Yemi Mary John in 400m at the European U23 Athletics Championships

ESPOO, Finland (July 13) — In a shocking turn of events at the European U23 Athletics Championships, the three fastest athletes in the women’s 400m heats, Catia Gubelmann, Carmen Avilés, and Ilaria Elvira Accame, failed to make the final. This unexpected outcome has added an extra layer of intrigue to the competition, as Britons Keely Hodgkinson and Yemi Mary John both made progress.

Yemi Mary John and Zoë Sedney Set The Pace

The semi-final round was dominated by Britain’s World U20 champion Yemi Mary John and the Netherlands’ Zoë Sedney. John, who led the second semi-final heat, clocked a time of 51.80 seconds, making her a strong contender for the gold medal.

“It was pretty hard today because we had just a short time between the heats and the semi-finals but I just focused on the recovery and did what I needed to do to get through the rounds,” said John.

“I am glad for the result and looking forward to the final. You know, we have to wait and see but definitely big things are coming tomorrow.”

Sedney, on the other hand, built a commanding lead in her heat, finishing with a personal best time of 52.11 seconds. Even Keely Hodgkinson, who finished strongly in the last 100m, could not catch her.

“I was just running for myself, not thinking much about the others. We are all here to fight for the victory, that is our main motivation,” Sedney said.

Hodgkinson Reflects on Semifinal Race

Read more: European Athletics U23 Championships: Keely Hodgkinson eased into 400m semis

Olympic and world 800m silver medalist, Hodgkinson, who finished second in her heat with a time of 52.44 seconds, said, “The race went well, even though I felt a bit tired after the heats.

“I haven’t gotten time to explore the Finnish culture yet, but I will definitely buy a souvenir glass whenever I get the opportunity. There are already 26 of those from each country I have been to- a little hobby of mine, so to speak.”

Other qualifiers for the final include Katriina Wright of Finland, Berta Segura of Spain, Astri Ertzgaard of Norway, Henriette Jæger of Norway, and Giulia Senn of Switzerland.

The day, however, ended in great disappointments for Catia Gubelmann, Carmen Avilés, and Ilaria Elvira Accame, who failed to rediscover their first-round performances and stunningly failed to make the final.

Gubelmann, who set a PB in the heats, only clocked 53.13 secs in the semis for sixth place in the first race, while Accame ran 53.19 in the same semifinal. Avilés, meanwhile, faded to fourth in the second semifinal race.

The European U23 Athletics Championships continue on Friday in Espoo, Finland, with another loaded schedule.

Full results and report here

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