24th February 2022
UK ATHLETICS INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS - FIELD AND COMBINED EVENTS
The last time this event was held, in 2020, Sophie McKinna (coach: Mike Winch, club: Great Yarmouth) was beaten in the women’s shot put by Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin, Thames Valley) but McKinna has started in 2022 in superb form and the great Judy Oakes’ championship record of 18.57m is within her range.
Surprisingly while she has won nine indoor medals, only one of them was gold. Strickler, meanwhile, is entered but has yet to compete in 2022.
In the men’s shot put, Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, City of York) has a two-metre advantage at the top of the shot rankings and will be a huge favourite as he goes for a sixth successive title with an eye on the championships best of 20.66m considering he has thrown further this winter.
McKinna and Lincoln will of course also be aiming to qualify for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade on March 18-20.
High jumper Emily Borthwick (Wigan & District) has been a revelation in 2022 jumping 1.95m a few weeks ago. Laura Zialor (Jade Surman, Marshall Milton Keynes) was in good form at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham and finished second equal with Olympic champion Mariya Lasitskene with a 1.91m PB.
UK lead in the men’s high jump, David Smith (Paul Harrison, Shaftesbury Barnet), the runner-up in 2020, starts as favourite with 2020 UK outdoor champion Joel Clarke-Khan (Emily Borthwick, Worcester) second in the 2022 UK rankings.
2016 world indoor bronze medallist Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips, Thames Valley) leads the women’s long jump UK rankings with a 6.71m leap so far this year but the chase for the title should be a close affair.
Olympic finalists Abigail Irozuru (Aston Moore, Sale Harriers Manchester) and Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke), who was third at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Toruń this week, are proven competitors while consistent Lucy Hadaway (Matt Barton, City of York) and in-form combined eventer Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Andover) should also be in the medal hunt.
In the men’s long jump the UK lead Jack Roach (Lukasz Zawila, Harrow) is a marginal favourite and there will be a fresh crop of medallists in 2022. The 2019 runner-up James Lelliott (Brian Camp, Bournemouth) has yet to show his best form this winter, whereas multi-talented Dominic Ogbechie (Marius Guei, Highgate) is also entered, who also goes in the high jump.
With field finals in Belgrade next month limited to 16 athletes, World Athletics’ qualifying standards are mostly in excess of the best mark ever seen in our national championships.
In the pole vault, former world under-18 champion and reigning outdoor champion Harry Coppell (Scott Simpson, Wigan & District) has two silver and a bronze medal from his past national indoor championships and will be up against defending champion Adam Hague (Trevor Fox, Sheffield & Dearne) who jointly holds the championship best, and 2019 winner Charlie Myers (Chris Boundy, Birtley)
With Olympic pole vault medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn) sitting out the winter, the UK title will be fought out between reigning champion Sophie Cook (Scott Simpson, Birchfield) and 2017 winner Jade Ive (Sutton & District). Eighteen-year-old Sophie Ashurst (Andy Ashurst, Sale Harriers Manchester) will also be battling for the medal positions.
In the triple jump Naomi Metzger (née Ogbeta) (Tom Cullen, Trafford) just missed out on the Olympics last year and she goes looking to win her third successive title. Lily Hulland (Femi Akinsanya, Loughborough Students), meanwhile, looks another likely medallist.
In the men’s triple jump there are three past champions with 17-metre bests entered. Tokyo Olympian and former world under-18 champion Ben Williams (Aston Moore, City of Stoke) won the title back in 2011. Nathan Douglas (Aston Moore, Oxford City) first won this title in 2006 and turns 40 later this year. He first jumped 16 metres in 2003 and managed a wind-assisted 16.20m last year and is still a medal challenger in the final indoor season of his career. Also in the field is former European medallist Julian Reid (Aston Moore, Birchfield), who has yet to compete in 2022.
Top of the women’s pentathlon rankings by 400-plus points, Holly Mills is set to compete in individual events in Birmingham. So Katie Stainton (Dave Feeney, Birchfield) is one of the standout names in the field – she won last year’s British and English combined events titles. However, based on the year’s rankings, England indoor runner-up this winter Jo Rowland (Lyeng Mun, Crawley) has the best mark this winter.
In the men’s heptathlon, the England title in January was a close affair with just 83 points between Lewis Church (David Hull, Tonbridge), Harry Kendall (David Hull, Tonbridge) and Harry Maslen (Sam Stanislaus, Ilkley) and the trio are all entered.