Malcolm to GB rescue

Malcolm helps Britain to survive

FINDLAY LEITH in Malaga June 30 2006

European Cup

CHRISTIAN MALCOLM scored the only British victory on day-two of the SPAR European Cup final in Malaga last night, and helped the UK men’s team survive in the top league. After seeming dead and buried, they were third overall behind France and Russia.
But the women’s team, promoted only last year, are relegated after having finished seventh of the nine teams.
As Russia won the women’s match for the tenth successive year, Britain finished five points adrift of Spain and safety. They never recovered from their failure to get the relay baton round on the opening night when they collected only four points from four events. Last night was little better. The UK women were third-last in four events and second-last in another, and there were dismal performances from athletes who should have delivered more.
“Too many athletes not realising their bests,” opined the UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins. “Two big disappointments on the first day cost us.”
Commonwealth champion Lisa Dobriskey was some 12 seconds outside her winning time in Melbourne as she finished seventh, and Olympic medallist Kelly Sotherton, who has long-jumped 6.67 metres this year, managed only 6.50m for fifth place – 6.67m would have given her victory, and nine points instead of five.

Scotland’s Kathy Butler finished sixth in the women’s 5000m, having led at one stage, but she faded over the closing stages (16:34.75), almost 30 seconds outside her fastest.

The best women’s result was the 4 x 400m relay, where Lee McConnell anchored the GB team to third, closing a huge gap with a 50.9-second final leg which almost stole second. It proved the Scot has lost none of her pace by moving to the hurdles, but the result was academic. The women were doomed before the gun for the final event.

The men will look back on missed chances which could have seen them win a lucrative place in the World Cup final in Athens come September. Malcolm apart, Andy Turner, runner-up in the hurdles, and Mo Farah, second in the 3000m, were the only other UK athletes on the podium.

Malcolm, who has recently swopped his Scottish coach, Jock Anderson, for Linford Christie, powered home in 20.29, fastest time of the year by a European. It was his fourth cup success at this distance. Behind him was Frenchman Ronald Pognon (20.37), who had beaten Dwain Chambers over 100m the previous night.

Malcolm, plagued by a catalogue of injuries since winning the world junior title eight years ago, powered home and lifted Britain from a tight relegation battle, and into third with just three events remaining.

“I’m happy having achieved my season’s best today,” he said. “I really had fast legs in the first part of the race, so the home straight turned into a very easy thing for me.”

Russia looked poised to win the men’s trophy as well, until they finished second-last in the 4 x 400. France’s relay win gave them the cup by just two points.

MALAGA, Spain, June 29 - Tatyana Lysenko, who reclaimed the women’s hammer world record last weekend, set a European Cup record and led Russia to a 10th consecutive win in the tournament on Thursday.
The 22-year-old smashed the previous record of 74.48 metres with a throw of 76.50, though she remained short of last Saturday’s 77.41.
The wind didn't bother me, I just made a few technical mistakes. I will try to do better next time out,'' said Lysenko. Russia's women accumulated a massive 155 points, to finish 43.5 ahead of second-placed Poland on 111.5 and third-placed Ukraine on 99. Russia and Poland qualified for the World Cup in Athens on Sept 16-17, while Britain, Sweden and Romania were relegated. It was much closer in the men's where France won the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay, to snatch victory from Russia by a mere two points. France finished on 118 and Russia on 116 to qualify for the World Cup. Britain, who avoided relegation last year only because Malaga had a nine-lane track, came in third with 109. Spain, Italy and Finland were relegated. Although last year's winners Germany finished eighth they will be in Munich in 2007 as hosts. Russia's women were never threatened as they won seven out of 10 events on Thursday to top last year's total of 131.5 points. Most of the excitement was to be found in the men's events as France homed in on overnight leaders Russia. France's Ladji Doucoure, the 2005 world champion, won the 110 hurdles setting a European best time for this season of 13.27 seconds. It is my best performance this season and it was important for the team after we were disqualified in the relay yesterday,’’ Doucoure said.
There was a notable performance from Britain’s Christian Malcolm in the 200, who beat France’s Ronald Pognon to set a European best time for this season of 20.29 seconds.
``I am delighted to have recorded my best time for this season despite the windy weather conditions,’’ said Malcolm after his fourth Cup victory in the 200.
The home fans were given something to cheer in the men’s middle-distance races with Spain’s Juan de Dios Jurado winning the 800, Sergio Gallardo taking the 3000, and Antonio David Jimenez the 3000 steeplechase on the final day.
The hosts, however, could only finish sixth in both men’s and women’s standings.

Is it true that the britain womens team have been relegated from the top level competition for next season??

And i thought australia had problems, any UK guys care to elaborate on whats been going on over there.

“nothing” is happening over there :smiley: To be honest a few people really underperformed. I’m not sure why but i think its to do with returning to training after the CWGs or injuries earlier in the season while preparing for them.