With under one month to go until the Muller British Athletics Championships and countless athletes showing the type of form that trouble not only personal bests but British records too, the competition ahead of the weekend of 24-25 August is looking increasingly fierce.
Serving as Birmingham’s final time hosting the championships before the Alexander Stadium undergoes re-development ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, during which Manchester’s Sportcity will take ownership of hosting the championships from 2020 – 2022.
Back to 2018: Dina and Dobbin smash championship records among ultimate middle-distance scraps
2018’s championships served to bring a mixture of supreme performances alongside many a breakthrough performance as athletes vied for British medals and a spot on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team ahead of the European Championships in Berlin.
Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie, club: Blackheath & Bromley) dominated the field in the women’s 100m, breaking eleven seconds and posting a new Championship Record with 10.97 for gold ahead of her historic triple gold in Berlin.
Breaking through domestically, and fresh from smashing the Scottish 200m record, Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC) would also break the Championship record in the women’s 200m, narrowly beating Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan, Enfield & Haringey) to take the British title.
The men’s long jump saw more than half the field hit their best in round three. Three of those athletes were Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson, Liverpool Harriers), Dan Bramble (Jonas Dodoo, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Feron Sayers (Aston Moore, Birchfield Harriers) who all jumped 8.00m, 7.99m and 7.98m respectively – one after the other. Bramble got close to his best twice – once in the first and the fourth round – but couldn’t find those couple of centimetres to usurp multi-event specialist Duckworth
The men’s 1500m had to go down to a photo finish, with the top three separated by 0.15 seconds. Come the photo-finish it was confirmed that it was three Scots on the podium, Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon, Edinburgh AC) won the British title in a fast, final lap with clubmate Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC)taking silver ahead of Neil Gourley (Mark Rowland, Giffnock North) by a thousandth of a second. Wightman would go on to win European bronze in Berlin to add to the Commonwealth bronze he won earlier in the year.
Back-straight action saw Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy, Middlesborough) win his first senior national title in the men’s pole vault – a potential successor to some of the country’s best of all time, while back on the home-straight runway, the charismatic Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen, Trafford) fed off the crowd’s support before sailing out to a lifetime best of 13.95m to scoop British gold.
In the absence of Andy Butchart (Central) through injury, Marc Scott (Richmond & Zetland) seized his opportunity to stamp his authority on the 5000m, with his return to the UK following graduation in the US seeing him take the title over 12.5 laps, an event that he would then go on to finish fifth in at the European Championships.
Championship-performer Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth) entered the weekend as favourite for gold over 1500m and didn’t disappoint, with the scrap for medals and team spots behind her arguably the talking point of the event. Timing her run to perfection, it was Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) who claimed the final 1500m berth for Berlin to make her first senior British team.
2019: what’s on the line, who is there, and which events will be most competitive?
Excluding the 10,000m, marathon, 20km and 50km race walks and combined events, IAAF World Championship selection is up for grabs in every event at this year’s Muller British Athletics Championships, with the top two athletes in each event making the team providing they have the qualifying standard.
Looking ahead for this year’s championships…
There is plenty to look forward to in 2019, especially in middle-distance action.
The men’s 800m leads the way on this front, with eight athletes currently holding the standard. Leading the way and topping the British rankings following a lifetime best of 1:44.52 at the Muller Anniversary Games is Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb, Liverpool Harriers). Alongside Webb, 2016 Olympian Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg, Birchfield)and Commonwealth silver medallist Kyle Langford (Bigg, Shaftesbury Barnet) are two of those who also have the time ahead of what will be an intriguing event
Seven have also gone inside 15:22.00 for the women’s 5000m, with Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill) the pick of the bunch following her 14:47.94 personal best to go third on the British all-time list.
The men’s high jump currently doesn’t have any qualifiers, but two very close to that standard. Chris Baker (Graham Ravenscroft, Sale Harriers Manchester) and Tom Gale (Denis Doyle, Team Bath) will both be looking for 2.30m ahead of the World Championships
The women’s long jump, like the men’s high jump, has no qualifiers as of yet – but as always, the field will be strong. Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley)jumped a new Championship Record last year and ended the year ranked world number one courtesy of her 7.05m best. It’s likely to be a scrap all the way this year however, with the likes of Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers), Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Braumna, City of Stoke) and Abigal Irozuru (Sale Harriers Manchester) all in the mix.
The women’s sprints see twelve with the qualifying standard over 100m, 200m and 400m. The pick of the bunch looks to be the 200m, with five qualifiers and Dina Asher-Smith’s 22.18 leading the way.
Finally, in the men’s 100m, four have the standard, but many more could be involved. The biggest name still seeking the time is CJ Ujah (Jonas Dodoo, Enfield & Haringey) who will come up against an in-form Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Adam Gemili (Rana Reider, Blackheath & Bromley) among others.
The best athletes in the country will fight it out across the weekend of August 24-25.
Tickets are available via https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-british-athletics-championships-2019/