25th August 2019
ALL SET FOR DAY TWO AT THE MULLER BRITISH ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The second and final day of action on the track and in the field at the Müller British Athletics Championships is set to be a blockbuster with a day of finals lined up.
It begins with the women’s 5000m walk. Bethan Davies (coach: Andi Drake; club: Cardiff) goes in as favourite, being the second fastest women ever in the UK over the longer 20km walk. She has won the previous three British Championships over the distance, breaking the championship record two years ago.
In the male equivalent, there’s a fascinating battle for the win between Callum Wilkinson (Andi Drake; Enfield & Haringey) and Cameron Corbishley (Andi Drake; Medway & Maidstone). Neither have won the British title before and Corbishley has never made the podium but his fortune could change over the shorter walks distance.
In he men’s 110m hurdles, the field is wide open with Andrew Pozzi pulling out due to injury. Cameron Fillery (Michael Baker; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) came close to the standard at the Müller Grand Prix but will face opposition in David King (James Hillier; City of Plymouth). Both will need to hit personal bests in the finals to make the world qualifying standard.
Three athletes with world qualifiers will meet in a highly-anticipated women’s 200m. The reigning champion and championship record holder is Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) and she joins Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix) and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka; City of Stoke) as athletes already with the standard but Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan; Enfield & Haringey) and Finette Agyapong (Coral Nourrice; Newham & Essex Beagles) will also be among the contenders.
In the men’s 200m, Miguel Francis (Glen Mills; Wolverhampton & Biston) and Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet) will be the favourites here with the former topping the rankings this season with a time of 19.97, while Hughes has run 20.00, albeit in a straight line, so will need to run the standard prior to selection.
Also featuring are Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Lance Brauman; Newham & Essex Beagles) who has won the 200m over the previous two years and is getting back into form. Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley) will also double up following his second place in the 100m on Saturday which consolidated his spot in Doha over that distance.
Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong; Thames Valley) is the only athlete in the men’s 400m hurdles with the world qualifying standard so far – but victory isn’t a foregone conclusion. A returning Dai Greene (Benke Blomkvist; Swansea) seems to be getting back into solid form, while training partner Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) is getting closer to PB shape.
Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker; Birchfield Harriers) heads in as firm favourite, looking to consolidate her place in the squad ahead of Doha and Jessica Turner (Nick Dakin; Amber Valley & Erewash) will be looking to do the same after gaining the qualifying standard in Switzerland earlier this month.
Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon; Bracknell) has been the top men’s 3000m steeplechaser for three years now and is in the form of his life. There have been a few athletes just outside the world qualifying standard, with Phil Norman (Tomaz Plibersek; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) missing it by 0.4 seconds in Belgium in May, being a second outside it again earlier this month too.
The men’s 400m sees a return to the track for Matt Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman; Birchfield Harriers) after racing last week at Muller Grand Prix for the first time since September. Racing at his home track, he’ll look to join Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams; Newham & Essex Beagles) on the World Championships squad with both needing to finish in the top two to consolidate that and Hudson-Smith having to run 45.30s.
The women’s 5000m sees five world qualifiers with a straight shootout for the title likely to come between Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill), Laura Weightman (Steve Cram; Morpeth) and Melissa Courtney (David Harmer; Poole). Amy-Eloise Neale (Chris Fox; Wakefield) and Jessica Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn) also have the qualifier, so it is set to be a thriller.
The women’s 1500m sees Sarah McDonald (David Harmer; Birchfield Harriers) aim to go for her first British title and seal her place in Doha in the process. Her closest opponent will likely be Jemma Reekie (Andy Young; Kilbarchan) who will also make the World Championships squad if she finishes inside the top two.
The two world qualifiers in the women’s 400m, Laviai Nielsen (Christine Bowmaker; Enfield & Haringey) and Emily Diamond (Benke Blomkvist; Bristol & West), can confirm their place in the team with a top two finish. 2017 champion Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley) has been a bit off form so far this year but could come through. Elsewhere Amy Allcock (Glyn Hawkes; Aldershot, Farnham & District) could also get herself in contention for Doha with a good run today.
The men’s 1500m sees all five world qualifiers out for just three spots. The pick of the bunch on paper is Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix) as he tops the UK rankings this year but Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh), Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey; Edinburgh), Neil Gourley (Mark Rowland; Giffnock North) and James West (Ben Thomas; Tonbridge) all have the standard.
The women’s 800m, like most of the middle-distance events, is stacked with more qualifiers than qualifying spots. Lynsey Sharp (David Harmer; Edinburgh) heads in as favourite having last won the title in 2015. However, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) became champion in 2016 and 2017. Alexandra Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley) is also having her best season so far with Hannah Segrave (Chris Layne; Middlesbrough (Mandale)) also having the standard and could mix it up with the favourites.
The men’s 800m to date has eight world qualifiers, with three opting for the 1500m and the other five racing alongside. The fastest in the field this year is Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers) who took silver in Glasgow at the European Indoors earlier this year. Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet) and Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg; Birchfield Harriers) train together and will be among the favourites to win without outside chances for youngsters.
The men’s discus is one of the most competitive throwing events at the British Championships and kicks off the Sunday events. Gregory Thompson (Neville Thompson; Shaftesbury Barnet) is the only athlete with the world standard this year but elsewhere, there’s strong competition in the form of Nick Percy (Vesteinn Hafsteinsson; Shaftesbury Barnet) as well as the returning Lawrence Okoye (John Hillier; Croydon) who’s back at his first British Championship since he departed for the NFL in 2012.
The men’s triple jump also has a world qualifier: Ben Williams (Aston Moore; Sale Harriers) who has come good at the right time of the season having sealed full points for GB & NI at the recent European Team Championships. Nathan Douglas (Aston Moore; Oxford City) has long been the stalwart of this event since the mid-2000’s and will be going for that title once more.
Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) will book her place at the World Championships with another top two finish but she will be aiming for a record seven British titles as she currently sits tied with Janine Whitlock on six titles. If she were to make the podium, she will have also broken the tally for the most British Championships medals in the women’s pole vault.
The women’s javelin shows some youth developing with 20-year-old Bekah Walton (David Turner; Blackheath & Bromley) sits top of the rankings this year with veteran Laura Whittingham (Tom Dobbing; Sale Harriers) looking to win the title three years in a row. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool Harriers) returns to the field today, while Paralympic champion and world record holder in the F46 javelin, Hollie Arnold (David Turner; Blackheath & Bromley) also joins the field.
Morgan Lake (Fuzz Caan; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) leads the women’s high jump standings this year ahead of her former heptathlon teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson, and both will compete here.
Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson; City of York) leads the men’s shot put standings this year ahead of Youcef Zatat (Scott Rider; Woodford Green Essex Ladies) with Paralympic champion Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones; Cardiff) also featuring as one of the top names.
Arguably the most competitive and high stakes field event over the weekend, the women’s long jump sees four World Championships potential squad members come ahead. Abigail Irozuru (Sale Harriers) has been in the best form this season, making the world standard last week in Birmingham. If she finishes in the top two, she’ll be going to Doha.
The three still looking for the standard and a place on the squad are British record holder Shara Proctor (Rana Reider; Birchfield Harriers), championship record holder Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson; Thames Valley) and 2016 champion Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman; City of Stoke). The latter three have all won a British title outdoors (Ugen has won the last two, Sawyers in 2016 and Proctor won four from five between 2011 and 2015. Irozuru searches for her first title with her best finish being in 2009 and 2010 where she won bronze.
The men’s hammer concludes the field events for the weekend with Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border) looking to seal another title and a place in Doha. He has won four of the past five British titles and will look to make it five. He would only take bronze in 2016, with Chris Bennett (Andy Frost; Shaftesbury Barnet) taking advantage that day to win his first British title.
World University Games bronze medallist Taylor Campbell (John Pearson; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) is looking like a potential international representative in the future, sitting only a couple of metres off the world standard just ahead of fellow 23-year-old Osian Jones (Carys Parry; Liverpool Harriers) who will be looking to spring a surprise as both vie for the podium.
Tickets for tomorrow’s action can be purchased from the box office on site at the Alexander Stadium, with action covered on both the British Athletics Twitter account and via the live feed text service on the British Athletics website.