It was records galore on day two of the Müller British Athletics Championships with championship records for Adam Gemili (Rana Reider, Blackheath & Bromley) in the men’s 200m and Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn Harriers) in the women’s pole vault to go along with Callum Wilkinson’s (Andi Drake, Enfield & Haringey) British record in the men’s 5000m walk at the start of the programme.
On a day in which many other British Athletics stars such as Morgan Lake (Fuzz Caan, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), Matt Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman, Birchfield Harriers) and Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix) confirmed their places in the squad for the IAAF World Championships next month in Doha, Gemili’s performance was particularly noteworthy and a fitting way to give the Alexander Stadium its big send-off before it undergoes major redevelopments in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Despite a testing headwind in the home straight, Adam Gemili stormed across the line in a championship record 20.08.
Gemili said soon after his race: “I feel exhausted now but leaving I’m really happy. I knew coming in I didn’t have the qualifying time and I knew the field was unreal and I knew there were four of us in there that are sub-10 seconds for the 100m and Zharnel is sub-20 seconds for the 200m in his career and anyone could have taken it.
“I needed to execute properly and I’m so thrilled to have done that and I’m so happy to have got the automatic qualification mark in the 200m and I’ve taken it out of the selectors hands in the 100m and the 200m which I’m happy with and to come here and put together four good runs I’m really pleased.”
Silver medallist, Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet), ran a season’s best 20.25 to confirm his place in the team for Doha over 200m.
Hughes’ training partner and British leader this year, Miguel Francis (Glen Mills, Wolverhampton & Bilston), ran 20.34 to place in third overall.
European bronze medallist and British record holder, Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn) cleared a championship record of 4.73m in the women’s pole vault to win a record seventh British outdoor title.
Bradshaw seemed very positive regarding her performance, which she achieved despite her lack of competitive experience since the Müller Anniversary Games:
“It’s my first competition on full approach since the London Diamond League and it’s great to come here and jump a season’s best. I feel really good and really confident and I still have two more competitions to keep edging to that 4.80m mark and I’m really pleased with another British title.
“To secure my spot for Doha and come out healthy, I can’t be in a better place. An event like this is great to come to. There’s so much to learn from this competition and things to put right. It is good that things happened here rather than in Doha, so I have time to correct them.”
Sophie Cook (Scott Simpson, Birchfield Harriers) also enjoyed a strong competition, vaulting a personal best of 4.36 for silver, while the US-based Lucy Bryan (Alan Richardson, Bristol & West) cleared 4.25m for bronze.
European Under-23 bronze medallist, Callum Wilkinson (Andi Drake, Enfield & Haringey), was cheered down the home straight as he broke Tom Bosworth’s British record in the event, stopping the clock at an incredible 18:41.23.
Wilkinson was understandably buzzing with enthusiasm after the race: “I knew if I kept on that pace with the crowd behind me I could push on. When you’re gunning down that last lap and you know it’s time to do it.
“I went in targeting this and hoped for the best. Until you’re out on the track and walking the times you’re supposed to, it’s never a given.”
“I got compliment off one of the judges there who said it’s the best they’ve ever seen me walk – when someone says that, you know things are in the right place.”
Wilkinson’s achievement is made even more impressive by the fact that he finished a whopping two minutes ahead of the silver medallist Cameron Corbishley (Medway), whose time of 20:41.23 was a season’s best. Despite being shown a yellow card and having to spend some time in the penalty zone, Tom Partington (Steve Partington, Manx) was still able to get the bronze medal in 22:07.03.
Meanwhile in the women’s race, Bethan Davies (Andi Drake, Cardiff) showed that she is coming into form at a crucial point in the season, as she won gold in a season’s best 21:56.45. Next weekend she will be heading to Switzerland in order to try and achieve the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Doha.
Erika Kelly (Steve Partington, Northern) was second with a season’s best 24:39.08 and Madeline Shott (Belgrave) was third in 25:33.67.
Making use of the tailwind while competing down the home straight in reverse, the men’s triple jump competition was jampacked with PBs and season’s bests, with the most notable being Ben Williams’ (Aston Moore, Sale Harriers Manchester) first round jump of 17.27m.
Williams did well to engage the crowd, often using his hands to encourage them to cheer him on – a tactic that evidently worked. After his impressive showing at the European Team Championships recently, this performance further confirmed he is hitting the best form of his career.
He commented afterwards: “I knew I was in shape off the back of the European Team Championships despite suffering a bruised heel and I recovered well and it’s really good to get a PB.
“Nothing surprises me too much and I feel like there’s much more in the tank. I have to go to Doha and do what I know I can do.”
2006 European silver medallist, Nathan Douglas (Aston Moore, Oxford City) jumped a timely season’s best of 16.88m – just 7cm short of the Doha qualifying standard and Nathan Fox (Tosin Oke, Shaftesbury Barnet) came away with a season’s best himself of 16.47m.
Williams was not the only one to benefit from good conditions, as Commonwealth Games silver medallist Morgan Lake wowed the stadium by rising to a 1.94m season’s best to beat heptathlon star Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin, Liverpool Harriers), who jumped 1.90m for silver.
In bronze medal position was Nikki Manson (Giffnock North), who impressed once more with 1.84m after a season’s best to win the Scottish title last week.
Lake was clearly relieved to see her season coming together, saying: “I’m really happy with the win today and it’s what I came out for. It’s good to secure my place in Doha. I had a bit of a rough season – I feel as if I’m finally getting to where I need to be.”
Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border) produced the best throw in the hammer at the British Championships in 34 years, recording a best of 76.31m to win the title. Taylor Campbell (John Pearson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) threw a PB of 74.63 to continue his great season for the silver, while Osian Jones (Carys Parry; Liverpool) claimed a Welsh record with a best of 73.89m.
The wind was a more unwelcome feature to the men’s 110m hurdles final, with the winner David King (James Hillier; City of Plymouth) and silver medallist Cameron Fillery (Michael Baker; Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) having to be separated by thousandths of a second after both clocking 13.78 into a strong headwind.
In the same race, Jake Porter (Andy Paul; Birchfield) delighted his home crowd with a season’s best 13.90 for the bronze medal.
Feeling the brunt of the wind also were the women’s 200m finalists, who had to cope with a 4.3 m/s headwind as they entered the home straight.
Coinciding with an impressive return to form this season, 2014 European and Commonwealth silver medallist Jodie Williams took gold in 23.06 in spite of stiff competition from Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC), who ran 23.13 for silver, and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka, City of Stoke) who ran 23.18 to get bronze.
Another athlete who is experiencing an excellent return to form during 2019 is Abigail Irozuru (Sale Harriers Manchester), and she proved today that she has not only returned to her best but even surpassed her previous best as she jumped 6.86m to win the women’s long jump title.
Season’s bests for Shara Proctor (6.84m – Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers), Jazmin Sawyers (6.71m – Lance Brauman, City of Stoke) and Lorraine Ugen (6.68m – Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley) in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively signalled timely returns to form for them also. Proctor’s leap confirms her place on the team for Doha.
There was a frantic finish to the men’s 800m, and a rather surprising victory for Spencer Thomas (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix). After scrutiny from the photo finish team, Thomas was confirmed as the British champion ahead of Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray, Lasswade), with both athletes recording a time of 1:46.79.
The bronze medallist Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb, Liverpool Harriers), however, remains the only one of the trio who currently holds the qualifying standard, with Thomas and Learmonth chasing that time in the coming week.
The sheer depth of British middle-distance running talent was also loud and clear in the men’s 1500m final – Neil Gourley (Mark Rowland, Giffnock North) won in 3:48.36, but he was only inches ahead of Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey, Edinburgh AC) in 3:48.51, Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC) in 3:48.69 and Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix) in 3:48.83. With it, Gourley and Kerr booked their places on the British team for next month’s World Championships.
Another classic battle followed in the women’s 800m final – Shelayna Oskan-Clarke’s (Jon Bigg, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) 2:02.67 bettering Lynsey Sharp’s (David Harmer, Edinburgh AC) 2:02.79 and Alex Bell’s (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey & Bramley) 2:02.87 with the first two booking their places on the squad.
Sharp appeared to be overtaking Oskan-Clarke in the home straight, but Oskan-Clarke found something extra to regain her lead and win the British title.
The women’s 1500m also went right down to the wire with Sarah McDonald (David Harmer, Birchfield Harriers) and Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) both grimacing as they battled the pain barrier to the line. McDonald was the eventual winner in 4:22.94 ahead of Reekie’s 4:23.41, but both athletes will take to the start line in Doha after meeting the selection criteria.
Dani Chattenton (Kyle Bennett, MK Distance Project) finished strongly in the home straight to win her first ever British Championship medal in 4:26.03.
However, in stark contrast to that race, Eilish McColgan’s (Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill) win in the women’s 5000m by a considerable margin in excess of 14 seconds, charging home in 15:21.38, was likely the most dominant performance of the day. McColgan moved ahead in the opening few laps of the race and never looked back, showing her quality over the distance following her European silver medal last year.
Jess Judd (Mick Judd, Blackburn) finished ahead of Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth) in a fine tussle for the second position – Judd’s time of 15:35.82 guaranteed her a berth at the World Championships.
Another dominant display of distance running came from Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon; Bracknell) who will be hoping for a strong showing at the World Championships in Doha after finishing fifth in Europe last year, and him easing to the 3km steeplechase title in 8:36.30 underlines his ability to do just that.
Phil Norman (Tomaz Plibersek, Woodford Green) finished in second place in 8:40.61, but he will have to shave 0.37 seconds off his personal best in order to guarantee a place in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for Doha. Ieuan Thomas (James Thie, Cardiff) got the bronze medal in 8:44.09.
Matt Hudson-Smith won the men’s 400m with similar ease after storming clear in the opening 200m, before eventually clocking a season’s best time of 45.15 that ensures he will be representing GB & NI in Doha.
In second place, Cameron Chalmers (James Hillier, Guernsey) also ran a season’s best, albeit not one within the qualifying standard, so he has until 2 September to take 0.54 seconds off that time.
There was a closely fought battle for the bronze medal, with five athletes within two tenths of a second of each other, but Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams, Newham & Essex Beagles) came out on top in 46.32.
In the women’s equivalent Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker, Enfield & Haringey) built on her strong start to take home gold in 52.04 ahead of Emily Diamond (Benke Blomkvist, Bristol & West) in 52.39.
Both Nielsen and Diamond will be competing at the World Championships as a result, but much like Cameron Chalmers, the bronze medallist Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna, Thames Valley), who ran 52.52.
Meanwhile, Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, City of York) could be forgiven for experiencing a degree of déjà vu in the men’s shot put – he won a tenth British title with a 19.56m fifth round throw.
Several-time British universities champion, Youcef Zatat (Scott Rider, Woodford Green) got the silver medal with an 18.12m throw, and Samuel Heawood (Crawley) produced a clutch final round personal best of 17.01m to clinch bronze.
In a very competitive men’s discus, Nick Percy (Vesteinn Hafsteinsson, Shaftesbury Barnet) won his third British title – an upgrade on his bronze medal from last year. His third-round throw of 60.57m was the one that secured him the title.
British record holder Lawrence Okoye (Croydon Harriers) took the silver medal with a 58.84m throw in only his second competition back from a seven-year absence from the sport. Meanwhile, George Armstrong (Zane Duquemin, Newham & Essex Beagles) claimed the bronze medal with a best effort of 57.67m; adding that to his England Under-23 title from earlier on in the season.
A fast finishing Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) won the men’s 400m hurdles in 49.57, while former World, European and Commonwealth champion, Dai Greene (Benke Blomkvist, Swansea) rolled back the years for second place in a time of 49.67 which was also a season’s best.
Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong, Thames Valley), who is the only men’s 400m hurdler with the Doha qualifying standard, had to settle for the bronze medal in 49.80.
In the women’s final, Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker, Birchfield Harriers) and Jess Turner (Nick Dakin, Amber Valley & Erewash) safely booked their seats on the plane to Doha by virtue of finishing first and second respectively and already having the qualifying standard. Beesley’s winning time was 55.81 and Turner ran 56.06, while Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) crossed the line in a personal best of 56.31.
It was tight at the top of the women’s javelin standings, as Laura Whittingham’s (Tom Dobbing, Sale Harriers Manchester) 52.29m beat Emma Hamplett (Michael McNeill, Birchfield Harriers) by only 1.38m for gold and Bethan Rees (Cannock & Stafford) threw 49.19m for bronze. Paralympic champion Hollie Arnold achieved a season’s best of 41.99m as she competed as a guest.
Following the conclusion of the weekend, athletes without the relevant world qualifying mark in all events bar the 50km race walk and marathon now have six days to achieve this ahead of the deadline of midnight BST on Sunday 1 September. The Great Britain & Northern Ireland team will then be selected on Monday 2 September before being publicly announced on Tuesday 3 September.
The full selection policy for the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 is available to view here.