Mills begins heptathlon campaign with two lifetime bests in Borås

Holly Mills
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Great Britain's Holly Mills leads the heptathlon after two events at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships  

Great Britain’s Holly Mills leads the heptathlon after setting lifetime bests in the first two events at the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships.

Not only has Mills put herself in an excellent early position to win a medal in Boras, the Brit is also on course to smash her lifetime best of 5722 points and could even challenge the 6000 point-barrier based on her early competition form.

Mills began with 13.54 and 1.69m when she set her lifetime best but she far exceeded both marks in Boras, opening her account with a lifetime best of 13.45 against a 2.5 m/s headwind before clearing 1.78m in the high jump.

The former European U18 long jump champion has tallied 2011 points after two events ahead of Switzerland’s world U20 leader Annik Kalin (1921 points) and Spain’s world and European U18 champion Maria Vicente (1903) who was visibly disappointed to bow out with a best of 1.72m in the high jump.

By contrast Kate O’Connor was ecstatic after clearing a lifetime best of 1.81m in the high jump. O’Connor came away with the best jump across the two pools and is fourth after two events with 1885 points.

Seedo speeds to a Dutch U18 record of 11.37 in 100m heats

After speeding to a 7.27 60m clocking during the indoor season, N’Ketia Seedo was some way down the European U20 list ahead of the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships with 11.70 but the Dutchwoman, who only turned 17 last month, slingshotted herself up to second after winning heat three in a national U18 record of 11.37.

“I'm very happy because this is what I was hoping for - but I’m still a bit shocked with the result,” said Seedo who refrained from making any predictions for how the rest of the competition will unfold. “I came here to just to get some experience, and to be honest, I don't really know what to expect next.”

The wind speeds varied markedly across the morning but the third heat produced the fastest times of the morning with Spain’s world U18 silver medallist Jael Bestue finishing a close second in a national U20 record of 11.43 followed by Turkey’s Mizgin Ay in 11.57.

Enrique Llopis had the luxury of easing through the finish line but the Spaniard still set the fastest time of the morning in the 110m hurdles with 13.52 and European U20 leader Jeremiah Azu looked thoroughly assured in the 100m heats, qualifying fastest with 10.56 by one-tenth ahead of Germany’s Lucas Ansah-Peprah in 10.66. 

Reigning world and European U18 champion Myhaylo Kokhan from Ukraine made it through to the hammer final with his very first throw of 79.18m and world U20 champion Aleksandra Nacheva from Bulgaria further embellished her favourite status by jumping 13.76m (-1.1 m/s) with her first attempt.

Other notable qualifiers included Maria Privalova, the daughter of 2000 Olympic 400m hurdles champion Irina, who produced the fourth longest jump of qualifying with 13.03m. Finland’s Jessica Kahara, who won medals in both the high jump and triple jump on the same session at the European U18 Championships last year, also qualified with 12.88m.

However, there was a sizeable upset in the discus with world U20 leader Jorinde van Klinken from the Netherlands going out. van Klinken began with two no-throws and her only valid effort of 47.67m proved insufficient to reach the final.  

There will be live coverage of the European Athletics U20 Championships throughout the week here.