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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Friday, 4 March 2011

GB's Tiffany Ofili wins European indoor hurdles silver

EUROPEAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Venue: Palais Omnisports, Paris Date: 4-6 March Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only); listen live on BBC 5 live sports extra - Full coverage details

Ofili delighted with silver in 60m

Tiffany Ofili wins 60m hurdle silver in photo finish

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport in Bercy, Paris

Tiffany Ofili took Britain's first medal of the European Indoor Championships when she stormed to a surprise silver at the Palais Omnisports on Friday.

In the American-born Ofili's first championship in a British vest since she was cleared to compete for the country of her mother's birth, she destroyed the GB national record and initially appeared to have taken gold.

But, after a delay, a photo-finish then awarded the title to Germany's Carolin Nytra, despite both athletes being given the same time of 7.80 seconds.

Ofili said: "It was so close I had no idea - I thought it would be first or second, But I did my best, and I'm excited with the time I got. That's a big PB for me.

"It's a good deal, it will give me a lot of momentum for the outdoor season. I'm very proud to bring a medal home."

Tiffany Ofili

Ofili injured after hurdle tumble

Ofili, a former world junior bronze medallist for the USA, had only switched allegiance last September.

But after first breaking Jessica Ennis's old British record of 7.94 seconds in winning her semi-final earlier in the afternoon, she knocked a further nine hundredths of a second off that mark to cement her place at the top of her new country's rankings.

Mo Farah underlined his status as the class act of European distance running by coming through qualification for Saturday's 3000m final in dominant fashion.

The reigning European Indoor champion and double gold medallist over 5,000m and 10,000m at last summer's outdoors competition refused to be knocked off his stride by a 10-minute delay to his race and cruised to the front with five laps remaining to win in 8:02.36 secs.

He will be joined in Saturday afternoon's final by Britain'sAndy Baddeley, third in a faster third heat in 8:01.56.

Richard Buck and Richard Strachan made it a British one-two in the second of the 400m semi-finals to set up a tantalising battle in Saturday's final with French home favourite Leslie Djhone.

Britain's Mo Farah

Farah comfortably into Euro 3,000m final

Strachan, a relative novice in the event indoors, went out hard in an attempt to get to the bell in front only to find himself out-muscled by his GB team-mate, but stayed on his heels to hold off the challenge of France's Yoan Decimus.

Buck's win means he will have the advantage of an outside lane draw in the medal showdown, with Dhjone likely to be just inside him.

"I was just following Richard round," said Buck afterwards. "He's a brilliant athlete, and if he wasn't out in front it would have been a lot harder. I can't wait for the final now."

Strachan, a long shot for the final at the start of this indoor season, said he was disappointed not to secure himself a better position.

jenny Meadows in action
Meadows faces a tough challenge from the Russians in the 800m

He said: "It was my third race this year over 400m and I got that completely tactically wrong. Making the final was the main thing but I knew the first in the heat would get the best lane draw, and that's so important in 400m indoor.

The third Briton, Nigel Levine, appeared likely to join them when he chased Dhjone all the way in the first semi.

But he tied up close to the line and was overtaken for the qualifying slots by Germany's Thomas Schneider and Russia's Dmitriy Buryak.

Jenny Meadows, world indoor silver medallist a year ago, ran a controlled 800m heat to move comfortably into Saturday's semi-finals.

With the strongly-tipped Russian triumvirate of Tatyana Paliyenko, Yuliya Rusanova and Yevgeniya Zinurova are likely to present a tough challenge, Meadows looked in impressive shape as she went to the front early and stayed there for the duration to clock 2.02:96.

"I just tried to run in my own rhythm and dominate from the start," she told the BBC afterwards. "The semi-finals will be loaded - I'll obviously have to face one of the Russians - but I'm feeling great."

Marilyn Okoro, short of recent racing after a truncated indoor season, qualified for the final as a fastest loser after finishing third in the first heat, but her team-mates Hannah England and Stacy Smith both went out in the heats of the 1500m.

Andrew Osagie, in good shape after clocking a new indoor personal best earlier this year, almost blew qualification from his 800m heat by easing up dramatically just before the line, only to squeak through by one-hundredth of a second after a photo finish.

Jessica Ennis is missing in Paris because of injury
Jessica Ennis is missing in Paris because of injury

Wales's Joe Thomas joins him in the next round after producing a trademark burst of speed over the last 150m to come through his heat.

"I'm trying not to be as naive as I have been before, but I almost messed it up there," admitted the 23-year-old Osagie, who is short of international experience after a succession of injury-affected seasons.

"I felt really strong, and the semi-final is the minimum I wanted."

Commonwealth bronze medallist Lawrence Clarke failed to qualify for the final of the men's 60m after finishing a disappointing fourth in his semi-final, while UK number one Tom Parsons crashed out of the high jump after three failures at 2.27m, well below his best, with compatriot Robbie Grabarz also missing out.

In the absence of the injured Jessica Ennis, France's Antoinette Nana Djimou produced an outstanding effort in the 800m to snatch pentathlon gold from Lithuania's Austra Skujyte.

The Czech Republic's Petr Svoboda, beaten to the European outdoor title by Britain's Andy Turner last summer, took by taking 60m hurdles gold, while Germany's Ralf Bartels took shot put gold.

The championships conclude on Sunday, with both remaining days sell-outs at the Palais Omnisports.



see also
Chambers may consider ban appeal
04 Mar 11 |  Athletics
Ennis pulls out of Euro Indoors
28 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Lewis-Francis suffers injury blow
22 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Wilson makes GB Euro indoor squad
22 Feb 11 |  Athletics
UKA chief confident over GB hopes
21 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Farah & Idowu shine in Birmingham
19 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Injuries hit Brits in Birmingham
19 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics


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