12th May 2022
Throws to take centre stage at Müller UK Athletics Championships Manchester
Countdown to the Müller UK Athletics Championships Manchester continues and we turn the spotlight to the throws specialists ahead of the 24th – 26th June event in Manchester.
UK’s best track and field athletes will descend on the Manchester Regional Arena six weeks from now to battle for a national title and a seat on the plane to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July.
And with qualification standards for the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games also a target, the 2022 edition of the annual national event looks set to be a memorable one.
With three British indoor and three British outdoor titles on her resume, Sophie McKinna (Great Yarmouth) is the hot favourite to take the shot put crown once again.
The 27-year-old – who finished eighth in the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade last month – improved her lifetime best by 28cm this winter with 18.82m at the UK Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham in February, which placed her fifth on the national all-time list
She recalled, “The last UK outdoor champs were a fantastic experience for me – I was lucky enough to be able to share qualifying for the Games with my family and friends and therefore the atmosphere was really great.
“I was lucky enough to better the stadium record so the Manchester arena is a favourite place of mine to compete! I was pretty happy with my distance but plan on pushing beyond that this year.”
Eighth in the qualifying round of the Tokyo Olympics last year, McKinna continued:
“I expect it to be the usual suspects in Manchester, but I am really excited for Divine (Oladipo) to come back from the NCAA’s, as she’s been throwing really well out there this year.
“It’s great to have a competitive competition – it makes it so much more enjoyable! My personal aims are to retain my title and hopefully extend my stadium record.”
Having placed fifth in both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and seventh in the 2018 European Championships, McKinna is keen to make her mark on the big stage this summer and it appears her 18.61m outdoor best from 11th place at the 2019 World Championships in Doha is on borrowed time:
“I am aiming to do all three major championships this summer, which will be a pretty tight and busy schedule, but I think the UK Championships will kickstart what I hope to be a run of great performances,” she revealed.
Another athlete poised for the medals battle will be Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin, Thames Valley), following her British indoor silver medal and qualification for Belgrade.
Second outdoors last summer, she went on to unleash an 18.11m throw and the 2020 indoor British champion has a consistent record in this championship.
Oladipo (Ashley Kovacs, Blackheath and Bromley), meanwhile enjoyed an impressive winter over in the USA with a 17.92m lifetime best and she will be looking to improve on her fourth position from the 2021 champs – where she also claimed the bronze medal in the discus throw event.
Her 57.26m personal best registered last summer marked a significant breakthrough for the 2019 shot put bronze medallist.
Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, City of York) is the class act in the men’s event, having comfortably led the national indoor and outdoor rankings in recent seasons.
The 2021 indoor and outdoor champion launched a 21.28m lifetime best throw last summer before participating in the Tokyo Games and reached 20.73m ahead of his outing in Belgrade this winter.
Seven-time UK gold medallist Jade Lally (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) leads the women’s discus contest, following a 61.78m throw in Australia this past winter, but Kirsty Law (Zane Duquemin, Sale Harriers Manchester) – the champion in 2019 and 2020 – is expected to do battle for the top honour, having enjoyed a 60.13m lifetime best in the summer.
In the men’s discus, four-time champion, Nicholas Percy (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) – who recorded a Scottish record of 63.47m in April – will be among the favourites for the crown. Elsewhere, 2012 champion Lawrence Okoye (Croydon Harriers) is expected to return to competition. Twelfth in the 2012 London Games, Okoye launched a 67.13m effort last summer.
The women’s hammer event has been one of the standouts of the 2022 season to date with, Anna Purchase (Rob Careless, Notts AC) and Katie Head (Paul Head, Newham and Essex Beagles) moving to second and third respectively on the UK all-time rankings. Purchase threw 70.63m in California which was only the second time a British woman has thrown over 70 metres – the other being Olympic medallist Sophie Hitchon. Head improved her PB to 69.72m earlier this year.
Another athlete to keep an eye on is 2019 and 2020 champion, Jessica Mayho (Birchfield Harriers, John Pearson), who recorded 69.44m last summer.
Five-time men’s hammer champion, Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson, Border Harriers) enjoyed a sixth-place finish in Tokyo and the 2018 Commonwealth champion reached 78.39m last summer, but he will likely be pushed by Joseph Ellis (Jerry Clayton, Blackheath and Bromley), who has registered 73.50m this season.
The women’s javelin champion in 2020, Freya Jones (David Callaway, Newham and Essex Beagles) registered 54.81m in the summer, and she will go up against 2021 champion Bekah Walton (David Turner, Blackheath and Bromley), who enjoyed a 55.68m lifetime best performance this winter.
Elsewhere, 2017 champion Joe Dunderdale (Sheffield and Dearne) has reached 75.37m with the javelin this season and he faces 2021 silver medallist Joe Harris (Manx) and 2019 champion, Harry Hughes (Mark Roberson, Newham and Essex Beagles,) – who was measured at 75.94m last summer.