Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp impress in Zurich

EILIDH Child and Lynsey Sharp, the poster girls of Glasgow 2014, impressed as they got their European Championships under way yesterday.
Eilidh Child clears a hurdle in a women's 400m hurdles first round heat during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich. Picture: APEilidh Child clears a hurdle in a women's 400m hurdles first round heat during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich. Picture: AP
Eilidh Child clears a hurdle in a women's 400m hurdles first round heat during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich. Picture: AP

Two weeks on from shining at Hampden Park, the Scottish duo donned the British vest as they went in search of more medal success.

Child just missed out on the Commonwealth crown in the 400 metres hurdles but showed no sign of a hangover as she blew away the field in the heats.

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The world finalist eased through as the fastest qualifier in 55.32 seconds, but clearly had a lot more in the tank.

“I felt more nervous for Glasgow as I had that attention on me but here I’m the favourite,” Child said.

“It’s a bit different but I have the exact same attitude as Glasgow. I just need to go in there and execute my race and if I do that I’ll be happy whatever the outcome. I said the same with Glasgow.”

Child went in the first track heat of the day, with fellow Commonwealth silver medallist Sharp involved in the last of the session.

The 24-year-old became the pride of Scotland just two weeks ago after overcoming the odds to finish runner-up in the 800m.

Sharp was on a drip in the athletes’ village clinic until 5:30am on the morning of the Hampden final yet managed to secure silver, and now she hopes to go one better by retaining the European crown she won after Yelena Arzhakova of Russia received a two-year doping ban.

She had to wait a year to get her hands on the gold medal and underlined her desire to top the podium outright in Zurich by impressively winning her heat.

“I’m fresh off the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow so this was fun,” Sharp said. “It’s just another race, I was excited to compete – I’m loving it this year. It wasn’t the plan to control the race from the front, now it’s onwards and upwards.”

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Sharp is joined in today’s semi-finals by British team-mates Jessica Judd and Alison Leonard, who won her heat in the quickest qualifying time of two minutes 01.47secs.

Commonwealth silver medallist Will Sharman led the British charge, with his time of 13.29s the joint quickest in the heats alongside favourites Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Sergey Shubenkov. “I’m pleased with that,” the 29-year-old said. “I wanted to execute exactly what I needed to.

“You’ve got to be competitive even in the first round – there’s lots of good guys who’ll be in the final, I can’t wait to scrap it out with them.

“It’s about delivering when it matters, I’ve been consistent this year.” Elsewhere, Chris Baker avoided any major hiccups in reaching tomorrow’s high jump final with a leap of 2.23m, ranking him joint ninth, while in the city centre Tom Bosworth finished the 20km race walk final in 12th. Sophie Hitchon was unable to navigate her way through hammer qualifying yesterday afternoon though, managing just one valid throw of 62.93m.

Commonwealth silver medallist Ashley Bryant called time on his decathlon campaign after the discus, complaining of Achilles and hamstring pain.

Meanwhile, former European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner has announced he will retire from the 110 metres hurdles at the end of the year.

The 33-year-old won gold in Barcelona and Delhi in 2010, then went on to secure bronze at the World Championships the following year.

Turner is currently at the European Championships in Zurich and advanced to the semi-finals as a fastest loser in the heats yesterday morning.

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It is an event the sprint hurdler has confirmed will be his last major championships before he hangs up his spikes.

“It is not a decision I have taken quickly,” Turner told the BBC.

“It is not something because of the disappointment in Glasgow – it has been in my mind for pretty much the whole year.

“Now is the right time for me to hang up my spikes and become a normal guy again. I have a lot going on outside track and field.

“That doesn’t mean I am taking these championships for granted. I want to go out on a high and I am going to give it everything I have got.”

l The Commonwealth Games Federation says former 400 metres world champion Amantle Montsho’s back-up sample also tested positive for doping after competing in Glasgow. The Botswana runner’s samples showed traces of the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after she surrendered her Commonwealth title last month by coming fourth in the women’s 400 metre final in Scotland.

CGF chief executive Mike Hooper says Montsho was informed about the results of her “B” test result on Friday, and has until 22 August to respond to the federation.

The case will then be passed to track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, which can impose a ban. The 31-year-old Montsho won her world title in 2011. The only other positive test in Glasgow led to 16-year-old Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha being stripped of her gold medal.