Three of Birchfield’s brightest stars enjoyed a good opening day at the European Under-23 Championships in Lithuania yesterday.
Both high jumper Jessica Leach and discus thrower Eden Francis qualified for their respective finals while 400m hurdler Meghan Beesley eased to victory in her heat to make it through to today’s semis.
Leach cleared 1.83m to reach tomorrow’s showpiece with a first time clearance at a height just 3cm short of her lifetime best. The 22-year-old was expected to win at medal at the World Trials and UK Championships five days ago but flopped with only one clearance to finish a dismal tenth.
However, she was in much brighter mood yesterday: “I just had fun,” Leach said. “I didn’t have a great competition at the weekend and my coach just told me to have fun, and that’s what I did.”
Meanwhile event favourite Francis also reached this evening’s final with a minimum of fuss after an effort of 51.83m.
And Beesley made light of stride pattern problems to become one of three Britons to win their 400m hurdles heats. The 19-year-old faces one of those, Eilidh Child, in the semis while Europe’s No. 1 Perri Shakes Drayton goes in the other race.