Friday, July 15, 2011

James Alaka wins European Under-23 100 meter title...

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic--University of Washington's double Pac-10 sprint champion James Alaka (left/finish photo courtesy Omega/Ostrava LOC) of Great Britain won the men's 100 meters Friday at the European Under-23 Championships at Vitkovice City Stadium.

Competing in cloudy conditions which resembled Seattle and his native London, Alaka, who had the second fastest qualifying time in the qualifying at 10.50, was down about a meter early, as British teammate Michael Robertson in lane 2 was first off the line with a great start.

Running in lane 3, Alaka began making his move at the halfway mark, and passed Robertson near the 80 meter mark. However on the outside, Italy's Michael Tumi, who also got out of the blocks well, was making a charge, but Alaka's strength over the last half of the race earned him the European Under-23 title in a time of 10.45, with Tumi second at 10.47, and Alaka's British compatriot Robertson third at 10.52, as they ran into a -1.5 meter per second headwind.

In the mixed zone afterwards, Alaka said, "It was my first international final so this is very important win for me and a great experience. I am happy, this is a very good season for me. Two hours from now I will run 200m, I am tired but I still believe in (getting a) medal."

Courtesy of European Athletics, here's the interview with Alaka:

In the first round of the 200, Alaka, running in lane 4, cruised to a third place finish, despite a slow start, running 21.25, behind Aliaksandr Linnik of Belarus (20.87) and Alex Wilson (21.13) of Switzerland.

Alaka's third place finish advanced the Flash Man to the semi-finals, which will be run Saturday at 2:30 am Seattle time (11:30 am in Ostrava), with the finals scheduled for 9:05 am in Seattle (6:05 pm in Ostrava).

Day 2 results from the European Under-23 Championships are available here.

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