European Team Championships: Thomas shines in 1500m

By Michael Da SilvaBBC Sport

An unexpected win for Charlene Thomas in the 1500m was the highlight for Great Britain on the final day of the European Team Championships in Sweden.

Thomas produced a sparkling run to beat a world-class field, while Andy Turner took victory in the 110m hurdles in style in a time of 13.42 seconds.

New Britons Shara Proctor and Tiffany Ofili-Porter disappointed in the long jump and 100m hurdles respectively.

GB were set for third but a botched baton change cost them a place.

The shambolic last handover in the men's 4x400m relay was enough to disqualify them from the event and cost them the points which could well have enabled GB to finish in the top three.

Michael Bingham, who was unable to pass the baton to Richard Buck, told BBC Sport: "I don't blame anyone but myself. I just hope we can make up for it by bringing home a medal at the World Championships."

But British head coach Charles Van Commenee had a different take on the mix-up.

"A total anti-climax," he said. "Richard Buck went too soon, but that comes with relay running. There is just no excuse."

On what was otherwise an encouraging day for Britain, Turner won after recovering from a poor start in the sodden conditions.

The 30-year-old powered through the middle stages of the race to hold off the challenge of France's Garfield Darien and secure maximum points for his team.

"Charles [Van Commenee] said he expected nothing less than 12 points, the same as last year. But I came into the race confident, I knew I had the season's best and I felt good," Turner told BBC Sport.

"The conditions were really tough and there was a big head wind. I am just happy to have won the race to be honest and to keep Charles happy."

Thomas's victory was more unexpected, given the presence of favourite Anna Mischenko of the Ukraine.

Mischenko and Russia's Yekaterina Martynova set the pace for much of the race, but Thomas remained in touch before weaving her way through the pack and outkicking the pair on the home straight to finish in a season's best time of 4:06.85.

In the women's 5,000m Helen Clitheroe finished third in a personal best time of 15:33.03, with Spain's Dolores Checa winning easily in a time of 15:16.89.

Gareth Warburton produced a season's best 1:46.95 in the men's 800m to secure some valuable points for Britain, who ended the day on 283 points, nine behind the Ukraine.

Russia finished the weekend as winners of the meeting, with Germany second.

Meanwhile Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre added to the 100m he won on Saturday with a scintillating run in the 200m.

Despite a strong effort by 20-year-old Briton Daniel Talbot, who came sixth, Lemaitre was a class above as he blew the field away in a time of 20.28, a new championship record.

The run was even more impressive given the damp and cool conditions and a significant 3m head wind.

Britain's newly adopted athletes, long jumper Proctor and 100m hurdler Ofili-Porter, were off the pace though, with Proctor only managing ninth, two places below her target of seventh. Ofili-Porter finished fourth overall.

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