David Omoregie did his best to indicate to Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega from Spain that he will not have tomorrow’s 110m hurdles final at the European Athletics Team Championships Super League in Lille Metropole all his own way as he defeated him in today’s heats with a season’s best of 13.34 to Ortega’s 13.36.
For the first time, these championships involved an opening session of heats for sprints and hurdles in order to reduce the two main days of the programme to straight finals.
Jack Green looks capable of getting Britain off to a winning start on the track on the first main day of action after winning his heat of the 400m hurdles – traditionally the first running event of this competition – in 49.96, the best qualifying time. Spain’s Sergio Fernandez was the second fastest in 50.28.
The margin of victory for Green’s teammate Eilidh Doyle in the first of the women’s 400m hurdles heats was even greater – the 2014 European champion and Rio 2016 finalist finished 20 metres clear, again slowing, in a season’s best of 55.76.
Britain also topped the qualifying for the men’s 100m as Harry Aikines-Aryeetey won the first heat in 10.33, ahead of Germany’s Julian Reus who clocked 10.36. European champion Churandy Martina from the Netherlands won his heat in 10.39.
France fielded Stuart Dutamby in the place of the injured European-leader Jimmy Vicaut, who is out of action because of a torn hamstring and could miss the rest of the season. He also qualified for the final in 10.52 - the fifth fastest from the 100m heats.
But the crowd who filled the main stand in the pleasant evening sunshine – along with the blocks of colourfully clad, flag-waving kids in the far stand – had a French winner to cheer as Carole Zahi won her 100m heat in the fastest qualifying time of 11.34. Germany’s favourite, 20-year-old Gina Luckenkemper, won her heat in 11.40.
Luckenkemper’s teammate Pamela Dutkiewicz topped the qualifying in the 100m hurdles, decelerating to a win in 12.82 to maintain her unbeaten run outdoors. Greece's Elisavet Pesiridou was the second fastest in 13.03.
Greece’s Likourgos-Stefanos Tsakonas maintained his standing as favourite in the men’s 200m with the fastest qualifying time of 20.33, a season’s best, comfortably ahead of Poland’s Karel Zalewski (21.00) and the Czech Republic’s three-time European indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak (21.04).