12 February 2011
The women’s 60m, one of the most highly anticipated events of the day, didn’t disappoint as Jodie Williams (coach: Mike McFarlane) raced to victory and her first senior national title at the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships at the EIS in Sheffield (12/13 February).
In a stacked final which starred the UK’s top ranked trio - all of whom had clocked the qualifying standard for next month’s European Indoor Championships in Paris prior to this weekend’s competition - Williams clocked a lifetime best mark of 7.24 to take gold, the fastest time by a British athlete this year, but was pushed all the way by eventual runner-up Bernice Wilson (coach: George Skafidas) who also recorded a PB (7.25).
“I’m feeling brilliant, it was amazing,” said the World junior 100m champion who was also presented with the £1000 award for “Aviva Outstanding Performance” of the day. “I couldn’t ask for more in my first senior race, I’m just so happy with how it turned out, especially with such a strong field today. I definitely think I can do something at the Europeans. I’m really excited.”
The men’s 60m was equalling enthralling with seven from eight athletes recording sub-6.70 marks to progress through from the hotly contested semi finals.
In the end, however, the final was dominated by World and European Indoor champion Dwain Chambers who became increasingly race-sharp through the rounds and won his fourth successive national indoor title in 6.57.
“I’m really, really pleased, it’s a great opportunity to be competing again,” said the European indoor record holder. “I’ve got a few more weeks to go until the Euros so I’m keen just to stay injury free for that and get out there and do really well.”
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (coach: Michael Khmel) took silver with 6.64, one-hundredth of a second inside the European Indoors qualifying standard, with Craig Pickering (also Khmel) in third (6.67).
In the men’s 60mH, European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner (coach: Lloyd Cowan), who had qualified as quickest from the heats with a then-season’s best of 7.62, reduced that mark to 7.61 in winning his third national indoor title.
“I’m disappointed, I expected to run a lot quicker than that today,” he said. “Training is suggesting I should be running a lot quicker but I’m just not executing what I’m supposed to be doing correctly in a race.
“I’ve made a lot of changes, especially to my start, but I’m disappointed, I fully expected to break my personal best today…but it’s always nice to be crowned national indoor champion.”
Defending champion Gianni Frankis (coach: Tony Jarrett) finished second with 7.75, agonisingly just one-hundredth of a second outside the 7.74 qualifying standard for the European Indoor Championships, while Lawrence Clarke (coach: Malcolm Arnold) - who had the UKA required standard for Paris going into the competition - finished third in 7.77.
In the only endurance final of the day, in-form Helen Clitheroe (coach: John Nuttall), World Indoor Championships 1500m finalist 12 months ago, booked her place on to the Aviva GB & NI team for the European Indoor Championships with victory in the 3000m (8:55.26).
In maintaining her 100% record since returning for the UKA/London Marathon altitude training camp in Kenya, Clitheroe led from the gun but was tracked closely by Gemma Turtle who moved into pole position at the bell.
“I felt a real surge from the crowd as Gemma went passed me with 200m to go and it helped me go past her with 150m left,” she said, referencing her final attack on the back straight.
“I’m really pleased with that especially as I kept the training at a reasonable level this week knowing that I’ve got Birmingham next week - that’s a real opportunity to run in a faster paced race. It was a little bit of a risk and I didn’t run as fast as I did in Glasgow, but there wasn’t too much of a difference in terms of time and it was great to have a good race with Gemma. She was clipping my heels all the way round so I was really happy with the way I fought back.”
Turtle finished second with 8:57.24.
The pick of the performances on the in-field came from Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Max Eaves (coach: Alan Richardson) in the men’s pole vault.
Ranked third in the UK going into the competition courtesy of a 5.34m indoor PB at the McCain City Challenge in Sheffield last weekend (6 February), Eaves exceeded his personal best on three further occasions to take victory and his first UK title with 5.61m.
“I’m really pleased, it was such an adrenalin rush - I didn’t really expect that,” he said at the conclusion of a lengthy competition which eventually reached its climax after three hours.
“Coming back from the Commonwealths I had a break, then I put loads of training in and changed what I wanted to do and got ahead of where I wanted to be at this moment in time...all us Brits are doing well, but I’m still chasing Steve Lewis so I need to keep on working.”
It was a high quality competition at the sharp end with three athletes clearing heights above 5.50m, Luke Cutts (coach: Trevor Fox), bronze medallist in this event a year ago taking silver with 5.51m on count back from Commonwealth Games silver medallist Steve Lewis (coach: Dan Pfaff), the defending champion in third.
World and European heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis (coach: Toni Minichiello), in her first event of four over the course of the weekend, took victory in the women’s high jump with a best height of 1.88m.
In front of a sell-out home crowd in Sheffield, Ennis - who was pushed all the way by junior Isobel Pooley (coach: George Male) who exceeded her indoor best on two occasions en route to finishing second with 1.85m - bowed out of the competition after two no-jumps at 1.91m.
“I got a little bit of tightness in my ankle so I stopped at 1.88m,” she explained. “I was alright jumping on it, it wasn’t my take off leg, but I could just feel it towards the end and it was getting a bit tighter so I thought that there was no point pushing on and injuring myself.
“I’ll go and get some physio now and see how it is, and if it loosens off and it’s alright tomorrow, I’ll jump. At this stage I’m happy with the way everything is going; I’ve covered all the events going into the Europeans bar the 800m and I just want to stay injury free.”
She went on to finish seventh in the shot putt (13.86m), an event won by current UK number one and Aviva UK outdoor champion Eden Francis (coach: Glenys Morton) with 15.85m.
Ezekiel Ewulo (coach: John Herbert) won his first ever national title in the men’s long jump with a 7.60m effort in the final round to push JJ Jegede (coach: Peter Stanley), who had led from round one with a best mark of 7.52m, down into second, while World Junior Championships silver medallist Laura Samuel (coach: Glenys Morton) - the UK junior record holder (outdoors) with a mark of 13.75m - exceeded 13m for the first time indoors to take victory in the women’s triple jump (13.24m) with her final round effort.
Of those who progressed safely through the qualifying rounds on day one, the performances of Jenny Meadows (coach: Trevor Painter) and Kelly Sotherton (coach: Aston Moore) - both safely through to the final of the women’s 400m - were among the most notable.
800m specialist Meadows, the World indoor champion, cruised through the rounds and was fastest in the semi finals with 53.50, while former Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Sotherton, in her first competitive outing over 400m since 2008, qualified as second quickest with 54.28.
Day one results are available through the following link.
Tomorrow’s action kicks off at midday with the men’s shot putt.