RIETI, Italy – Tiger freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake sprinted to back-to-back personal records to claim the European Junior crown in the men’s 200-meter dash to lead a medal sweep by Great Britain on Saturday afternoon at the 2013 European Athletics Junior Championships being held at Raul Guidobaldi Stadium in Rieti, Italy.
Mitchell-Blake opened his day with an easy victory in the first of three semifinal heats when he crossed the finish line in 20.70 seconds (+1.5) to cruise into the 200-meter final later in the day.
He then turned in a dominant performance while smashing his PR for the second-straight race with a winning time of 20.62 (-0.7) to strike gold by three tenths of a second ahead of his fellow countryman Leon Reid in a time of 20.92 for the silver medal. Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith followed across the finish line in 20.94 for the bronze medal.
Mitchell-Blake kicked off this year’s European Athletics Junior Championship by winning his first-round heat on Friday with an opening run of 21.05 (-0.5) for the second-fastest time of the prelims.
“It’s a great triple for Great Britain,” Mitchell-Blake said following his victory. “We came here to place in the first three. We’re a new generation of sprinters for Great Britain. Tomorrow we will run the relays. Leon and I go for the 4x100 and Matthew for the 4x400. We want to win both relay golds here tomorrow.”
Mitchell-Blake recently wrapped up a sensational freshman season in Baton Rouge while earning All-America honors as a member of LSU’s 4x100-meter relay team and advancing to the NCAA Championships semifinal in the 200 meters in his debut with the Tigers at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He finished in 16th place nationally in the 200 meters in his first collegiate season with the Tigers.
Mitchell-Blake entered the weekend with a previous wind-legal PR of 20.76 set in the quarterfinal round of the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this summer.
A product of Jamaica College in Kingston, Mitchell-Blake competes internationally for Great Britain as he was born in London, England. He made his international debut for Great Britain while running the 200 meters for his country at the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships held in Lille, France, where he advanced to the semifinals as a 17-year-old.