2nd July 2017

Mitchell-Blake storms to British Athletics Team Trials title

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (coach: Dennis Shaver) provided the perfect conclusion to a brilliant second day at the British Athletics Team Trials as he smashed the 30 year old championship record to take his first British 200m title.

In what was undoubtedly the race of the weekend, Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot (Benke Blomkvist) came off the curve together, but it was the 19.95 man who found something extra in the final 50m to edge clear and stop the clock at 20.18 to eclipse John Regis’ Championship Best Performance.

Naturally he was delighted with his record breaking run: “Thank you to the crowd, they have been amazing. This is the first time I’ve run in front of my home crowd and the experience is second to none. I am so pleased I have the opportunity to do it again in London. It was a great field and it was the last event for a reason; everybody stepped up and hopefully we can do the country proud now in London.”

Talbot can be equally pleased with his run, as he crossed the line in 20.20, the fastest time of his career to secure a London 2017 place. With everyone watching the centre lanes featuring the aforementioned duo, Zharnel Hughes (Patrick Dawson) and Adam Gemili (Rana Reider), it was European U23 silver medallist Leon Reid (James Hillier) who usurped everyone, smashing his lifetime best with a 20.38 time from lane eight to bag bronze. Hughes had to settle for fourth in 20.42 with Gemili sixth.

The women’s race was equally exciting as youngster Shannon Hylton (Ryan Freckleton) ran the race of her life, leading off the bend and holding on to win in 22.94 (0.0), equalling her lifetime best. The 20 year old last ran 22.94 two years ago, but delivered when it mattered most to secure an automatic place on the British team for London alongside runner-up Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) who crossed the line in 23.05. Desiree Henry (Reider) ultimately had to settle for bronze with a 23.14 run.

Post-race Hylton commented: “I’m so thrilled – I knew I had some really strong girls outside me so I had to get out well. When I got to the straight I started to tense up but I pushed on through to the line. The conditions felt quite still, which helped, and I’m only coming back from a tough year of injury in 2016 where things didn’t quite go so well, so to bounce back in this manner is so pleasing.”

Billed as one of the races of the weekend, the blue riband men’s 1500m didn’t disappoint, with everyone happy to leave it down to a last lap burn up. Putting himself in the right place at the right time, Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon) kicked away with 200m to go to take the title from his Edinburgh AC teammates Josh Kerr (Joe Franklin) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman), with reigning champion Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) fading to fifth. Not worried about times on the day, O’Hare was delighted to secure his spot on the team for London, alongside Kerr.

“I won the British Champs in 2013 but since then it’s been a hassle to get back on top, but it feels really good to be back. It was so tough out there and I spent a lot of the warm-up on the physio bed getting my hamstring sorted out as I kept cramping up. Once the gun went and the adrenaline kicked in that was parked though, and I’m delighted to have finished, and finished first.”

The women’s 1500m saw Jessica Judd (Mick Judd) take the race by the scruff of the neck with 600m to go, and she was rewarded with an automatic London 2017 spot as she finished second behind Laura Weightman (Steve Cram). Weightman, the pre-race favourite, showed her quality to kick away in the final 200m and take the title in 4.06.49, but to her credit Judd held on to cross the line in 4.07.09. Both women already have the London 2017 qualifying mark.

Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) showed his rivals a clean pair of heels as he dipped under 45 seconds to win the men’s 400m title. The defending champion, Hudson-Smith stormed away over the final 100m to win in 44.99, ahead of Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) and Cameron Chalmers (James Hillier).

Afterwards the winner commented: “I think the toughest thing when you’re running and running well is that you end up with a target on your back. I just wanted to win, remain consistent and repeat last year. I’m really excited that I’m in the 44s again. I need to remain consistent and get ready for London now.”

Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle) won her fourth British title in a row, leading from gun to tape in the women’s 400mH final to secure her spot on the World Championship team. Winning by over a second, the 2014 European champion crossed the line in 55.59, with Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker) returning to form with a season’s best of 56.68 in second and Jess Turner (Nick Dakin) just 0.11 behind in third.

In the field, Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) returned from a sixth place finish at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday night to bag his fifth British title with a fine 2.26m clearance. Despite retiring after three rounds, Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) did enough to win the women’s long jump with, by her very high standards, a mediocre 6.59 (0.4) effort. Her main rival Jazmin Sawyers (Kelly Sotherton) was eliminated after fouling her first three rounds.

Fine tuning her preparations for the World Para Athletics Championships, which are now just two weeks away, Stef Reid (Aston Moore) produced a season’s best jump of 5.45m (0.3), which bodes well as she hunts for another global medal.

David King (James Hillier) came good when it mattered, taking his first senior British 110mH title in fine style with a 13.55 (2.1) run. Getting out well and running a clean race, the Plymouth athlete got the better of Khai Riley-La Borde (Ray Gibbins) who took silver in 13.71. The fastest man on paper David Omoregie (Benke Blomkvist) clattered the first two hurdles and couldn’t recover, finishing down in fifth.

Steph Twell (Mick Woods) showed a great turn of pace to kick away from Eilish McColgan (Liz McColgan) in the women’s 5,000m final, with the Scottish pair sowing up their spots on the Great Britain team for the World Championships which begin on Friday 4 August.

The women’s 400m was wide open heading into the final and in the end there was perhaps a surprise winner, Zoey Clark (Eddie McKinna) out-leaning Rio 2016 relay medallist Emily Diamond (Jared Deacon) as the duo booked their London 2017 places. Taking her first British title, Clark stopped the clock at 52.30, four hundredths ahead of Diamond, with Anyika Onoura (Rana Reider) grabbing bronze from lane one.

Just like he did in 2016, Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg) timed it right to win the men’s 800m title in a cagey race. Passing through the bell in a slow 56.51, Giles put himself in the right position before kicking away to win in 1.49.52, with Scot Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray) finishing strongly to bag silver. Both men will now chase the London 2017 qualifying mark of 1.45.90 over the next few weeks.

Much like the men’s race, it was test of speed in the women’s 800m as the main contenders were happy to leave it down to the final 200m. Holding the inside line and leading from the front, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Bigg) stayed strong down the home-straight to defend her title in 2.01.54, with Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow) pipping Lynsey Sharp (Mahon) on the line for silver, 2.01.80 to 2.01.81.

Jack Green showed his class in the men’s 400mH to take victory and book his spot on the team for London, as he came away from the field over the final barrier to stop the clock at 49.34. A measured run, Green oozed confidence to end up a clear winner, with youngster Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong) also finishing strongly in the second, Seb Rodger (Stephen King) third.

Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) stormed to the British 5,000m race walk title, treating the crowd to his usual celebrations in the final metres as he broke the British record in the process. Stopping the clock at 18.43.28 he sliced over 15 seconds off his old record set two year ago, meaning he was rewarded a British record. Chasing him home was his training partner and world junior champion Callum Wilkinson (Drake) who was also inside the old record with his 18.56.96 performance. Both men have already qualified for London 2017 in the 20km event.

Bosworth commented: “No Brit has ever gone inside 19 minutes, so to get two in one race is pretty special going into London [World Championships]. I’ve felt a lot of pressure this year to back up my result from Rio, so to go 17 seconds quicker than I did last year is really exciting.”

Day two started with a bang as like Bosworth, Bethan Davies (Drake), broke the British 5000m race walk record with a stunning 21.21.52 performance, having already secured her London 2017 birth in the longer event.

Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh) leapt to 8.02m (-0.7) on two occasions in the men’s long jump to take the title, the latter with a legal wind reading, which is his longest this year. In the men’s pole vault it took a jump off for Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) to bag his fourth British title, getting the better of Scotland’s Jax Thoirs (Brian Donaldson) at 5.45m.

There was a surprise winner in the women’s 3000m steeplechase as Iona Lake (Pauline Ash) prevailed over the final kilometre to cross the line in 9.57.53, a season’s best and her first British title.

Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson) was a clear winner in the men’s hammer, the in-form man producing a strong 74.98m effort in round three to get the better of Taylor Campbell (John Pearson), who’s 72.87m best sets him up nicely for the European U23 Championships.

Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) booked her London 2017 place as she delivered the victory that so many expected in the women’s discus, a fifth round 58.14m her best and over five metres clear of her rivals. In the other women’s long throw of the day Laura Whittingham (Michael McNeill) took the javelin title with 52.07m. Last but not least, Rachel Wallader (Richard Woodhall) won the women’s shot put with a best of 16.70m.

Full results from both days of the British Athletics Team Trials 2017 can be found here: