24th August 2019
Finals kick start day one of the Müller British Athletics Championships
Day one of the Müller British Athletics Championships sees a number of top names take to the Alexander Stadium track in Birmingham.
The all-time fastest British woman over the 100m, Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie; club: Blackheath & Bromley) will headline the opening day as the favourite over the distance.
Last year saw Asher-Smith break the Championship record with a 10.97 clocking before going on to win triple gold at the European Championships.
This year has seen Asher-Smith run a season’s best of 10.91, the only Brit to have clocked sub-11 seconds and the fourth best time in the world, with Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District) chasing second on the rankings with a PB of 11.09. European indoor fourth placer over 60m, Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas; Herne Hill) is only 0.03 seconds off the World Championship qualifying time of 11.24 and could challenge for a podium place.
The men’s equivalent in a stacked field including Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet), Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley), Ojie Edoburun (Fudge; Shaftesbury Barnet), CJ Ujah (Jonas Dodoo; Enfield & Haringey) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist; Sutton & District). With Reece Prescod (Dodoo; Enfield & Haringey) absent, Hughes will be the man to beat in the final, ranked as No.1 with a sub-10 time of 9.95.
The men’s pole vault will see reigning champion Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy; Middlesbrough) arrive in Birmingham as the only male with the world qualifying clearance on 5.71m. Harry Coppell (John Mitchell; Wigan & District) and Adam Hague (Trevor Fox; Sheffield & Dearne) will be battling it out for podium positions while also attempting to gain a place in Doha.
The men’s 5000m is set to be a fast race with the top three running personal best’s this year. The 2018 British Champion Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland) will face UK No.1 and favourite Andy Butchart (Central). Butchart ran a lifetime best of 13:06.21 in London last month, 15 seconds ahead of Scott, and will look for top spot to confirm his place to Doha. Ben Connor (Steve Vernon; Derby) is also very much in the mix with his 13:19.47 season and personal best over the distance.
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Rosie Clarke (David Harmer; Epsom & Edwell) will be looking to defend her British title. This year she is running faster than ever, with a 9:31.68 personal best, and could run under the 9:30 mark if conditions allow. Elizabeth Bird (George Harrison; Shaftesbury Barnet) follows just six seconds behind on her best run to date and is looking to challenge Clarke for the top spot. Both have already achieved the qualifying time for Doha, but youngster Aimee Pratt (Vincente Modahl; Sale Harriers Manchester) could have the chance to do the same.
Cindy Ofili (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) is the favourite for the women’s 100m hurdles. In a field of 22 women, Ofili has the quickest time of 13.06 this season, and has hopes to clock sub-12 seconds in a bid to go to Doha. She will be racing Yasmin Miller (Robert Smith; Derby) and last year’s champion Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello; Chesterfield), as well as heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool Harriers), who favours the hurdles with her personal best 13.29 run this season.
One of the highlights of the field events will be the women’s shot put, headlined by European finalist Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch; Great Yarmouth). McKinna is enjoying arguably the best season of her career to date and just needs a top-two finish to secure her maiden World Championship place after extended her personal best beyond the 18m standard to 18.23m. Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin; Thames Valley) meanwhile is 17cm off the Doha mark herself, so will be targeting that today.
As joint No.1 in the UK, Chris Baker (Graham Ravenscroft; Sale Harriers Manchester) and Tom Gale (Denis Doyle; Bath) will be chasing the qualifying standard as both remain just 3cm off the qualifying jump on 2.27m as their season’s bests.
In the women’s discus, the field is as competitive as ever. The favourite looks set to be Kirsty Law (Zane Duquemin; Sale Harriers Manchester) who won silver last year and sits at the top of the UK rankings with her season’s best throw of 57.66m, just 13cm off her lifetime best. Although none of the field hold the discus qualifying mark for the worlds, Law could be on target to achieve a personal best but will be challenged by the likes of UK No.2, Amy Holder (Neville Thompson; Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow), with her personal best of 56.42m.
Dan Bramble (Dodoo; Shaftesbury Barnet) will take to the long jump pit among the favourites. His season’s best is close to clearing the 8-metre mark with 7.96m, and he aims to claim back his 2017 title after just missing out by one-millimetre last year to decathlete by trade Tim Duckworth (Toby Stevenson; Liverpool Harriers). Jacob Fincham-Dukes leads the UK rankings with his 8.00m jump back in June.
The men’s javelin final is also scheduled for day one, with Harry Hughes (Mark Roberson; Newham & Essex Beagles) the British No.1 with a record 80.32m effort earlier this season, although he has battled injury since. Joe Dunderdale (Sheffield & Dearne) will be up there as well as youngster and recent GB debutant Tom Hewson (Mark Bradford; Andover) and Joe Harris (Manx) in the bid for the top spots.
The three-time consecutive triple jump champion, Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen; Trafford), will be making her return to Birmingham in a bid to win her fourth national title. As No.1 this year with a 14.05m indoor jump, and third on the all-time list, Ogbeta enters as the favourite. After a slow start this outdoor season, which improved to an outdoor season’s best of 13.90m at the European Team Championships, Ogbeta will be looking to break the 14.20m qualifying mark to be on the road to Doha.
The women’s hammer will see a new British champion crowned with Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson; Blackburn) absent. Jessica Mayho (Birchfield) will be the one to beat in a final where the majority of the field have hit personal bests this year. Mayho pushed hers to 66.44m earlier this month to underline her credentials.
The day will also be filled with contests in the form of heats for the men’s and women’s 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m and 1500m.