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5 March 2007 PR 07/24

Gold medals tops superb contribution from Loughborough at European Indoors

Gold medals for David Gillick, Nicola Sanders and Phil Taylor topped an outstanding contribution from current or former Loughborough University athletes at the European indoor athletics championships in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena at the weekend.

Ireland’s Gillick, who is a MSc in Sports and Leisure Management student at the University, defended his men’s 400 metres with a storming finish around the final bend, while University graduate Sanders led from start to finish to win the women’s 400m title.

Taylor, last year’s Loughborough athletics club men’s captain who trains with Callum Orr, ran the third leg in the 4x400m relay, which ended with the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team crossing the line in second place.

They were then promoted to the gold medal when first-placed Germany were disqualified after Bastian Swillims was adjudged to have impeded Russia’s Artem Sergeyenkov on the final bend, causing the Russian to lose balance and allowing British anchor runner Steven Green to sweep into second place.

Sanders also inspired the British women’s 4x400m relay team, which included two other former Loughborough athletes in Kim Wall and Lee McConnell, to a national record time of three minutes 28.69 seconds and a bronze medal, behind Belarus and Russia.

Gillick, who moved to Loughborough last year to work with the University’s director of athletics coaching Nick Dakin, said the move had helped his career immeasurably.

“All I ever wanted to do was do athletics professionally and try to approach it in every manner as professionally as possible,” Gillick said.

“At Loughborough, I’m living with athletes and I’m in that professional environment. I love it. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I came here to better myself and I have.”

Former Loughborough student Nathan Douglas also produced a consistently impressive series of jumps to take silver in the men’s triple jump.

Douglas’ 17.47m was second behind British team mate Phillips Idowu, who banished any thoughts of it being a weakened competition because of the absence of Swedish Olympic and world champion Christian Olsson, by jumping the world leading distance of 17.56m.

University alumni Jeanette Kwayke just missed out on a medal in the women’s 60m when she clocked the same time as third-placed Daria Onysko of Poland, but was ruled fourth in the photo finish.

Helen Clitheroe, who trains at the University, led for the majority of the women’s 1500 metres, but was run down in the final 200 metres and finished fourth. Hurdler Andy Turner was also just pipped into fourth in the men’s 60m hurdles.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lisa Dobriskey, who has recovered from a stress fracture in her thigh, ran a personal best in the women’s 3000m by almost seven seconds, but finished fifth behind Poland’s Lidia Chojecka, who became the first woman to complete the 1500m-3000m double at the championships.

“I thought I could do a PB but I didn’t know if it was going to be a fast or slow race,” said Dobriskey. “But fifth place. I would have been chuffed if you’d told me that beforehand but it makes you work even harder and I’m going to use it for the summer.”

Ends

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Notes to editors
Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough in the top five among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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