24th June 2021
PART TWO: Ones to watch at the Müller British Athletics Championships
EVENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND
The Manchester Regional Arena is poised to stage three days of Olympic trials competition from Friday 25th June to Sunday 27th June with selection for Tokyo at stake.
The event will be streamed live on the British Athletics website as athletes strive for qualification and British titles.
The two-lap race for women is no less competitive than the men’s event and with both finals scheduled for mid-afternoon on Sunday (27th June) it means there will be an unmissable few minutes of middle-distance action with Olympic places at stake.
Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) is fastest on paper with 1:58.27 outdoors this summer and the Scottish athlete ran even quicker in the 2020 indoor season with 1:57.91. Training partner Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) is also entered and despite being better known as a 1500m runner she has shown terrific speed so far this year.
The pair will not have the race to themselves, though. Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey & Bramley) enjoyed a breakthrough run of 1:58.52 in Belfast last month whereas European indoor champion Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh) has run marginally slower with 1:58.89 and the Leigh athlete is the reigning British champion.
Ellie Baker (Jon Bigg, Shaftesbury) and Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow, Guildford & Godalming) have also run inside two minutes this summer and the latter beat Reekie in Oregon at the start of the season.
Women’s Wheelchair 400m
Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks, Halifax) has been in world record-breaking form and with the British team for the Tokyo Paralympics soon to be announced she will race over one-lap in Manchester on Sunday.
The 28-year-old multiple Paralympics champion is joined by Sammi Kinghorn (Rodger Harkins, Red Star) and Fabienne André (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) in a great field.
A British runner has yet to break 10 seconds this year but that could change in Manchester in the quest for Olympic selection. CJ Ujah (Ryan Freckleton, Enfield & Haringey) has shown fine form this year with a 10.03 clocking in California last month. Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury) has also been running with, among other things, a wind-assisted sub-20-second 200m clocking, whereas Andy Robertson (Sale Harriers) clocked 10.01 for 100m this month as well, although it was heavily wind-assisted.
Elsewhere the contenders range from up-and-coming athletes like Romell Glave (Michael Afilaka, Croydon) and former champions like Ojie Edoburun (Steve Fudge, Shaftesbury) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist, Sutton) to some big names on the comeback trail from injury like Reece Prescod (Mike Holloway, Enfield & Haringey), James Dasaolu (Michael Khmel, Croydon) and James Ellington (David Sadkin, Newham & Essex Beagles). Multiple British champion Dwain Chambers (Belgrave), now aged 43, is entered too.
Women’s Triple Jump
Naomi Ogbeta (Tom Cullen, Trafford) should be comfortably clear of her rivals but her big goal will be to beat the Olympic qualifying mark of 14.32m.
The 23-year-old is just 10cm short of the standard after a PB of 14.22m in Turku this month. Psychologically, she must know the barrier is not impossible either due to a wind-assisted 14.38m in the Czech Republic a few days ago.
The crowd at Sportcity will be limited in numbers but it is Ogbeta’s home track so she will have good support.
On season’s bests a number of athletes such as Matt Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman, Birchfield), Charlie Dobson (Benke Blomkvist, Coventry), Joseph Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) and Cameron Chalmers (Matt Elias, Guernsey) are separated by only a few tenths of a second.
As with the women’s 4x400m, the competition for places in the relay will be fierce with a large array of contenders including Lee Thompson (John Henson, Sheffield & Dearne) and Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin, Croydon).
This is an invitational event rather than an official Olympic trial but it will attract much of the attention over the weekend due to the presence of four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah (Gary Lough, Newham & Essex Beagles).
The 38-year-old is attacking the qualifying standard of 27:28.00 after running 27:50.64 to finish second Brit home behind Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher, Cambridge & Coleridge) at the Müller British 10,000m Championships and European 10,000m Cup on June 5.
Now that he has recovered from a minor ankle injury, will Farah be back to his best on Friday 25th June? Scott, meanwhile, is due to contest the 5000m.