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European Championships Silver for Emily!

Kettering Town Harrier’s Emily Williams secured a magnificent Silver medal competing in the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary to fully justify her selection to represent GB at the highly prestigious championships. Competing in the 1500m for the first time in a full International Williams produced a fantastic performance to podium on her GB debut, a historic achievement for a Kettering Town athlete. Her performance helped the GB team finish top in the medal table with 9 medals in total, 6 Gold, 2 Silver & 1 Bronze

Emily Williams making her GB debut with a brilliant podium finish

The Championships were held in the beautiful city of Gyor in Hungary in the brand new purpose build Olympic park stadium, and with a full televised programme on Euro sport & internet streaming from many outlets the 2nd championships has certainly gained momentum with 50 countries represented with over 1000 athletes competing.

Qualification: A slightly nervous Emily Williams Lined up with a good quality field in the second 1500m Heat with the European ranked No2 Polish athlete and had to make sure of a clean race and top 4 finish to guarantee progress to the final. Making her full GB debut the Kettering Town Harriers athlete certainly looked the part in the striking GB kit, and with the full media coverage and live stream on Euro sport 2 she gave a slightly nervous smile as the camera held on her during the announcement of the prominent athletes in the heat.

At the start Emily sensibly quickly gathered herself at the front of the pack to steer clear of any potential hazards and settled into a very modest pace, and when under pressure to take the initiative she sensibly slowed the pace knowing her 800m speed should be enough to ensure she can navigate the heat safety. With a leisurely opening 800m of 2:33 Williams was poised to respond to any quickening of the pace, and shortly after the bell the Polish athlete Klaudia Kazimierska and Antje Pfüller from Germany put in a concerted effort with 300m to go, Williams responded sitting in behind the duo until 100m to go when she put in a terrific burst to glide past Pfüller with ease to comfortable finish in second place behind Kazimierska in a comfortable 4:34.62, in what was a very assured and controlled race, conserving as much energy as possible for the final 2 day later.

Emily Williams with a controlled run in her heat to Qualify comfortably

With a full recovery within the GB team including an Ice bath & sports massage Williams goes into the final looking in great shape, and looking to reach her seasons target of making the podium, but with clear world leading 1500m athletes, Irelands Sarah Healy and the Higher ranked Polish athlete for company and other quality athletes all eying up a medal it will no doubt be a hugely challenging race for the 16 year old as one of the younger athletes in the competition.

Final: A well recovered but nervous Williams was fully aware of the challenges ahead with two athletes ranked above her including the European and world leading 1500m Irish athlete Sarah Healey who was also ranked No1 in Europe for 800m & 3,000m, and 2-3 more athletes who were within touching distance of her SB time of 4:20.88 leading into the competition.

With her usual warm up routine and the call room procedure completed Williams was nervously stood on the line while the medal presentation ceremony for the women’s Javelin was being completed, and aware that Team GB had just secured another Gold medal, their 6th of the championship in the men’s 800m, and no doubt aware that she and her coach had set the target at the start of the season to podium at these championships.

Following the start Williams put in a fast 100m to settle herself in the leading pack, and she sensibly slowed the pace to avoid taking the race on from the start until the Finish athlete Nathalie Blomqvist decided to take the initiative and take the lead. The first lap was a respectable 73 seconds and Ireland’s Sarah Healy perhaps fearing the 800m pace of Williams decided to inject some pace and went to the front to take control with the 800m mark being clocked at 2:23. Williams continued to track the lead keeping out of trouble and sitting on Healy’s shoulder, and the bell signalled another injection of pace by Healey with both Williams and the Polish European ranked No2 athlete Klaudia Kazimierska in hot pursuit. At the 300m mark Healy made her move for home and opened up a gap on the pursuing duo and Kazimierska followed with a surge of pace to move ahead of Williams, sensing a Silver medal was there for the taking. Williams confident of her finishing pace bided her time sitting in on the shoulder of Kazimierska ready to attack off the bend, and when she executed it was both controlled and devastating as she opened up a significant gap in the final 100m over her competitor securing a magnificent Silver medal in 4:22.11 in her first full International representing GB, a significant achievement in her blossoming career.

Williams Closely following the leaders in the 1500m final

Following some media interviews a deliriously happy Williams was ushered away by the official with the Medal ceremony for the race shortly to commence, and a short period of panic as she had to retrieve her presentation GB tracksuit from the warm up area. It was a joyous sight to see her standing as the European No2 U18 athlete over 1500m, a distance she is really just starting to master after winning National & Home International titles at 800m.

Magnificent Silver medal for Emily Williams

Coach Shane Smith who had attended the competition with Proud Parents, Rosie & Rodney Williams was delighted to see his protégée medal at her first full international “Emily has handled the whole experience of the GB camp, with high level media coverage, the qualification round and the pressure of expectation to reach the podium in her stride.” He added “I am confident Emily with take on board the whole positive experience of the Championships and be hungry for more success on the European and world stage, and she certainly has the ability to achieve this."

Williams was delighted to secure the Silver medal, Afterwards, she said: “Oh my gosh, it sounds unbelievable to be a European U18 silver medallist."

“I was nervous – but I could see that three of us had moved away from the others. The pace picked up with 200m to go and I knew I had to go with it because I really wanted a medal.”

“I’ve mixed between the 1500m and 800m all season and I think my speed really helped me in the final part of the race."

Emily now gets some well deserved recovery before deciding if she will compete in the upcoming English Schools Championships.

Magnificent Running Emily!