Saturday, July 16, 2011

Washington's James Alaka gets silver medal over 200m at European U-23 Championships...

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic--Fresh off a personal best in the semi-finals earlier Saturday morning, University of Washington sophomore James Alaka (left/photo courtesy European Athletics) finished second in the finals of the men's 200 meters at the European Under-23 Championships.

Entering the finals with the second-fastest time of 20.59, which bettered his previous PR of 20.71 at last year's NCAA regionals in Austin, Alaka, the winner of this year's 100 and 200 meter titles at the Pac-10 championships in Tuscon in May, had the fastest reaction time of 0.143 out of the blocks, but was a meter down to top seed Likoúrgos-Stéfanos Tsakonas of Greece exiting the turn, then took the lead halfway down the straightaway.

Alaka took the lead, but a surge by Tsakonas gave the Greek the victory in 20.56, a personal best, as Alaka missed his PR by 1/100th of a second at 20.60

Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic finished third in 20.67, as the field ran into a -1.4 headwind.

Afterwards, he told UK Athletics, "That start was the biggest surprise ever, but the first part of the race was a complete blur if I'm honest. It's really just the last 50m of the race where I know I'm strong and I just kept on pushing. I saw the Greek athlete out the corner of my eye and I thought "you can out lean him, you've been working hard in the gym and your chest is bigger!", I knew I could out lean him."

"That was a really great race and I feel blessed to have been part of it."


Day 3 results from the European Under-23 Championships are available here.

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