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Aviva Trials and UK Championships

Alex Smith

 

29 July 2011

For results from this weekend's Aviva UK Trials and Championships please follow this link

Friday night’s action at the Alexander Stadium warmed the crowd as day one of the Aviva UK Trials and Championships got underway.

Three national titles were decided on the evening, the men’s hammer, the women’s triple jump and the men’s 10,000m. And there was action-a-plenty from the early qualifying rounds.

Report:

James Walsh (Coach: Mike Baxter) took the UK men’s 10,000m title after an atmospheric race to close the evening’s events at the stadium. Run as an open race with a number of overseas athletes, the first runner over the line was Mexican Juan Luis Barrios, but Walsh was the highlight for the stalwart support that remained late into the evening, breaking his personal best with a 28:37.30 time that demonstrated his 10km mark from the Manchester 10km in May (28:42) was a genuine reflection of his endurance talent.

"I'm delighted -  I came to defend my title here this weekend and I was hoping to run a good time and to do both I was really pleased.

"It was quite nice that people stayed to the end of the evening to watch - it gave me a big boost at the start of each lap to come past them on the home straight so it was really a really good experience."

In the men’s hammer, Alex Smith (Shane Peacock) took the opportunity to throw a personal best of 73.26m when taking the UK title – his mark short of the World B standard of 74.00m but a pleasing improvement for the former World Youth Championship bronze medallist.

After he said: “It feels really good to achieve a lifetime best but I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get the B standard of 74m because it was well within my capability. It’s really frustrating that aspect but I will look back later on and will be pleased with a PB at a Championship. I will take it as experience for the next few years.”

In the women’s triple jump final, there was a thrilling duel with youngster Laura Samuel (Glenys Morton) taking victory with the very last jump of the competition. Yasmine Regis (self coached) had been leading with 13.61m, but buoyed on by the spectators, Samuel soared to a season’s best of 13.67m to take the national title.

“I was just trying not to put too much pressure on myself, and just go for it,” she said. “I feel really good although I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t jump a bit further, but you can’t hope for anything else but a gold medal so obviously I’m really happy.

“I don’t really perform under pressure too well so when Yasmine jumped further than me I tried not to think about it too much and put pressure on myself and I delivered. I’ve done well this season but I know I’ve definitely got more in me.”

In the men’s 100m heats there were no major surprises, but it warmed the local Midland crowd to see qualifying led by Birchfield Harrier Mark Lewis Francis (Linford Christie) in winning his heat in 10.30. Also qualifying for tomorrow’s semi finals were Rikki Fifton 10.32, Harry Aikines Aryeetey (Michael Khmel) 10.36, Christian Malcolm (Dan Pfaff) 10.38, and McCain Power of 10 rankings leader Dwain Chambers with 10.46.

Likewise the women’s 100m was led through to tomorrow’s climax by Anyika Onuora (Lloyd Cowan) in 11.46 to win her heat. Also safely through were Laura Turner (Linford Christie) 11.50, Montell Douglas (Ayo Falola) 11.55 and Jeanette Kwakye (Michael Afilaka) in 11.61.

The women’s 400m saw a welcome return to trials action from Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) when winning her heat in 52.08, however 400m hurdles specialist Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) – taking in both the flat and hurdles one lap events this weekend – looks to be the strongest challenger to the Olympic 400m champion, when winning her heat against former World silver medallist Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) in a swift 52.19.

In the men’s 400m hurdles – this weekend missing Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) who is set to run out over the flat 400m – there was disappointing news of European U23 Gold medallist Jack Green who withdrew from the Trials with illness. However Richard Yates (Stephen Ball), Nathan Woodward (Nick Dakin), Rhys Williams (Dan Pfaff) and Richard Davenport (Nick Dakin) were all easy qualifiers for tomorrow, and with both Woodward and Williams possessing World A standards, the final should prove an intriguing battle.

The women’s 800 heats saw World bronze medallist Jenny Meadows progress easily to Saturday’s semi finals along with Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola), Lynsey Sharp (Dave Sunderland) and Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman). Meadows, who has surprisingly never won the UK 800m championships took no chances in her race leading from the gun to tape in 2:07.59, although European U23 bronze medallist Sharp was fastest from all the qualifying with 2:05.83.

There was more drama in the men’s 800m heats with European U23 bronze medallist Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed) falling with less than 150m of his qualifying heat to go and trailing in second to last – Niall Brooks (Norman Poole) the victor in that heat. In other heats, Gareth Warburton (Darrell Maynard), Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) and Andrew Osagie (Craig Winrow) all progressed with ease to Saturday’s semi-final.

The women’s 1500m was the last set of track heats during the evening and Lisa Dobriskey, Stacey Smith, Hannah England as well as steeplechase talent Barbara Parker, and European U23 medallist Stevie Stockton, all qualified for Saturday’s final with no major dramas.