27th April 2022
Jumps specialists set for Müller UK Athletics Championships Manchester lift-off
Tickets are still available for this year’s Müller UK Athletics Championships Manchester, as we take a look at the jumps specialists ahead of the event taking place across the weekend of the 24th – 26th June in Manchester.
With a jam-packed summer of three major championships on the horizon, Britain’s best track and field athletes will descend on the Manchester Regional Arena ten weeks from now to battle for a national title and a seat on the plane to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July.
With qualification standards for the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games also a target, the 2022 edition of the annual national pinnacle of the sport will certainly be one to remember.
Fresh from her bronze medal-winning display at the recent World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade with a 6.82m season’s best, long jumper Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips, Thames Valley Harriers) is hoping to add a fourth British title to her resume this summer, following victory in 2015, 2017 and 2018:
“I’m sure going into the British trials, it will be myself, Shara, Abigail and Jazmin fighting for a chance to be British champion – it’s a great rivalry between us and we all know we have to come on form as there’s a limited amount of spots on the team. I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing against the best in Britain,” the European indoor silver medallist explained.
The 30-year-old took the British indoor crown back in February ahead of victory in the World Indoor Tour series, following a promising 6.94m leap last summer to edge nearer to her 6.97m (national indoor record) and 7.05m outdoor lifetime bests – from 2017 and 2018, respectively.
On her most memorable British Championship competition, Ugen revealed:
“It was the 2012 British trials for me, where I jumped 1cm away from the Olympic standard in the second round and I remember the crowd getting behind me and really willing me on to hit the standard in the later jumps of the competition.
“And then of course the other memory was breaking the 7m barrier at British Championships in 2018! It was such an exciting competition, I think we were all on form that day and jumping pretty well, and it was nice to produce that distance in front of a British crowd at home.”
Fifth in the Beijing 2015 and London 2017 World Championships, Ugen also finished fourth at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (where she additionally anchored the English team to 4x100m relay glory) and fifth in the 2014 Glasgow event, and now her major championship CV is undoubtedly set for an overhaul this summer:
“Going into the season post-UK Championships, I hope to compete at the World Champs and Commonwealth Games – the talent in the UK is always very strong so I know that we will be battling for a spot on the many teams this summer and I would then hope to get on the podium at least once,” the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic representative said.
“I think with such a large selection of competitions going on this year, there’s a lot of opportunities to do that! And I’m looking forward to an exciting summer of athletics ahead. My goals are to continue to prove myself and hopefully produce some great jumps.”
In Manchester, Ugen will face Olympic eighth-placer and two-time British champion, Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke), three-time winner Shara Proctor (Birchfield Harriers) and Abigail Irozuru (Aston Moore, Sale Harriers Manchester) – the Olympic and world finalist, and 2019 British champion.
Elsewhere in the championships, Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn Harriers) is expected to create some fireworks in the pole vault.
The European indoor bronze medallist will be aiming to improve on her World Championship fourth place from 2019, her 2018 European bronze and 2018 Commonwealth fourth this year.
Having missed the indoor campaign due to illness, the British indoor and outdoor record holder (with 4.85m last winter and 4.90m whilst claiming the 2021 outdoor title, respectively), Bradshaw has an impressive nine outdoor and four indoor British titles to her name.
Her challengers will include British indoor champion, Molly Caudery (Stuart Caudery, Thames Valley Harriers) who cleared 4.51m last summer in addition to taking the British outdoor silver medal and European under 23 silver medal, and Sophie Cook (Scott Simpson, Halesowen AC), who has three outdoor silvers and a bronze to her name in this event.
In the men’s pole vault, Olympic finalist Harry Coppell (Scott Simpson, Wigan and District AC) will be the one to watch following his 5.80m clearance last summer.
The British indoor and outdoor champion flew to a 5.85m national record enroute to capturing the 2020 British outdoor crown, and he will go up against Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy, Birtley), the 2018 outdoor and 2019 indoor champion, who registered 5.65m last year.
The women’s high jump will be a fascinating affair with Olympic finalist, Morgan Lake (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) going for her fifth national outdoor crown.
The four-time British indoor champion and 2018 Commonwealth silver medallist missed the indoor season but cleared 1.96m in the summer in a return to form.
Emily Borthwick (Wigan and District AC) has enjoyed a recent breakthrough with a place on the Olympic and world indoor team lately and with a 1.95m leap this winter, the British indoor runner-up looks ready to improve on bronze from the past two British outdoor editions.
Indoor champion, Laura Zialor (Jade Surman, Marshall Milton Keynes) impressed with a 1.91m personal best this winter with second place at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham.
Tom Gale (Denis Doyle, Team Bath) will look to retain his 2021 outdoor crown in the men’s high jump, following 2.28m in the qualifying round of the Tokyo Games last summer, whilst David Smith (Paul Harrison, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) will be hoping to add to his recent British indoor title.
Leeds City’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Zivile Pukstiene) leapt 8.08m last winter after taking the British indoor long jump title, and Coventry’s Alexander Farquharson (Andy Vincent) leapt 8.01m last summer, so the duo should face-off in battle in Manchester.
Naomi Metzger (Trafford AC) will be the hot favourite in the women’s triple jump. The British indoor and outdoor champion has five national titles on her resume and enjoyed a fine 2021 with a 14.22m lifetime best (in addition to a windy 14.38m).
The men’s equivalent will feature 2020 British indoor champion, Michael Puplampu (Tosin Oke, Newham and Essex Beagles), who bounded to 16.42m last summer, and Seun Okome (Keith Hunter, Sale Harriers Manchester) after his breakthrough indoor campaign, which saw him register a 16.13m personal best to take the national indoor title.
Three-time British outdoor champion and 2022 British indoor silver medallist, Ben Williams (Aston Moore, HCity of Stoke) competed in the Tokyo qualifying round and will also be one to watch.
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