28th June 2018
MULLER BRITISH ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS: THE WOMEN'S LONG JUMP CONTENDERS
Featuring global medallists and the British indoor and outdoor record holders, the women’s long jump will certainly be an event to watch at this weekend’s Müller British Athletics Championships.
Sunday’s competition is expected to be fierce as Britain’s best long jumpers – including world, European and Commonwealth medallists – battle for places at next month’s Athletics World Cup in London and August’s European Championships in Berlin.
Britain’s finest-ever jumpers to go head-to-head
Very much the in-form jumper in Britain at current following Commonwealth bronze and jumps consistently in the region of 6.75m, British record holder Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers) will be longing to claim back her British title come Sunday in Birmingham and on form is the athlete to beat
Sure to be one of a handful pushing her all the way is Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley Harriers), and while the British indoor record holder hasn’t had it all her own way this year after injury ruled her out of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, a fourth place finish at the Commonwealths Games has since been followed by a superb Diamond League victory in Stockholm with a season’s best of 6.85m.
What does history tell us between the pair?
When it comes to the head-to-head table Ugen leads 15-11, but Proctor has jumped further than Ugen on the two occasions the pair have met in 2018, including in Madrid last weekend, with may well serve as something of a psychological advantage heading into what promises to be a scorching weekend.
Who else should I be keeping tabs on?
A mark of how competitive female long jumping is in Britain is the fact that the title has changed hands consistently over the past four years, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson (2014), Proctor (2015), Jazmin Sawyers (2016) and Ugen (2017) all taking it in turns to stand atop the rostrum.
For 2016 victor Sawyers the maiden national title served as huge springboard to much more success, with European silver coming just weeks later in Amsterdam before the diminutive figure went on to make the final of the Olympics on her first Games outing.
While 2017 didn’t bring the distances she craved, Sawyers’ mark of 6.66m just over a month ago in Belgium sees her enter the championships with the qualifying mark under her belt and in a strong position to secure a seat on the plane to Berlin should she show well and finish inside the medals as many know she is well capable of.
And, while Proctor, Ugen and Sawyers have all jumped the European standard this year, there is one more to add into that select pool in Abigail Irozuru (Tom Cullen). With injury struggles and various surgeries behind her, Irozuru has crept back into contention this year following a 6.60m jump to land the European qualifying mark. A 6.80m jumper at her previous peak, 2012 will serve as her first British Championships outing in some six years and is sure to make for intriguing viewing.
Elsewhere, Jahisha Thomas (John Vernon) and Alice Hopkins (Marcia Marriott) are also ones-to-watch this weekend having both set personal bests this summer. Thomas’ jump of 6.55m in May was just five centimetres short of the European standard and the University of Iowa student will travel back across the Atlantic aiming to improve on her fourth-place finish from last year.
Last year, Alice Hopkins competed in the 110m Hurdles, but this year she will take to the runway at the Alexander Stadium having improved her long jump personal best by a staggering 65cm this month. At the beginning of June, she jumped six metres for the first time, before adding another 46cm onto her personal best a week later at the England Athletics U23 Championships two weeks ago, a result which was near impossible to ignore and a real marker ahead of the championships.
The women’s long jump final is scheduled to start at 15:08 on Sunday (1 July), with three long jump spots available for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team heading to Berlin’s European Championships (6 – 12 August), and just one individual berth for the Athletics World Cup next month in London (14-15 July).