Friday, June 21, 2024

European Athletics Championships 2024: Britons Charlie Dobson and Molly Caudery win medals – BBC Sport

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Video caption, GB’s Dobson wins silver in 400m

  • Author, Harry Poole
  • Role, BBC Sport journalist

Charlie Dobson took 400m silver to gain his first major individual medal at the European Athletics Championships, as team-mate Molly Caudery won pole vault bronze in Rome.

Dobson, 24, clocked a blistering 44.38 seconds to set a personal best in the final.

But that was not enough to deny Belgium’s Alexander Doom, who triumphed in a championship record 44.15secs.

Gold medal favourite Caudery, crowned world indoor champion in March, could not improve on a second-time clearance at 4.73m, as Switzerland’s Angelica Moser took a surprise victory as the only athlete over 4.78m.

Those medals took Great Britain’s tally to nine following golds for Dina Asher-Smith and the women’s half marathon team on Sunday.

Elsewhere during Monday’s evening session, Laviai Nielsen ran a personal best 50.71secs to finish sixth in the women’s 400m final, in which Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke (49.07secs) took silver behind Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek (48.98secs).

Anna Purchase recorded a best throw of 69.24m to finish eighth in the women’s hammer final, as Sara Fantini won table-topping hosts Italy’s eighth gold.

Mark Pearce placed 13th with a time of eight minutes 26.92 seconds in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, won by Frenchman Alexis Miellet (8:14.01).

Daryll Neita cruised to victory in her women’s 200m semi-final, effortlessly confirming her place in Tuesday night’s medal race in a time of 22.51secs.

Delight for talented Dobson

Dobson has tasted success as part of Britain’s men’s 4x400m relay quartet in recent years, winning European gold and world bronze, but travelled to Rome seeking individual silverware on the international stage.

Two years ago, he was tipped as a future star by former British 400m record holder Iwan Thomas, while Colin Jackson believes he is set to be Great Britain’s breakthrough athlete at Paris 2024.

The signs look promising. Despite breaking the 45-second barrier for the first time only last month when he ran a personal best 44.46secs, Dobson’s unbeaten semi-final time of 44.65secs appeared effortless as he qualified fastest for Monday’s final.

And he further lowered his lifetime best in a duel for gold with world indoor champion Doom, only losing touch in the closing stages.

“This is already far more than I expected this season to be honest,” Dobson said. “I would have been happy with one sub-45 to get the Olympic standard but this, on top of everything so far this season, is incredible.”

Disappointment despite medal for Caudery

Video caption, GB’s Caudery seals pole vault bronze

Caudery has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence over the past 10 months that she arrived at these championships as the standout favourite for gold.

The Cornwall athlete was seeking a first major outdoor title following her breakthrough indoor success in Glasgow at only her second global championships three months ago.

But, despite boasting a world-leading height of 4.86m in 2024, she struggled to build momentum in the final and required second attempts at 4.68m and 4.73m before bowing out.

Caudery’s disappointment at bronze speaks volumes of her recent progress, and she will now continue to build towards her Olympic debut in Paris.

Nielsen ‘proud’ after ‘one of toughest weeks’

Nielsen achieved a personal best performance in the 400m final after a distressing week.

Following her final, the 28-year-old, fourth at the world indoors, revealed her coach recently suffered a cardiac arrest.

“This has been one of the toughest weeks of my life – I’m so proud of myself,” Nielsen told BBC Sport.

“My coach Tony suffered a cardiac arrest a week ago. He’s recovering well but it was the scariest moment of our lives.

“I think I’m very resilient and I need to remain as focused and clear headed as I can. It’s not easy to stand up there on your best day – but to stand up there on your worst day is just so promising for the rest of the season.”

Hodgkinson among Britain’s morning qualifiers

In the morning session, reigning 800m champion Keely Hodgkinson progressed to Tuesday’s semi-finals by controlling her heat to win in 2:02.46.

Team-mate Alex Bell is also through after finishing third in 2:00.98 in her heat, as is Erin Wallace who ran 2:00.90 to take one of the non-automatic qualifying spots.

Neil Gourley won his heat to reach the men’s 1500m final, clocking 3:44.05, while the other was won by Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen in 3:37.65, as he seeks to complete his third successive European golden double in Wednesday’s medal race.

They will be joined by Adam Fogg, who was added to the final start list after being impeded by a fall which caused him to finish 10th in 3:40.83.

Lina Nielsen will contest the women’s 400m hurdles final after running a personal bet 54.43secs to finish second in her heat, but Jessie Knight (56.01secs) missed out.

Alastair Chalmers ran a personal best 48.76secs but that was not enough to take him through to the men’s 40m hurdles final.

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