27 July 2011
This weekend will see Britain’s best athletes compete for their chance at World Championships glory in Daegu next month. Here are the head-to-head contests to look out for as the Aviva UK Trials and Championships get under way at the newly renovated Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 29-31 July.
European indoor silver medallist Tiffany Ofili-Porter and World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis have raced each other three times previously on the track, and it is Ennis who is currently on top with two victories over Ofili-Porter. But it is the American-born hurdler who currently holds the British record, having beaten her own national mark in Monaco last weekend with a run of 12.60secs. Ennis however has an impressive personal best of 12.81secs and the pair are sure to come close in Birmingham. Lodown
Nathan Woodward and Jack Green are Europe’s top two 400m hurdlers for their age. Confidence is running high for the two men, with Green securing gold ahead of Woodward at the European Under 23 Championships this month and both having recently recorded new personal bests. With both athletes having secured the ‘A’ standard for Daegu, it will be a hard-fought battle for line honours this weekend.
The men’s 400m is brimming with talent, with the likes of seasoned international campaigners Michael Bingham, Conrad Williams, Richard Buck, Martyn Rooney and Rob Tobin all in the line-up along with European Under 23 champion Nigel Levine and bronze medallist Luke Lennon-Ford. Bingham, who won European silver last year, currently tops the British rankings, but with less than half a second separating the top seven in the country, a thrilling race is on the cards – especially as no one has yet achieved the standard required for next month’s World Championships.
Top ranked Briton of the 2011 season Hannah England will be tested by World silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey and young gun Stacey Smith, who recorded a new personal best time of 4:06.81 at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix this month.
Local man Tom Parsons will be hoping to go one better than his silver medal at the UK Championships last year. The Birchfield Harrier tops the British rankings this season with a best of 2.28m – 1cm higher than his rival Samson Oni. The pair have only met once this year, and it was Oni who came out on top.
Britain’s young discus man of the moment Lawrence Okoye had a glittering future in rugby union mapped out for him, but chose athletics instead. In a golden summer so far, the 19-year-old broke the British record with a throw of 67.63m three weeks ago, and followed that up with gold at the European Under 23 Championships in Ostrava. Abdul Buhari also recently threw a new personal best, reaching 65.44m to move to third on the UK all-time list. Carl Myerscough and Brett Morse are not far behind, and not to be dismissed.
Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of UKA said of the upcoming event: “This is a fantastic chance for the British public to watch the athletes participating in the Olympics ahead of the Games themselves. The meet always has a brilliant atmosphere and with the newly renovated Birmingham Alexander Stadium, we’re expecting it to be even better this year.
“The Aviva UK Trials and Championships are an incredibly important event for all athletes involved and it will be a fantastic experience to be able to come and watch these athletes try to book their place on the team for the upcoming World Championships.”
For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056. The event will be shown live on BBC2/BBC HD.