ALISON Leonard missed out on a spot in the final of the women’s 800m at the European Championships in Holland after falling agonisingly short in her semi-final.

The Blackburn Harrier needed a top two finish to automatically book her place in Saturday’s showpiece and appeared to have timed her performance perfectly as she hit the front with 200m to go.

But the 26-year-old, who is waiting on a selectors decision as to whether she will be chosen as the third athlete to represent Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, was run out of it the finale, finishing in third place.

Ukraine’s Nataliya Pryshchepa took the win in 2.01.75 ahead of Italy’s Yusneysi Santiusti in 2.02.31. Leonard crossed the line a tenth of a second later but her time of 2.02.31 was not good enough to see her qualify for the final as one of two fastest losers.

Britain’s Jenny Meadows, a potential rival for Leonard’s Olympic spot, also bowed out after she finished sixth in her semi-final in 2.03.13.

In Wednesday night’s first round Leonard had progressed to the final in second spot in her heat in a time of 2.03.64 after a crowded finish in which she was boxed in heading into the closing stages.

Burnley’s Sophie Hitchon will now fly the flag for East Lancashire as she competes in the women’s hammer final on Friday night.

Hitchon secured her place in the final with a throw of 69.48m which was enough to see her through with the sixth longest distance.

The hammer final is set to get underway at 5.10pm GMT.

Elsewhere yesterday Dina Asher-Smith won gold in the 200 metres at the European Championships in Amsterdam.

Asher-Smith clocked a season’s best of 22.37 seconds to win ahead of Bulgaria’s Ivet Laloova-Collio and Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper in 22.74. Britain’s Jodie Williams was sixth in 22.96

James Ellington stormed to a personal best 10.04 seconds to march into the 100 metres final.

The 30-year-old, who memorably put himself on Ebay in the run-up to London 2012 in a bid to attract sponsorship, finished second to French favourite Jimmy Vicaut in his semi-final.

Ellington was until this season better known as a 200m specialist, but he clocked a windy 9.96secs at the British Championships to book his Olympic spot and is chasing the first major individual medal of his career at the Dutch capital’s Olympic Stadium.

Richard Kilty joined him in the final, winning his semi in 10.15s, but Ojie Edoburun’s time of 10.20 was not good enough to progress.