Boffey completes clean sweep of European age group 800m titles

Boffey 2021 u23 champ

It was 800m gold for Isabelle Boffey (handicap -1.9), while there were a host of fourth and fifth places on an exciting third day of action at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

Boffey won the 800m in some style, after going through at the bell in third place she made a decisive move to the front of the field down the backstraight and after that there was only ever one winner as she pushed on to another European title.

Boffey, who is on the British Athletics Futures Academy programme, now has the full set of age-group championship gold medals with today’s victory adding to her titles from the European U20s in 2019 and U18s in 2016.

The University of Birmingham student, who finished today’s race in 2:01.80, said, “I am buzzing. I showed that as I crossed the line. I have run 2:01 a few times this season and I really wanted to bring my best to the champs. I tried to stick to my plan, and I knew if I did that, I could secure the gold. I now want to get into some quick races to get these times down and get a time for next season’s championships.”

She added, “The middle distances in the UK just now is insane and I just need to train hard to get on their level next year.”

Khahisa Mhlanga (handicap -1.2) came in a strong fourth place in 2:04.05 overtaking three others in the home straight.  She was delighted with her performance, “I am pleased. It went out very quick, but I hung on in there and I managed to pick off a few in the last lap. I really enjoyed it.”

In a 17-man 1500m final it was always going to be a tactical and scrappy affair, but the British pair of  George Mills (handicap -6.2) and Josh Lay (handicap -6.2) did well to negotiate the field to finish in fifth and eighth respectively.

Mills, the 2016 European U18 champion, battled through traffic in the closing stages to post a time of 3:40.91. He summarised post-race, “It was a super, messy race and you had to try and be patient and position yourself as best you could. Unfortunately, today that wasn’t possible and although I would have liked to finish in the medals after a couple of rough weeks with results in races, I am happy to come away with fifth here.”

Lay, who clocked a time of 3:41.29 said, “I am disappointed after executing well for the first 3 laps, and I got in good positions but then I let people come past on the back straight and I was back in fourth by the 100m, but I didn’t have it in my legs today.”

The women’s 3000m steeplechase was run in very high temperatures with Sarah Tait (handicap 1.2) and Elise Thorner (handicap 0.5) keeping with the leading group with three laps to go. Unable to stay with that pace especially in the heat, the 20-year-old Scot, Tait finished in an excellent fifth in 10:04.53, while the Wells City athlete worked hard to cross the line in eighth in 10:12.41.

Even at 8pm in the evening it was still more than 30 degrees in the stadium for the men’s 5000m race. In the A race, Tom Mortimer (handicap -6.2) ran a determined first 3k, taking it on after seven laps until German, Mohamed Mohumed took the lead and pushed the pace.

The Briton was closed down by Icelandic and Spanish pair, Magnusson and Las Heras just before the bell so Mortimer would finish the contest in fourth place in 13:48.67, which would stand after the B race.

He said, “Knowing there was another race I needed to take it on. I knew we needed to do sub-14. I was pleased Mohumed took it out, but I couldn’t handle it in the end.”

Isaac Akers (handicap -5.8) finished tenth in the A race (adjusted to 13th overall after the second race) in 14:07.07.  

The European Athletics Under 23 Championships runs from 8 to 11 July in Tallinn, Estonia.  It will be streamed live on the European Athletics website with events getting underway at 7:40am BST on Sunday.

  Endurance results here

British team medals:

GOLD (2): 

Jeremiah Azu – Men’s 100m

Isabelle Boffey – Women’s 800m


Kristal Awuah – Women’s 100m

Holly Mills – Women’s Heptathlon