Olympian and former European champion Jo Pavey made the qualifying time for the Olympics in Rio yesterday, finishing in fifth place at the 10,000m event at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam.
With aspirations of becoming the first British female track athlete to compete in five Olympic Games, the 42-year-old dug deep to place herself in the Olympic selection frame.
Needing to finish in 32mins 15secs to qualify for Rio, the mum-of-two ran a season’s best of 31mins 34secs. Despite falling back to 11th place earlier in the race, Pavey made a strong comeback, cutting through the field in the final stages to edge herself closer to the podium finishers.
Turkey’s Yasemin Can took home victory gold – the title claimed by Pavey in Zurich two years previous – in 31mins 12secs. Behind her in second place was Potrugal’s Dulce Felix, followed by Norways’s Karoline Grovdal.
Despite not making the podium, Pavey clocked a time 37 seconds quicker than her main rival Kate Avery’s current best, improving her chances of being selected to represent Team GB in Rio.
After missing several weeks of training due to illness, Pavey told The Guardian she was pleased with her performance. She said:
“I just gave it my all. I felt I just gave it everything. It was a massive step forward for me. It was only a few weeks ago I ran in the Birmingham Diamond League and only ran half of it at that pace. I’m making progress each week but I just have to see what the selectors say.”