5th January 2018
FIVE TOP PICKS: BRITISH INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS MEMORIES
Kath Merry – 2000 Olympic bronze medallist over 400m for Britain, now found on in-fields across the world in commentary and presentation roles:
It would have to be from the 2017 edition of the championships when Andrew Pozzi ran a world lead of 7.44 to win his fourth British 60m hurdles indoor title. Andy was in great form and then went onto win the European Indoor title three weeks later.
Hannah England – 2011 world silver medallist over 1500m, Hannah is also the Chair of the UK Athletics Athletes’ Commission:
My strongest memory of the British indoor champs would be the first one I competed in – Sheffield 2004.
As a plucky 16 year old I accepted my invitation and headed up to Sheffield with my dad….little did I know quite how out of my depth I would be, I came a distant and demoralising last in the 1500m. While my performance was quite forgettable, the buzz I got sharing a warm up area with my idols was not!
Being alongside athletes that I’d only ever seen on TV or read about in Athletics Weekly – like Kelly Holmes, Jo Pavey, Jason Gardener, and Micheal East – and then cheering them on from the stands was awesome. I love the great atmosphere at indoor events and am excited to be hitting the boards again this year!”
Geoff Wightman – 2:13.17 marathoner and former elite athlete, now coach to son Jake and the all-familiar commentary voice from major events across the UK:
If I look back at my all-time standout performance at the UK indoor championships, where I have been announcing since Adam was a lad, it would have to be from 2013. Robbie Grabarz won the men’s high jump title with a 2.31m clearance and the crowd went nuts. Sheffield EIS is an intimate arena and there were about four events taking place simultaneously.
Robbie starts his run-up from row D of the main stand, so there was a line of officials with flags, making sure the pathway was clear of long jumpers and track athletes. He had the whole stadium’s attention and, by then, everyone was familiar with his pre-jump routine, where he rubs his hands across his face and neck. The rhythmic clapping was very much on point and I remember looking round the place when the road went up as he sailed over. I think the capacity of Sheffield is about 1,600 but it sounded more like 16,000; great acoustics.
You can’t beat the intensity of indoor competition. It is up close and personal; I’m looking forward to 2018 in Birmingham.
Ian Hodge – Statistician and British Athletics Performance Team:
Not that easy as I have been to rather a lot of British indoor championships, however it would have to be from 2014 when Katarina Johnson-Thompson cleared 1.96m in the high jump.
Firstly it was so unexpected, and secondly the record had stood at 1.95m for over three decades (!). So many had tried 1.96m, and at last we had a clearance.
Eilish McColgan – reigning 3000m British indoor champion and European indoor bronze medallist, and the fourth quickest British women ever over 5000m:
[On her own memories of the championships] So I did the British Indoor Championships once in 2011 and then suffered illness or injury and missed every year until 2017. So for me, it felt great to line up for the British indoors this year, and to come away with a win over the 3000m was a really proud moment for me. It certainly was the catapult towards my first ever medal at the European Indoor Championships a few weeks later, and it felt like the start of a new chapter within my career.