In the first track final of the European Championships in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, Jo Pavey delivered with fifth place in an Olympic qualifying time. The defending champion from Zurich in 2014 improved her season’s best by almost two minutes to make a strong claim for a place in the 10,000m at the Rio Olympics next month, which would make her Britain’s oldest athletics Olympian.
Pavey would be a month short of her 43rd birthday during the Rio Games and this would be her fifth consecutive Olympics since Sydney, 2000. Her best results were fifth in the 5000m in Athens in 2004 and two unforgettably gutsy seventh places at 5000m and 10,000m in London 2012.
After making the early pace to ensure a respectable time, Pavey slipped to 11th before rallying in the closing stages to finish strongly for fifth in 31:34.61, her best time since 2012. Pavey passed the already selected Jess Andrews, who also ran superbly for seventh (31:38.02) in a personal best as Yasemin Can (Turkey, 31:12.86) took off to claim the gold.
The action continues in Amsterdam with the men’s 10,000m featuring Dewi Griffiths and Andy Vernon and men’s steeplechase with Rob Mullett followed by the women’s 5000m with Steph Twell, Laura Whittle and Eilish McColgan on Saturday.
Sunday (10th July) will be a busy day for armchair enthusiasts with Jonny Davies and Jonathan Taylor in the men’s 5000m, Lennie Waite and Rosie Clarke in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and the innovative Half Marathon Team Challenge in the morning.
Full details at the European Championships website