26th May 2017


Manchester played host to a wonderful evening of athletics at the Great CityGames as the crowds came out in force, and were lucky enough to witness a British outdoor record in the women’s pole vault, courtesy of Holly Bradshaw (coach: Scott Simpson).

There was a euphoric atmosphere at Albert Square as Bradshaw (Simpson) produced an outstanding outdoor British record of 4.80m, the second highest jump of her career. She added nine centimetres to her previous best outdoors, and significantly managed the feat twice; clearing 4.72m initially and then superbly soaring over the record height with aplomb.

The Blackburn athlete holds the outright British record with a best of 4.87m cleared indoors back in 2012, but this was her highest clearance since then, which will give her a lot of confidence heading into the IAAF World Championships this August.

Bradshaw commented afterwards: “I’m delighted – I have been jumping really well in training so I knew I was capable of it. It was all about getting that run-up right which was a struggle but it went right – it was such a good day.

“It is only my second time going off 16 steps since last year so I am not really dialled into it just yet but I am getting there. But to come away with two British records, I couldn’t be happier.”

Competing in his first long jump competition since the Olympic final in Rio last August, where he won the bronze medal, Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) began his 2017 campaign with a solid leap over eight metres. A final round jump of 8.18m was an impressive result for the grand slam champion, who also leaped 8.08m in round two.

A modest Rutherford commented on his season opener: “It is very surprising! I did not expect that at all (two jumps over eight metres) but I am thrilled to bits. I actually managed to produce one of the best openings to the season that I have ever had. I’m only two centimetres off my record here (at the Manchester CityGames) so I’m pleased.”

Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk) earned her first ever race win over Paralympic champion Marlou van Rhijn in the T43/44 100m. With a time of 13.24 (1.2 m/s), the T44 world record holder will take a huge lift from the performance with the World Para Athletics Championships only two months away. As is usually the case in their past races, van Rhijn has a fierce last part of her race but the Briton held off the fast finishing Dutch athlete to take a maiden win over her opponent.

A happy Kamlish said: “It is really nice to win here – I have finished second and third here before so to finally get the win over Marlou (van Rhijn) is amazing. I have been trying to do that ever since I started the sport. She always has a good backend of the race so I was expecting her to get me, and I thought she had, but I just held on by two-hundredths. It was amazing to see the times come up at the end and see my name in first place.”

Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) and Stef Reid (Aston Moore) were also in action, recording times of 13.63 and 14.34 respectively.

Double Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock (Michael Khmel / Dan Pfaff) wowed the crowds with victory in the T44 100m, which sadly did not include reigning world champion Richard Browne (USA). However, the Briton was unfazed by his rival’s absence and produced another sub-11 performance, triumphing in 10.91.

Peacock spoke afterwards: “The start was pretty terrible but I managed to pick it up between 20-30 metres and the rest of the race was ok. It is another sub 11 run so I’ll take it. I’m a few tenths better off than I was at this point last year so I’m happy.”

There was another British win in the women’s 100m where Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) pipped Australian Olympic 100m hurdles gold medallist Sally Pearson to the line with a best of 11.48 (-1.2). Desiree Henry (Rana Reider), who last competed at the Doha Diamond League at the start of May, was third in 11.59, whilst Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) was given the same time in fourth.

In the men’s equivalent, James Dasaolu (Cowan) powered to victory in a time of 10.25 (0.7) as veteran Kim Collins pulled up with an injury in the closing stages.

In the rarely run 200m hurdles, Seb Rodger (Stephen King) was the first Briton to cross the line behind the American Johnny Dutch, with a personal best over the distance; 22.89. In another unique event – the men’s 150m – Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist) was pleased with his time of 15.22 (0.4) for second, with Richard Kilty, fresh from a 200m win at the Loughborough International last week, setting a time of 15.43 for third place.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Tiffany Porter got the upper hand on her sister as she opened her season with 13.03 (-0.6), compared to Cindy Ofili’s 13.07. In the men’s equivalent, David King (James Hillier) was third with a time of 13.66 (1.0) behind the winner, Spain’s Orlando Ortega.

Results can be found here