Tom Bosworth (club: Tonbridge; coach: Andi Drake) starred on the second and final day of the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships as he lowered his own national 5000m race walk record on a day of wall-to-wall finals in Glasgow.
Bosworth’s time of 18:20.97 saw him smash his own previous best of 18:28.70 by nearly eight seconds as he claimed a sixth consecutive indoor title.
Pulling away from the field early on, Bosworth picked up the pace in the final few laps. Walking inside the split times that would carry him to a revision of the British record, Bosworth dug in deep before crossing the line to the delight of the home crowd.
Behind Bosworth, both Tom Partington (Manx; Steve Partington) and Luc Legon (Bexley; Noel Carmody) set personal best times of 22:17.26 and 23:00.52 as they picked up silver and bronze respectively, but they were no match for Bosworth, who finished nearly four minutes ahead of them.
Fresh from setting the new British record, Bosworth said: “I love this track, it’s brilliant. It’s a fast track and I set a world record last time I was here. I had a perfect winter in terms of preparation, and to be honest I haven’t felt this good since the Commonwealths.
“I wanted to see how far I could push myself today. 18.28 was the old record, and I thought I would never get near that again. But I felt good, so I thought it would stick with the pace and see how far I could go.
“I don’t know how that performance sits on the world rankings, but it’s got to be right up there. I can’t ask any more of myself especially in an Olympic year.
“I’m not setting any specific targets this year, and today’s race demonstrates I’m doing exactly what I need to.”
In the women’s race, gold went the way of Abigail Jennings (Aldershot, Farnham & District; Verity Snook) who set a new personal best of 25:28.46, as she beat Pagen Spooner (Hyde Park Harriers; Andi Drake) to win her first British title.
The women’s 800m saw British and European indoor junior record holder Keely Hodgkinson (Leigh; Trevor Painter) hold off a late challenge from 2019 European indoor finalist Mari Smith (Birchfield Harriers; Luke Gunn) to collect her first British title in 2:04.37.
Making her senior British championships debut, Hodgkinson took the lead going into the final lap before kicking for home ahead of Smith, who clocked 2:04.72. Behind the pair came Philippa Millage (Victoria Park City of Glasgow; William Parker), who secured bronze in 2:07.27.
17-year-old Hodgkinson said: “I’m over the moon to pull off that performance in my first indoor season. I knew it would be a tough competition, but I have trained really well and knew that I could put in the performance when it counted.
“I’m really excited for the outdoor season and what it holds for me.”
In the highly anticipated men’s 800m, Guy Learmonth (Lasswade; Henry Gray) collected his third British title after storming through on the back straight to steal victory from Andrew Osagie (Harlow; Mark Rowland) in a personal best time of 1:46.89.
Learmonth had to bide his time for much of the race, but having kept close contact with the leaders and bypassed a fall that saw Alex Botterill’s (City of York, Andrew Henderson) chances of a medal scuppered, the Lasswade athlete made a late surge, kicking strongly off the final bend, to come up the inside and pip Osagie to the line.
Josh Kerr (Edinburgh AC) had led for the majority of the event but faded towards the end, allowing Learmonth, Osagie and Piers Copeland (Wimborne; Bob Smith) to come through and medal.
Finding good form this indoor season, Osagie’s silver in 1:46.98 saw him finish ahead of Copeland’s 1:47.37 for bronze.
Post-race, Learmonth said: “I said after everything that happened last year, I had to do something in front of a homer crowd, and I delivered. Every indoor race this year and I’ve been thinking ‘don’t fall, don’t fall’ and I really thought I was going to go.
“I stayed on my feet and came through to win. Today isn’t about times it’s about winning, and I did that, in-front of a home crowd that’s the one for me.”
Tasked with opening the action on day two, Amelia Strickler (Thames Valley; Zane Duquemin) produced a magnificent display in the women’s shot put, to beat Sophie McKinna (Great Yarmouth; Mike Winch) and claim her first British title since 2018.
After taking an early lead with 17.41m, Strickler pulled out a huge 17.97m personal best in round four to take the crown from McKinna in what a hugely entertaining competition.
A world finalist from 2019, McKinna mustered a best of 17.39m to take silver ahead of Adele Nicoll (Birchfield Harriers, Ryan Spencer-Jones), with the Birchfield Harrier joining Strickler in throwing a lifetime best as her 16.19m clinched bronze.
Speaking after her win, Strickler said: “Anytime you throw a PB you have to celebrate. The indoor season is different this year because there’s no World Indoors but I wanted to come here and throw an indoor PB but I bettered it with a lifetime PB so I can’t complain.
“Getting the win as well makes it even sweeter. This last year, we’ve really been working on my technique and having that change in focus has been a really big boost to me.
“Not working two jobs any more makes training and recovery better and smoother and I’m so thankful for the support I have and to see the hard work pay off like today is brilliant. I have to move closer to the qualifying mark and make it to the Olympics and I’ll do everything in my power to get there, so fingers crossed that form transitions into outdoors.”
Taking literal centre stage from the conclusion of the shot put earlier in the programme, the men’s high jump final saw the increasingly-impressive Tom Gale (Bath; Denis Doyle) continue a fine indoor season as he won his first British title courtesy of a fine clearance at 2.27m before then going close at 2.32m.
Behind Gale, a season’s best jump of 2.24m saw silver go to David Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet, Paul Harrison), while multi-British international Chris Baker (Sale Harriers Manchester) took bronze with his own 2020 best of 2.20m
Looking back at an indoor season that has seen him secure the Olympic qualifying mark and claim a first British title, Gale said:
“I’m feeling really good, but I’m annoyed because I thought the 2.32m was there today. I’ve walked in today knowing in previous years I’ve won because the best guys weren’t here – today, they were, and I won, so I can be happy.
“I didn’t feel fantastic and don’t normally skip bars but I did today and I put myself in the best position looking to the outdoor season. Having the Olympic qualifier behind me is a big thing so outdoors, let’s go have some fun.”
An hour or so before, the silverware was decided in the women’s equivalent as Bethan Partridge (Birchfield Harriers; Graham Ravenscroft) impressed to win her first British title since 2017 courtesy of a 1.87m best on the day.
Entering the competition at 1.80m, Partridge went on to clear the bar at 1.84m before she secured the win with a first-time clearance of 1.87m, the only athlete to clear the height.
Commonwealth silver medallist Lake had to settle for second place following a best of 1.84m on the day, with Scottish record holder Nikki Manson (Griffnock North) clearing the same height as Lake but being bumped into bronze due to Lake holding a clearer scorecard.
Satisfied with the win but wanting more height-wise, the Birchfield athlete said: “It feel great to get the win, but I’m frustrated slightly because I knew I was capable of clearing the next height.”
“There’s plenty of things to work on from here, so I’ll regroup and go back to the drawing board with the aim of adding a few centimetres to my jumps and reaching that Olympic qualifying standard.”
Always a frantic contest indoors, the final of the men’s 400m proved no different as James Williams (Liverpool; Paul Waters) continued his impressive indoor form to earn a first British title with a personal best time of 47.24s.
Joe Brier (Swansea; Matt Elias), who finished second to Williams in the heats, tried to apply pressure on the home straight, but Williams proved too strong as he moved away to golden glory.
Leaving Brier to settle for silver in 47.92, Krishawn Aiken (Shaftesbury Barnet; Chris Baillie) joined the duo on the podium as he clocked 48.00 for bronze.
“I wanted to change the pace and kick at the last and it all worked out perfectly for me and I’ve got my title at last,” said a beaming Williams.
“Now the aim is to get onto some relay camps and hopefully make the step towards a 4x400m team.”
Naomi Ogbeta (Trafford; Tom Cullen) continued her British dominance in the women’s triple jump, s she successfully defended her domestic title to continue her unbeaten streak domestically.
After propelling into an early lead, Ogbeta’s second round effort of 13.83m saw her set a new season’s best on her way to gold, as she jumped over half a metre clear of the rest of the field.
Behind Ogbeta, Shanara Hibbert (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies; Guy Spencer) produced a personal best of 13.03m to grab silver, whilst Eavion Richardson (Shaftesbury Barnet; Craig Andrew) brought up the final podium position with a season’s best performance of 12.73m.
Assessing her afternoon’s work, Ogbeta said: “This is my sixth British title and that was exactly what I wanted today to be about, winning the title. Getting a season’s best as well you can’t ask for any more than that.”
“It’s never promised that you’re going to win in any event but to put in a performance like that I’m really happy with. The feeling never wears off when you win a British title and this one is just as sweet as the first one. It’ll go nicely alongside the others.”
In the men’s equivalent, Michael Puplampu (Newham & Essex Beagles, Tosin Oke) collected his second British title as he edged out Efe Uwaifo (Harrow; John Herbert) and Julian Reid (Sale Harriers Manchester; Aston Moore).
Uwaifo looked on course for the win only for Puplampu to save his best until last, leaping out at a season’s best of 16.21m to seal gold. Uwaifo tried to respond, but his personal best of 16.18m saw him fall an agonising 3cm short of topping the podium.
Fresh from the disappointment of three no jumps in the men’s long jump final yesterday, Julian Reid bounced back in style as his effort of 16.08m saw him claim British bronze in his favoured event.
“I left it a little late today, and I keep on doing it to myself. I did the same thing last year and left it to the last round and got it by a centimetre,” said Puplampu.
“I didn’t get the job done in the style I would have liked, but winning was my target all along. There’s so much pressure out there when you leave it so late, I might need to fit myself with a pacemaker if I keep doing that. I wasn’t in the medals going into the last round, so that was an important jump.”
Back on the venue at which she won European Indoor bronze last March, Melissa Courtney (Poole AC; Rob Denmark) continued her promising start to 2020 as she claimed a maiden British 3000m title following a calculated move to the front with around 500m to go.
A strong final couple of laps saw the Welshwoman secure victory in 9:48.54 ahead of the early race leader Verity Ockenden’s (Swansea; Tony Houchin) 9:50.39, while steeplechase specialist Rosie Clarke (Epsom & Ewell; Rob Denmark) was third for bronze in 9:52.02.
“That was really good and it feels great to win my first senior title, I’ve competed at eight senior championships and not won any so it’s nice to get that title,” said Courtney of her achievement.
“Indoors the plan was always for it to be a short season and see where I’m at. The training group is really strong and it all bodes well for the summer. I’ll get a few days off but now we go back to the ground and build towards a huge summer and see what we can do.”
Following on from Sophie Cook’s impressive victory in the women’s pole vault yesterday, the men’s equivalent saw Adam Hague (Sheffield & Dearne; Trevor Fox) dominate proceedings to reclaim his men’s indoor crown as he successfully cleared 5.55m on his way to gold.
Behind Hague, Ethan Walsh (Shaftesbury Barnet; Scott Simpson) claimed his first senior medal with a clearance of 5.15m for second, with Andrew Murphy (Kilbarchan; Colin Sinclair) third, setting a new personal best of 5.00m.
“It feels nice to get that winning feeling back. I was really pleased with the height that I achieved in the end, so overall it was a pretty good performance. I’m happy, the crowd was great and it’s been a good day,” said Hague post-competition.
Fresh from winning the women’s 400m at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix one week ago, Jessie Knight (WSEH; Marina Armstrong) backed up her eye-catching run last weekend with an assured gun to tape victory in the same in the same event this weekend.
After setting the third fastest time in the world this season, Knight put in another strong performance to deservedly claim her first domestic title in a time of 52.76s.
Controlling the race, Knight kicked away on the final bend to stretch her advantage over the chasing pack and cross the line ahead of Holly Turner (Crawley; Stephen King), who set a personal best of 54.22 for silver.
Behind the front two, Krystal Galley (Blackheath & Bromley; Jay Galley) brought up bronze in her own personal best time of 54.83s.
Ecstatic after rounding off a great start to 2020, Knight said: “I’m over the moon and really happy with that performance. I came here hoping for this to happen, but you never know what people might pull off on the day.”
“It’s exactly the result I wanted and the perfect ending to the indoor season.”
Pre-race 200m favourite, Andrew Morgan-Harrison (Kingston-Upon-Hull; Alex O’Gorman) claimed gold and a first domestic 200m title ahead of Nicholas Pryce (Royal Sutton Coldfield; Joe Caines) and Ben Snaith (Newham & Essex Beagles; Mick Graham)
Digging in over the final 40m despite appearing to twinge his hamstring, Morgan-Harrison stopped the clock in a time of 21.20s to win the event, as Pryce earnt silver with a personal best of 21.29s, with Snaith in bronze, setting a season’s best 21.47s.
The form book was followed once again in the women’s 200m, as Ama Pipi (Enfield & Haringey) dominated to top the podium.
Flying through her heat, Pipi automatically qualified for the final and backed up her performance with a win and a first British crown, by stopping the clock in a personal best time of 23.23s.
Behind her, in silver, came Jazmine Moss (Gateshead; Bruce Horsburgh) in 24.17s, while there was bronze for Rebecca Jeggo (Colchester Harriers; Stephen Garnham) in 24.33.
Holly Archer (Cambridge & Coleridge) ensured that she carried over her top performance from yesterday as another impressive showing in the final of the women’s 1500m secured her first British title.
The Cambridge and Coleridge athlete clocked 4:21.99 to take gold ahead of Jenny Selman (Fife) and Jacqueline Fairchild (Preston; Helen Clitheroe), who finished the race in personal and season’s best times of 4.22.57 and 4.22.58 respectively.
Tasked with bringing the curtain down on the championships following two days of action, George Mills (Brighton Phoenix; Jon Bigg) starred to come through the field and take gold in the men’s 1500m in a time of 3:50.69.
“I was a little bit nervous going into today. I’ve not done a championship 1500m before, so I needed to back myself. I’ve had a good indoor season, so I had to be confident,” reflected Mills.
“There was a target on my back, but I prefer going into the race as favourite. There’s been a lot of hard work to get back fit but it’s a brilliant to be back at this level. I missed two years of racing through injury so it’s a great feeling being back and that’s credit to my family and my team.”
British Indoor U20 record holder, Thomas Keen (Cambridge & Coleridge; Mark Vile) was in fine contention throughout, but it was Mills, who crossed the line first, with Keen taking silver in 3:52.40 and Jonothan Kay (Bolton) third in 3:52.56.
Full results from the weekend are available via https://www.uka.org.uk/results/20200222_Glasgow/timetable/index/