16th March 2022
MANCHESTER FLASHBACK – BEST OF THE ACTION FROM MEN’S EVENTS IN 2021
Tickets on sale this Friday for this year’s UK Championships as the athletes prepare for an unprecedented summer with three major championships.
The Müller UK Athletics Championships Manchester, from 24 to 26 June will see the very best British athletes battling for both 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 Commonwealth Games also a target for many.
Today we look back at the men’s events at last year’s Manchester championships, which also acted as the Olympic trials, and provided the athletes with some highs and some lows but huge excitement and entertainment for those lucky enough to be in the arena.
The middle-distance events were expected to be amongst the most competitive across the three days and they did not disappoint. With five athletes inside the Tokyo qualification going into the 1500m final in Manchester it was always going to be a tactical, cagey affair. It certainly started that way, but the finish was electric with clubmates Josh Kerr (Edinburgh AC, Danny Mackey) and Jake Wightman (Edinburgh AC, Geoff Wightman) neck and neck running a sub 51 last lap as the USA based, Kerr took the win by just five hundredths of a second in 3:40.72. Both he and Wightman, in second, sealed automatic Olympic selection with third placed, Jake Heyward (Cardiff, Mark Rowland) just behind in 3:42.41 also getting the selectors’ nod.
It proved a tremendous summer for 24-year old, Kerr culminating in a bronze medal in the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in a lifetime best of 3:29.05. He has continued this great form into this year setting a new European mile indoor record of 3:48.87 in Boston in February.
The men’s 800m final was also a stacked event in Manchester last year and proved to be as close and as thrilling as the 1500m. It had the usual jostling and bumping of the two-lap contest and was still anyone’s race with 100m to go before a kick for home from Elliot Giles (Birchfield, Jon Bigg). Just three hundredth of a second separated the top three with Giles taking victory in 1:45.11; Oliver Dustin (Border, Graeme Mason) was agonisingly close behind in 1:45.12 and Daniel Rowden (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies, Matt Yates,) took third in 1:45.13.
The sprint hurdles brought about one of the surprises of the weekend when 21-year-old America-based Tade Okoro (Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow, Caryl Smith-Gilbert) won in a huge PB and stadium record of 13.38. His good season continued with a fourth place at the European u23 championships in Tallinn the following month.
Dave King (City of Plymouth, Tim O’Neil), a three-time British champion, was second in 13.51 with Andrew Pozzi (Stratford-upon-Avon), who hit a few hurdles to disrupt his rhythm, third in 13:54. Pozzi and King were selected for Tokyo with Pozzi finishing a creditable sixth in the Olympic final.
In the men’s hammer Taylor Campbell (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow, John Pearson) left it late but secured victory, his Tokyo spot and a stadium record with his final throw of 75.10m. Chris Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet, Andy Frost) was second in 73.53m while bronze went to Craig Murch (Birchfield, Lorraine Shaw) with 70.90m.
In the ever popular sprints, Rio fourth-placer Adam Gemili (Blackheath and Bromley) ensured his Olympic return by winning his third British 200m title clocking 20.63 (-1.7) on his way to victory. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Newham and Essex Beagles) was second in 20.77 ahead of a promising run of 20.79 from 21-year-old Jona Efoloko (Sale Harriers Manchester, Clarence Callender) in third place.
On the Friday evening, all eyes were on four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles, Gary Lough) in the invitational 10,000m as he made a final bid for the Olympic qualifier of 27:28.00. The big crowd enthusiastically cheered as he valiantly tried a solo run to hit his target. On schedule at 5000m in 13:42.98 the crowd roared but, he could not maintain the pace and, although he won in a season’s best and stadium record of 27:47.04, he was shy of the required standard.
Two men’s para athletics events were included in the programme last year Nathan Maguire (Kirkby, Steven Hoskins,) taking first place in the wheelchair 400m in 49.78.
In the 100m men’s mixed class, Thomas Young (Charnwood, Joseph McDonnell) continued his preparations for the Paralympics with the victory in 11.23 (-1.3). In Tokyo he took the gold medal in the T38 100m in a lifetime best of 10.94 and his 2022 has started at a pace with a massive personal best, 7.03 and second place in the 60m at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix last month.
You can be there this June for what will be a scintillating weekend of action in the Manchester Regional Arena. The stadium will be at full capacity so the atmosphere will be electric with so much at stake.
Tickets go on priority sale from today with general sale starting on Friday 18 March from 12pm.