31 July 2011
For results from this weekend's Aviva UK Trials and Championships please follow this link
At the Aviva UK Trials and Championships, Perri Shakes Drayton served up a double title win, James Shane ran a stunning 1500m, whilst Jenny meadows finally secured that elusive UK title.
Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) completed a memorable double at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships when she took the 400m hurdles gold, matching the medal she won over the flat just 24 hours earlier.
Shakes Drayton, who was neck and neck with Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) through to the eighth hurdle pulled away with relative ease down the home straight, crossing the line in 55.52, to secure an impressive tally over the three day championships.
“I’ve just made history. No one’s done that before and now I can say I’ve done it. Me and my coach have put a lot of work and time and he believed in me, that’s why he put me in for both the 400 and the 400 hurdles. He thought I was capable of doing it,” she revealed.
“I graduated from university as well on Friday. So that chapter’s done, now I can concentrate on athletics. A medal in Daegu would be lovely but the world champs ain’t easy. Hopefully, I’ll get in the mix, make the final and then you never know what can happen.”
Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichiello) only had two events to concern her on day three of the Aviva UK Trials but both gave promising signs of the potential for retaining her World Heptathlon title in Daegu.
Her first event – the long jump – saw her jump a season’s best of 6.44m for third place, whilst Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) took her first UK championship title with 6.65m.
Proctor, who enjoyed strong crowd support throughout her series, was pleased to have come away from her first UK Championships with the national title:
“I am very excited. I love the crowd, the crowd pumped me up – I finally got the clap going and that just helped me get that 6.65m. I’m not the happiest camper but I’m pleased I got the gold for the first time at the trials.”
Ennis, then went and joined the javelin field for her fifth and final event for the weekend where she threw 42.93m to finish tenth behind winner Goldie Sayers (60.57m).
Ennis said of her weekend’s work:
“I’m really pleased. I’ve been working on some things like in the long jump and I feel that it’s improving so I’m glad to have had that jump.
“Hopefully I can put a little bit more on it come Daegu. It’s been a really good weekend.
Sayers – winning her ninth consecutive title said:
“It’s nice, although it does make me feel a bit old,” she confessed. “In Daegu I just want to go there and put in a medal standard performance.
“Whether that does actually result in a medal is out of my control, but I’ll always go and compete to the best of my ability.”
Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) enjoyed a happy homecoming in front of the Birmingham crowd with an ultra dominant last lap to cross the line ahead of Andy Vernon (Nick Anderson) in the men’s 5000m.
Farah, whose last performance was in Monaco where he tore apart a world class field, had a slightly easier experience although Vernon did well to push on the pace over the closing laps in an attempt to stretch out the field.
“It’s really nice to come out here and perform in front of a home crowd. I thought if I’m going to be at home in the country then why not come out and compete here,” he said.
“ Jess [Ennis] is here Dai [Greene] is here so it wouldn’t be fair to not turn up for the fans, even though I could have done without the race, but it’s nice to come back early and see the crowd and compete here.”
Another endurance athlete to receive a joyful reception from the crowd at the weekend was James Shane (Martin Brown) in taking a superb 1500 victory, just missing out on the Daegu A standard of 3:35, but registering an impressive 3:36 and improving his PB by almost three seconds. It was also judged as the Aviva Performance of the day resulting in a £1000 prize for his effort.
Andy Baddeley (Andy Hobdell) finished second in 3:39.44 but the day belonged to Shane who has seen his running go from strength to strength this season and was keen to keep his mind on the long term aims despite some favourable comparisons being made by the press straight after.
“Throughout my whole career I’ve always said that I want to be quicker than the likes of Steve Cram when he was 24 because that’s when it counts; that’s when it really matters. Hopefully I’ll continue to improve and hopefully in the future people can be compared to me,” he said after.
“I still don’t know where I stand in relation to the World Championships. If I’m selected I’ll be really pleased and it will top a fantastic year. The Olympics is my absolute aim. It would be a dream to run in the Olympics in front of my home crowd so fingers crossed.”
In the men’s 800m Andrew Osagie was fortunate to realise his dream of the 800m UK title ahead of Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) in winning with 1:46.84.
Osagie, who had looked strong all weekend was delighted with his win and will look to the Aviva London Grand Prix in an effort to secure the A standard for the World Championships.
“It’s been a long time coming since I’ve even run in a Championships and to win it is just amazing,” he said.
“I ran an outdoor personal best a few weeks ago with a 1m45s and I secured it there with a 1m46. I need to try and go to Crystal Palace and run a little bit quicker and hopefully get into the World’s team for Daegu.”
Following soon after, Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) matched Osagie’s feat when she too secured her first ever outdoor UK 800m title with a comprehensive victory although youngster Emma Jackson kept up a strong pursuit in the home straight to finish second ahead of Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola).
It was a relief for Meadows who endured a painfully slow first lap before starting the long run for home, and she crossed the line in 2:02.28.
“It’s very satisfying. It’s amazing to win medals at major championships. I’m really proud to be British, to become British champion,” she said.
“I’ve been competing in this sport since I was seven and now I’m 30 – I’ve won every age group national title and never won the senior outdoor championship so it’s really important for me to win this. It’s a bit of pride - I am the British number one and it’s so nice to get the actual title.”
Also enjoying her weekend’s work in what has become an impressive comeback season, Anyika Onuora (Lloyd Cowan) won the 200m gold in 23.26 to add to the silver medal she won in Saturday’s 400m final.
Onuora, in her fifth race of the weekend, looked remarkably strong in closing off the win, and second placed Abi Oyepitan in 23.57 could not match her rival’s strength over the closing metres.
“ 90% of my two hundred metre races have been into a minus wind so unfortunately I’ve not even had a plus wind but there is still time!” she said
“I think I’m in pretty good condition 23.2s – that was my slowest run and that was off the back of six races. So give me one race. I’m in good shape and consistent so it’s paying off. “
Minutes later Christian Malcolm (Dan Pfaff) took the men’s title ahead of a fast finishing James Ellington (John Powell) in 20.85, whilst in the last race of the day, Martyn Rooney took the men’s 400m title ahead of Chris Clarke, finishing in a season’s best of 45.44.
The men’s high jump saw Tom Parsons (Fuzz Ahmed) collect another national title, although the top three all tied with best clearances of 2.28m. Martyn Bernard (Dan Pfaff) and Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed) took silver and bronze behind the popular Birchfield athlete.
“I wasn’t too sure how it would work out today so it was nice to have three good attempts at 2.31 but in the back of my mind my target today was 2.31, so I’m a bit disappointed,” he confessed.
“But to have three decent attempts at it shows that it’s there. Hopefully, I can save it for Daegu now I’m getting the height I just need a bit more momentum through it.”
An athlete not short of momentum was Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) who took great advantage of the absence of Andy Turner to record his first senior UK 110m hurdles title.
Clarke who hit a few hurdles on his way to the line had to endure a nail-biting wait to see if he had been awarded the win following a photo finish against former World Youth medallist Gianni Frankis.
With the win going to Clarke in a PB of 13.59, he was relieved to have won it on the dip:
“You just cannot tell when you dip like that where everyone is. I could see Gianni out there to my left but he didn’t lean quite as far. If he had I’m sure he would have got it but it’s such a competitive race – the most competitive I could ask for really.
“You can’t really practice that, it’s just one of those things you do if you want to win. I remember watching Colin Jackson winning races like that, so it works and it really came in handy for me!”
Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) enjoyed the crowd support in setting a new UK record for the 5000m walk in one of the first events of the afternoon. The Tonbridge athlete maintained his form perfectly to cross the line in 19:29.87, and celebrated his win with a leap of joy once he was safely over the line.
After he said: “It feels great to be National Champion; this is a race I’ve always wanted to win. I got silver last year, and it was much hotter, but it was harder today out on my own, especially the third and fourth kilometre, a killer.
“That’s another 45 seconds off of my PB which feels great. Now I’ve got a few races abroad coming up along with the National 10k walk, so I just need to keep getting PBs and big work through September and the winter getting ready for that one thing; London.”
Meanwhile, Jo Jackson (Andi Drake) took her sixth UK title in winning the women’s walk in 21:42.32.
“It feels really good to win for a sixth time,” she said. “You can’t take anything for granted when you come into these competitions so it feels good to perform well and win again.”
There was a minor upset in the men’s discus final as Abdul Buhari (Mark Wiseman) won with a best throw of 63.32m, with UK record holder and title favourite Lawrence Okoye finishing only fifth with 58.67m.
For Bulhari, who improved his personal best to 65.44m earlier this month, there was nothing but delight:
“I’m ecstatic!” he said. “It’s been a long journey and my coach and I have made a number of changes during the winter period and it’s all paying off now. I’ve never won this title so it’s nice to be the bride as opposed to being the bridesmaid. It’s nice to have the English and British titles. Hopefully I can have the world title next.
“It was strong field so there was a lot of tension with four guys holding the A standard. It was always going to be one of those competitions where it could go well or be an anti-climax and thankfully it went well.”
For Okoye, however, he was determined to look ahead to next week’s Aviva London Grand Prix:
“I’m very disappointed as I had a poor competition today but it happens in a career and sometimes you have to take a few steps back to move forward. I’ve got another chance to throw well at Crystal Palace next week and show my worth.”
The men’s 3000m steeplechase saw Luke Gunn (Budd Baldaro) take the UK title with 8:40.16, although the real story unfolded in the places behind him as the next five athletes, led by James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend), all set lifetime bests. In the women’s final, Lennie Waite took the national title in 10:03.18.
The women’s 5000m final saw a win for Julia Bleasdale running a PB 15:49.02, and she was followed home by European Team Champs representative Eilish McColgan also setting a lifetime best mark of 15:52.69.
In the field there were also wins for Carl Myerscough in the men’s shot with 18.57m, Holly Bleasdale in the women’s pole vault with 4.56m and Larry Achike in the triple jump with 16.83m.