsy final lap and managed to hang onto third in 4:11.95.

Lawrence Clarke (coach: Malcolm Arnold) finished fourth in his 60m hurdles semi-final, his first outing of the championships. Despite a decent start, he lost form on the fifth hurdle and stumbled across the line. The falter lost him valuable seconds and produced a 7.74 effort which wasn’t good enough for a fastest loser place in the final.

“It was technically ok to hurdle five then it went wrong for no apparent reason. I didn’t even hit the hurdle and I’m in much better shape than that. It was a technical error; my trail arm went for s walk in the park which is something we’ve been working on. The fastest qualifier was better than my PB, those French boys are quick.”

Tom Parsons (coach: Fuzz Ahmed) failed to qualify to the final of the high jump despite holding a perfect score card from 2.12m through 2.17m and 2.22m, clearing each height on his first attempt. The Birchfield harrier missed three times at 2.27m which forced him out of the competition.

“That was going so well, the n I made a mistake on my second attempt at 2.27m and that put the pressure on for my third and I didn’t do it. I snapped it, it’s over and I didn’t do myself justice.”

Robbie Grabarz (Coach: Fuzz Ahmed) bowed out of the high jump at 2.17m.  The three no jumps at that height and clearance of just 2.12m was not a true reflection of the Loughborough based athlete, who showed real promise at the end of 2010 and early 2011.

Hannah England (coach: Bud Baldaro) had the race in her hand as she entered the home straight amongst a tight group of her competitors but lost her legs on the way to the finish line. After running six of the seven laps well, keeping pace and a position at the front, she allowed four people to pass her and demote her to fifth place with 4:13.54.

“I have no idea what went wrong out there, I felt good, I got into the position I wanted to be and I should have been able to hold that, I’m better than that.”

Nigel Levine (Coach: Simon Duberley) also became a casualty of the finish line in his 400m semi-final, losing out on a qualifying spot at the last moment to Russian Dmitriy Buryak. But his race first went wrong just after the first lap when the eventual winner, French man Leslie Djhone, challenged for the lead and the pair bumped each other, Levine coming off worst and losing ground. He finished in 47.17.

Richard Buck (coach: Steve Fudge) and Richard Strachan (coach: Linford Christie) drew lanes next to each other in the second semi-final of the 400m. The Brits stuck together as they entered the final lap and continued to lead the group, with Buck slightly ahead, into the close of the race. Buck finished first with 46.79 and Strachan closely behind in 46.94.