16 February 2013
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team enjoyed six victories as the British Athletics Grand Prix returned to Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, in arguably the world’s finest indoor event this afternoon.
Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar), Nigel Levine (Linford Christie), Holly Bleasdale (Dan Pfaff/Scott Simpson), Shara Proctor (Rana Reider), Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) and Helen Clitheroe (John Nuttall) treated the sell-out crowd to impressive wins, as Britain’s best honed their preparations ahead of the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg next month.
Double Olympic champion Mo Farah returned from a training spell in Kenya to a rapturous reception, as the British hero strode to a comfortable 7:42.00 3,000m victory on his only indoor race of 2013.
The 29-year-old eased ahead of France’s Florian Carvalho (7:45.77), while UK indoor 1500m runner-up Lee Emanuel (Ronnie Warhurst) finished third with a 7:51.46 season’s best outside of the European Championship qualifying time.
Tom Humphries placed fourth in 7:54.79 and James Wilkinson (Philip Townsend) clocked a 7:57.90 personal best in sixth.
Farah – who will next tackle a half-marathon in America next weekend said afterwards:
“It was brilliant. It was important that I tried to win my only indoor race, so that was good.
“I’ve got a lot of miles under my legs but we’re good. The crowd was really good today. We got great support from them, it was amazing.”
Fresh from claiming the UK indoor 400m title last weekend, Nigel Levine took the scalp of Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon with a 46.34 to the Trinidadian’s 46.73. Fellow Brit, Richard Strachan (Linford Christie)came third registering a time of 46.78.
“I’ve won here three years in a row. I’m happy to maintain that record.
“First of all, I need to make the final at the European’s, I’ve never done that yet. That’s my first aim then I’ll think about the medals.”
On the in-field, current world-leader Holly Bleasdale cleared 4.70m to take yet another victory in the pole vault.
The 21-year-old initially 4.50m at the first attempt then skipped to her final mark, taking just two jumps for the win ahead of Olympic silver medallist, Yarisley Silva of Cuba, who took the same height but at the second effort.
Bleasdale – the World indoor bronze medallist – took three attempts at 4.78m before explaining:
“I’m really happy with that. I’ve been really positive and really confident all through the indoors and I’m going into it in the best state I can be to win gold, so I’m really confident.”
Shara Proctor claimed victory in the women’s long jump with a fine 6.78m leap.
Taking the ‘performance of the day’ award, Proctor said:
“I’m very pleased with this performance, I came out here just to win and in the process I got 6.78m so I’m really happy with that.”
In the men’s 800m,Michael Rimmer turned the tables on an illness and injury-plagued few years to return to top form in a winning 1:46.55 personal best.
The five-time UK outdoor champion battled hard in a scrappy race en route to a shock victory ahead of two-time World indoor champion, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan (1:46.57).
UK indoor runner-up Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed) clocked a 1:46.58 personal best in third, while Olympic finalist and World indoor bronze medallist, Andrew Osagie (Craig Winrow) placed fourth with a 1:46.97 season’s best.
Further consolidating the British strength in this event, Guy Learmonth (George Gandy) and Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) finished fifth and sixth in a 1:47.41 personal best and 1:47.79 season’s best, respectively.
2011 European indoor champion, Helen Clitheroe (John Nuttall) caused a surprise in speeding to a European 3,000m qualifying time despite enduring heavy marathon training of late, winning the fifteen-lap race in 8:50.16.
UK champion Lauren Howarth (Peter Riley) ran an 8:52.00 personal best, tantalisingly-close to the 8:51 European standard, while steeplechase specialist, Eilish McColgan (Liz McColgan) finished fourth in an 8:53.17 personal best.
Also setting new best figures were Emily Stewart (Ian Whyte) and UK indoor 800m bronze medallist, Jessica Judd (Rob Denmark) in seventh and eighth with 8:59.38 and 9:00.06, respectively.
Olympic high-jump bronze-medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) finished behind his toughest rival for the continental title, World outdoor runner-up, Aleksey Dmitrik - clearing a best of 2.29m to the Russian’s 2.33m.
Grabarz, the European champion, failed at the 2.33m mark but took the scalp of Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov (Russia), who placed third on count-back with 2.29m.
Olympic 400m hurdles semi-finalist, Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) continued her impressive indoor form with a huge 51.37 personal best in second place in the 400m behind American Natasha Hastings (50.88).
The 24-year-old finished one place ahead of fellow hurdler Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), who improved her Scottish record to 51.50.
Enjoying her first race in eighteen months due to injury, European indoor gold medallist and World outdoor bronze medallist, Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) finished a fine runner-up in the 800m with 2:02.86.
The 31-year-old finished behind Olympic bronze medallist, Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia (2:02.25) and pushed European silver medallist Lynsey Sharp (Terrance Mahon) into third, as the Scot clocked a 2:03.07 personal best.
“I can make all the excuses in the world for myself but I haven’t got much training behind me whatsoever and the hardest thing for me is facing an amazing crowd like this, you put yourself under a lot of pressure. For me to come out and finish second in a field like that and really cope with that pressure will get me ready for the outdoor season.
“It’s great that my running days aren’t over and I feel like I’ve got a second chance at this career now.”
World indoor silver medallist Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider) finished third in the 60m hurdles in a tight finish, clocking 8.12 behind winner Danielle Carruthers of the USA (8.11).
Reigning World indoor champion, Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) finished fourth in the triple jump with 13.91m behind World outdoor champion Olha Saladukha of the Ukraine (14.61m).
UK champion Gianni Frankis (Tony Jarrett) finished fifth in the 60m hurdles with a 7.70 clocking behind winner Omo Osaghae of the USA (7.51), while Allan Scott (Stuart Hogg) placed sixth with 7.74.
In a highly-competitive 60m final, Greg Cackett (Ron Roddan) sped to an impressive 6.66 clocking in fifth place, while America’s 2010 World indoor runner-up Mike Rogers blasted to a 6.53 victory.
In the women’s race, UK champion, Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) finished sixth with 7.25 in a top class 60m field.
The race was won by Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast, who set an all-comers record and personal best with an impressive 6.99.
Making her season debut, Birmingham-based Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) finished sixth in the 1500m with a solid 4:14.70 behind World indoor champion, Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, who was close to the world record with a 4:00.83 all-comers record.
England was a place ahead of UK 800m indoor champion, Claire Tarplee (George Gandy), who registered 4:15.57 with UK indoor runner-up Rosie Clarke (Michael Firth) finishing eighth in a 4:16.53 personal best.
In the men’s metric mile, Chris Warburton (Norman Poole) won the battle of the Brits, registering a 3:41.20 personal best in eighth place behind winner Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco (3:37.45)
Also setting a personal best was 19-year-old UK bronze medallist, Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg), who finished third in 3:41.54.
UK indoor 200m champion, Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) made a rare quarter-mile appearance in the national 400m, winning with 52.45 from UK 400m bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin) who clocked 53.17 in second.
Luke Lennon-Ford (Linford Christie) took the men’s equivalent in a 47.09 season’s best.
Photos will be uploaded to our Facebook Page after the event.