28th January 2019


With the countdown to the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships continuing and more and more athletes accepting invitations to the two-day domestic battle, a number of eye-catching head to heads are rapidly emerging across all events, none more so in the women’s 800m, an event which is stacking up with big-names who have competed on the biggest stages of athletics.

The British record holder over 800m for some nine years now following a stunning run of 1:58.43 to win world indoor silver in Doha back in 2010, six-time international medallist and 2008 Olympian Jenny Meadows offered her thoughts on what promises to be a hugely-competitive event at the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships in just two weeks’ time.

“On paper you’ve got at least 10 amazing athletes that spring to mind, and when you see that you then have to think ‘well there’s only six lanes in the final for a start!’ – so you’ve already got a situation where some very good athletes aren’t even in that final.

“To me, the women’s 800m at last year’s championships was one of the stand-out events: you had Adelle (Tracey) really taking the bull by the horns and going off at 57 seconds (for 400m), at which point I was sweating in my seat thinking ‘is my British record going to go here?’. She broke the two minute barrier last year; she was the best British performer at the European Championships where she finished fourth, so she’s really come into her own.

“Then you’ve got Shelayna Oskan-Clarke who is such a championship performer; she’s now got two medals behind her after the World Indoor bronze last year and the European Indoor silver from Belgrade back in 2017 on top of finishing 5th at the world championships back in 2015, so Shelayna has got the proven track record as being a championship racer now and a real threat.

“With Shelayna and Adelle alone I think you’ve got a really intriguing race, but then you throw in Mhairi Hendry who actually split the two last year (finishing second to take silver at the championships) and ran an impressive sub-2:02 to make the team for the world indoors, we know that she’s now got the experience having produced such a good run last year in Birmingham.

“I know that Lynsey Sharp is racing state-side this weekend in Boston over 600m (a race in which she finished second in 1:29.11) and then I believe she’s running an 800m the following week – it may be one of those where we’re kept guessing up until the week before as to whether she’ll be going for the European Indoors, but obviously with them being in Glasgow and how well she performed back in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games there, I’m sure it’s definitely on her radar.

“When you potentially add the likes of Laura Muir to the mix the strength at that top-end gets ridiculous. We saw what she did last year at the outdoor championships with beating all of the girls and taking the title that if she does opt for that event then some really high-calibre athletes are going to miss the podium.

“I have to say that one other athlete I’m really looking forward to seeing is Issy Boffey – she ran a really impressive time (2:05.18) last weekend at Lee Valley and has now re-located to Birmingham for University and is being coached by Luke Gunn, so I’m sure that change of set-up will really help her too. I know in the race last weekend that she took the win running negative splits – she went off at 64 and then ran a 61 second last 400m, so she’s got the finishing speed in her legs for sure.

“When you think of all of those I’ve mentioned and then consider the likes of Ellie Baker, Jemma Reekie if she goes for the 800m – and having looked down the field again there’s another in Alison Lundy – who was formerly Leonard – who is a sub-2 minute runner herself, so I really think we’re looking at the race of the championships in the women’s 800m.”

The heats for the women’s 800m take place from 16:10 on Saturday 9 February, with the final following on Sunday 10 February at 16:54.

Meadows will have one of the best seats in the house as she joins Kris Temple and the soon-to-be-announced winner of British Athletics’ Women In World Athletics competition winner on commentary duty for the live stream of the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships.

A further advancement for the 2019 live stream of the championships, Meadows will spend the later stages of each day then serving as the live athlete interviewer for the stream, with immediate reactions and thoughts from medal winners being offered to viewers in the form of a live camera point in the mixed zone.

Tickets for the championships are still available via www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/spar-british-athletics-indoor-championships/