The GB Team has returned to the UK with a total of four medals from the Inas Open European Athletics Championships, which took place in Bergen Op Zoom in the Netherlands last week. Nineteen-year-old heptathlete Martina Barber from Stevenage stole the show with an impressive point total of 3,229 across the heptathlon’s eight individual events, which secured her the gold medal.
Martina said: “I’m very happy to have won the gold medal in the heptathlon in the Netherlands. It’s so exciting to retain my title and to set new personal bests in the 100m hurdles and high jump.”
Other medal winning performances included those of sprinter Marcel Hodge from Leicester who took silver in the 200m with a time of 23.06s and bronze in the 100m with a time of 11.43s. Declan Manning from Suffolk won a bronze in the hammer throw with a distance of 30.79m.
Team Manager and Head Coach Paul Burns said: “Martina had a fantastic performance and broke her personal best by a huge margin. What a showing by Declan as well. They have been on the Team for four years and have improved every year and they’re only getting stronger. It’s nice to see our athletes come through with medals. We also had a number of athletes who made the finals of their events and achieved their PBs.”
Other athletes achieved personal best times, which is an encouraging testament of their progression and ability to continuously improve on their pathway to the 2015 Global Games and potentially the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
This year’s Championships featured a very competitive field of athletes from across Europe, featuring 19 countries and 152 athletes. The team was selected and managed by the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSA) and was made up of a total of nine athletes from across the UK. Athletes with learning disability are classified as T20 for track events and F20 for field events.
UKSA Chief Executive Tracey McCillen said: “Congratulations to the medal winners. It’s always rewarding to see talented British athletes reach the podium. I would like to give a special word of thanks to the four staff members who offered their support to the athletes in the Netherlands.”
- Martina Barber (Stevenage) won gold in the women’s heptathlon, setting new personal bests in the 100m hurdles, high jump, javelin and 800m.
o 100m Hurdles – (2nd) 19.97 (411 points)
o High Jump (1st) – 1.40 (512 points)
o Shot Put (2nd) – 7.81 (387 points)
o 200m (1st) 28.68 (578 points)
o Long Jump (2nd) 4.39 (401 points)
o Javelin (1st) 23.19 (348 points)
o 800m (1st) 2.38.44 (592 points)
- Sprinter Marcel Hodge (Leicestershire) took home silver in the men’s 200m (23.06) and bronze in the 100m (11.43).
- Declan Manning (Suffolk) placed third in the men’s hammer throw with a personal best throw of 30.79m.
- Chloe Knight (Lancashire) set new personal bests of 4.80m in the long jump and 9.00m in the triple jump.
- Holly Durbidge (Lowestoft) placed fifth in discus (21.32m) and 200m (28.72), as well as sixth in the 100m (13.83).
- Aidan Turnbull (Tyne & Wear) placed fifth in the men’s 100m (11.85).
- Owen Miller (Fife) placed fifth in the men’s 1500m (4:05.33).
The Team was led by Team Manager and Head Coach Paul Burns (Barrow-in-Furness), along with GB Coaches Christine Galloway (Halifax) and Tommy Patterson (Glasgow) who was selected to take part in the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay. The GB physiotherapist was Nicola Tennant (Glasgow).
UKSA promotes, facilitates and supports talented athletes with learning disability in the UK to train, compete and excel in national and international competitive sport.
UKSA manages the eligibility and classification process for UK athletes with learning disability. The Great Britain Team is managed by UKSA in collaboration with its four Home Country members, Scottish Disability Sport, Disability Sports Northern Ireland, Welsh Sports Association for People with Learning Disability and Mencap Sport in England.