A world-leading performance and four championship records were the highlights on a thrilling second day of Muller British Athletics Championships action, where the action on both the track and in-field was as hot as the heatwave temperature in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium
With national titles and British team places for both the Athletics World Cup and European Championships up for grabs, the pressure was on but several athletes more than delivered.
In arguably the contest of the entire championships, world indoor bronze medallist Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley Harriers) produced a magnificent display in the long jump to lead a huge 7.05m championship record and world-leading mark en route to retaining her British title.
The 26-year-old world fifth placer unleashed her mammoth effort and lifetime best in the second round of an exhilarating competition which saw three women exceed 6.70m
Having finished fifth in the previous day’s 100m final in an impressive 11.32 personal best, Ugen also leapt 6.60m in the first round before fouling twice and passing on her final two attempts, but her 13cm career improvement left her elated with her afternoon’s work:
“It feels good to be British champion, get a Championship record and see so many people competing in the long jump. I think this is the biggest long jump field I have seen at this event and it was just nice to see everyone jumping well and getting season and personal bests,” she said.
“I definitely felt like I was in shape. I have been working on building more speed for the runway and I knew the more speed I can get the better I can jump. When I ran a PB yesterday, I knew it gave me an opportunity to PB in the long jump as well.”
The winner in 2016, Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke) also flew to a brilliant personal best, this time beating her best mark by 11 centimetres to record 6.86m in the final round.
Sawyers enjoyed a consistently-strong series with 6.72m in the third round, 6.69m in the second and a produced a windy 6.78m on her fifth attempt, whilst Commonwealth bronze medallist, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers) also boasted a fine series culminating with a windy 6.81m to claim the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, speeding to her fourth Scottish record of the summer, Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC) stole the show in the 200m, with a blistering 22.59 championship record.
The 24-year-old has vastly improved on her 2017 sixth place finish and pipped Commonwealth sixth placer, Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan, Enfield and Haringey) to the gold medal and British title in a thrilling finish by a whisker, with Williams – the 2017 fourth placer – clocking a 22.60 season’s best.
An ecstatic Dobbin exclaimed afterwards:
“It’s crazy. I’m just looking at far I have come. Last year my aim was to make the final and the last few years I have just been happy to make the final. This year I knew if I ran a good race I could come away a British champion. It’s a dream come true. I’ve worked so hard for this. It’s crazy.
“I think my personality is just to be not so sure of myself. When I am running, I’m like how am I running that. I am just Beth Dobbin, I’m just a receptionist. Literally, I don’t know how. It’s crazy. It’s a dream come true.”
Further behind, Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillian, Herts Pheonix) replicated her position from twelve months ago in 22.78, with 2017 winner, Shannon Hylton (Ryan Freckleton, Blackheath and Bromley) sharing the same time in fourth.
Scorching to a swift 20.24 championship record, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Newham and Essex Beagles, Dennis Shaver) captured the 200m national crown ahead of Olympic fourth placer, Adam Gemili (Rana Reider, Blackheath and Bromley), who clocked 20.26 just behind in a nail-biting finish.
The 2016 victor was followed home by Commonwealth bronze medallist, Leon Reid (James Hillier, Birchfield Harriers), who ran 20.31 to snatch bronze, just hours after registering a 20.27 lifetime best in the heat.
“This is the hardest test I’ve had in athletics. It’s been such an up-and-down season. I saw some little children earlier and they said good luck to me but I told them I have to pull it out of the bag.
“I had no idea how I’d perform. I’ve been drawing inspiration from every facet of the Earth. I’ve had four races in two days which is crazy.
“Before I had times where I would have called it a season because nothing was clicking so this is extra motivation. I want to keep representing Great Britain as much as I can.”
Olympic bronze medallist, Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson, Blackburn Harriers) captured her sixth straight hammer throw national crown with a superb 72.02m championship record in the sixth and final round.
Having also thrown 71.28m in the fourth round, she took the win by almost ten meters and said afterwards:
“It’s all about coming and trying to regain the title and qualify for the Europeans was obviously the main goal. I have still got a lot of things to work on. Still some hiccups in there, but we will get there.
“Sometimes when you change things it takes a while and do it every single time, which is where I am at the moment. Once I get some consistency I think it will be really good, but, like I have said before, it might not happen this year, it’s more about long-term really.”
World indoor 60m hurdles champion, Andrew Pozzi (Benke Blomkvist, Stratford AC) made light work of the 110m hurdles field by storming away to an emphatic 13.61 victory, to add to his 2017 national crown.
The 26-year-old European indoor 60m hurdles champion was followed home by 2017 winner, David King (James Hillier, City of Plymouth) with 13.81 and last year’s runner-up, Khai Riley-La Borde (Ray Gibbins, Enfield and Haringey), who recorded 13.96.
“It was an interesting race with strong winds so I didn’t know what to do. When we were on the line it seemed to be coming from behind but it was really good fun to be out in Birmingham today.
“I’m not in bad shape but I’ve had a few bad races for a few races but I’ll be ready for Berlin. There’s a lot of quality in lots of events so winning the trials and cementing your place is incredibly important.
“I’m feeling really good but given the wind you can’t read too much into the time.”
Double world indoor medallist, Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Harriers) went down in distance to work on her speed in the 800m, and stormed clear on the second lap to clinch an impressive 2:01.22 victory.
The 25-year-old was followed home by world indoor bronze medallist, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg, Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) in 2:01.94 as Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow, Guilford and Godalming) took the bronze medal in 2:02.00.
A delighted Muir said afterwards:
“I’m really happy because the strength in depth we have in the women’s 800m is so strong. I knew I had to attack the race and hold off until the end and I did that.
“I was feeling it in the last 50 metres but I wanted to get home in first place and I did that. I did well indoors but Berlin will be my first chance to win a senior outdoor medal.”
After a lengthy competition lay-off with injury, four-time champion, Dai Greene (Benke Blomkvist, Swansea Harriers) enjoyed a popular 400m hurdles victory, storming to a 50.06 dominant win – his first in these championships in five years.
The 32-year-old 2012 Olympic fourth-placer claimed the national crown in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 but only competed on three occasions across the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Evidently delighted to be back on top on the national podium, Greene exclaimed:
“I came here with the idea of winning. I made some errors at the end but I managed to hold off. I thought I’d be good in the first 300m and I’ve technically been poor in the final 100m but luckily so was everyone else.
“The aim was to get to Europeans. I haven’t raced much and I still feel a bit rusty. I don’t know I have the ability to get onto the podium. It’s about grinding out the next five weeks and being British Champion today is even sweeter.
“I would have liked a faster time but it was about winning today. I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks bring.”
Behind, Commonwealth fourth-placer and the 2017 winner, Jack Green (June Plews, Kent AC) clocked 50.13, while Sebastian Rodger (Stephen King, Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers) replicated his 2017 bronze medal position with 50.18.
2017 winner, Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon, Edinburgh) stormed clear of the 1500m field to claim victory once more in 3:46.72 to Commonwealth bronze medallist, Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh)’s 3:46.86.
European under23 championship fourth placer, Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas, Giffnock AC) clinched his first senior medal with 3:46.87 for bronze, as Commonwealth fourth placer, Charles Da’Vall Grice finished fourth just behind in 3:46.99.
In a tactical race, 2017 champion Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg, Birchfield Harriers) stormed away from the field to clinch the British 800m crown from European U23 silver medallist, Daniel Rowden (Richard Thurtson, Woodford Green) in 1:50.28 to 1:50.43.
Last year’s runner-up, Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray, Lasswade) clocked 1:50.43 to pip 2012 victor, Andrew Osagie (Mark Rowland, Harlow) – 1:50.44.
Elsewhere, Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake Tonbridge AC) added a third British 5,000m walk title to his collection with an emphatic 19.01.20 victory in the tough conditions.
The 28-year-old Commonwealth 20km silver medallist and Olympic sixth placer was followed home by training partner and the world junior 10,000m walk champion, Callum Wilkinson (Andi Drake, Enfield and Haringey) in 19:17.41.
Steph Twell (Geoff Wightman, Aldershot, Farnham and District) collected a fifth title in these championships with a slow start and fast-finishing 5,000m, with a 16:07.24 win.
Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist, Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark, Poole AC) took the silver medal with 16:07.59, followed by 2017 runner-up, Eilish McColgan (Liz Nutall, Dundee Hawkhill) who registered 16:08.06.
Olympic finalist and world semi-finalist, Matthew Hudson-Smith (Lance Braumann, Birchfield Harriers) claimed his third straight victory in these championships with a 44.68 season’s best from Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams, Newham and Essex Beagles), who ran a 45.39 season’s best for silver, with Cameron Chalmers (James Hillier, Team Bath).
Last year’s bronze medallist, Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider, Liverpool Harriers) clinched a narrow 400m victory with 51.95 to Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker, Enfield and Haringey)’s 51.99 clocking in a thrilling finish.
2017 fifth placer, Amy Allcock (Glyn Hawkes, Aldershot, Farnham and District) enjoyed a big personal best with 52.10 in third, whilst Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna, Thames Valley Harriers) finished close behind with 52.13.
Commonwealth 5,000m bronze medallist, Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth) showed an excellent turn of pace to capture the 1500m title in a tactical 4:08.80 from European junior champion, Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan), who registered a strong 4:09.10 personal best to take the silver medal.
The bronze went to 2017 third placer and Commonwealth eighth placer, Sarah McDonald (David Harme, Birchfield Harriers) with 4:09.28.
British indoor heptathlon record holder, Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson, Liverpool) took a break from the mutli-events to concentrate on the long jump and with great success.
With a 8.03m lifetime best set back in April, he flew to 8.00m in the third round before passing on his final three jumps.
2017 winner, Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh, Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers) jumped 7.99m in the third round to take the silver medal, whilst Feron Sayers (Aston Moore, Birchfield Harriers) enjoyed a windy 7.98m.
Second last year but the winner in 2018, Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker, Birchfield Harriers) enjoyed an emphatic 400m hurdles win with 55.73.
Taking the silver medal, former 400m flat runner, Kirsten Mcaslan (Michael Baker, Sale Harriers) recorded a 56.48 personal best, while 2017 bronze medallist Jessica Turner (Nick Dakin, Amber Valley) finished third again, this time in 57.10.
Commonwealth ninth placer, Chris Baker (Graham Ravenscroft, Sale Harriers) made amends for claiming silver in the past two editions of the championships by grabbing high jump victory with a 2.26m season’s best from David Smith (Giffnock AC), who leapt a 2.26m personal best for silver.
Rosie Clarke (David Harmer, Epsom and Ewell) added the 3,000m steeplechase crown to her 2016 title with a dominant 9:45.83 run from 2017 winner and Commonwealth eighth placer, Iona Lake (Pauline Ash, Norwich AC) who recorded 10:08.61 for silver.
Equalling his 5.55m personal best, Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy, Mandale) improved on his 2017 fifth place finish to clinch the pole vault title.
The national indoor silver medallist attempted 5.60m on three occasions to no avail, but his performance was still enough to win the event by 10 centimetres from Commonwealth fourth placer, Adam Hague (Trevor Fox, Sheffield) – the British indoor champion jumping a 5.45m best.
Bethan Davies (Andi Drake, Cardiff AC) claimed the women’s 5,000m walk, by striding to a near four-minute victory with a 22:04.98 clocking. The Commonwealth 20km bronze medallist took her third consecutive title in this event.
With a fourth round 56.81m throw, Jade Lally (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers) captured her fourth consecutive title and seventh overall in these championships, as the Commonwealth seventh placer won by over two meters.
Laura Whittingham (Michael McNeill, Sale Harriers) easily retained her javelin crown with a 55.55m season’s best – comfortably taking the title by over six meters.
Amelia Strickler (Steve Manz, Thames Valley Harriers) took the shot put title with a 17.22m throw, beating Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch, Great Yarmouth), who recorded 17.10m for the silver medal.
Results from day two can be found via: http://www.uka.org.uk/results/20180701_birmingham/timetable/index/index.html