Blackburn’s Alison Leonard raised hopes of a European Championship medal in Switzerland as she progressed to Thursday’s women’s 800m semi-finals with the quickest qualifying time.

Leonard, making her senior Great Britain debut, won her heat in 2.01.72 to advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

The 24-year-old finished ahead of Russia’s Yekaterina Poistogova and Sweden’s Lovisa Lindh to advance as one of the three automatic qualifiers.

And she topped the timesheets for the semi-finals ahead of her British team-mate and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lynsey Sharp. The third Brit in the field Jessica Judd was third in heat two and also progressed.

The semi-finals get underway at 5.38pm tomorrow with the final on Saturday afternoon.

Blackburn Harrier Leonard will run in heat one on Thursday and has avoided being drawn with Sharp who goes in heat two alongside Judd.

The first three athletes from each semi-final and the two fastest losers will make the final.