23rd December 2019
YEAR IN REVIEW: JANUARY-MARCH
British athletes hit the ground running in what was an extremely busy – and long – 2019 with the first quarter of the year culminating in an historic European Indoor Championships on home soil in Glasgow.
1) What better way to start than those European Indoor Championships, where the British team won a record 12 medals – four gold, six silver and two bronze – to finish second in the overall medal table.Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson provided one of the athletics images of the year – let alone the Championships – as they congratulated each other on gold and silver respectively in the heptathlon.
2) Laura Muir – after a successful Great Stirling Cross Country and record breaking indoor season – added two of the four golds at the European Indoor Championships with two truly sensational runs in the 1500m and 3000m – that completing a double double after she won the same events at the previous European Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 2017.
3) Shelayna Oskan-Clarke contributed the fourth British gold at the European Indoor Championships as she took no prisoners on the way to the 800m title. As well as Emerson, Holly Bradshaw (pole vault), Tim Duckworth (pentathlon), Chris O’Hare (3000m), Jamie Webb (800m) and the women’s 4x400m team of Eilidh Doyle, Laviai Nielsen, Zoey Clark and Amber Anning all won superb silver medals.
4) Melissa Courtney claimed bronze in the 3000m behind Muir having set a personal best and world lead earlier in the season while Asha Philip got the better of British teammate Kristal Awuah at the line to finish third in the 60m.
5) Much of the European Indoor Championships could have been predicted following the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham where Laura Muir, Holly Bradshaw and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke all shone.
Laura Muir set a new British record in the mile while Bradshaw and Oskan-Clarke were both also victorious in their main events. Josh Kerr made a brief appearance from his base in the United States and showed why he would go on to finish sixth at the World Championships later in the season as he set a Scottish record in the 1500m.
6) Places for those European Indoor Championships were decided at the British Indoor Championships which were particularly special for Holly Bradshaw and Asha Philip.
Bradshaw set a Championship record 4.80m in the pole vault while Philip claimed her tenth career title over 60m. Elsewhere Sophie McKinna produced the best display of British women’s shot putting since 2000 with a best of 17.97m for gold.
7) Niamh Emerson couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year as she set a world lead in the pentathlon to help the British team win the Indoor Combined Events International Match in Cardiff and lay down a marker for that European indoor silver.
Morgan Lake was very much in the same category as she produced an indoor personal best to equal the British indoor record in her first competition of the year, jumping 1.97m in the Czech Republic.
Not to be forgotten, one day into the second month of the year, Thomas Staines ran a new British record over 600m in New Mexico, clocking 1:15.31.
8) Cameron Corbishley gave a sign of things to come for British race walking in 2019 as he stormed to second in the UK all-time rankings for the 50km, clocking 3:53:20 in Slovakia to qualify for the World Championships later in the year.
9) On the roads, Charlotte Purdue gave a slight hint of what she would achieve on the same tarmac at the London Marathon as she won the British half marathon title with victory at the Big Half. Mo Farah would claim the men’s title at the same event.
10) The first three months of the year are always significant for cross country with Adam Hickey and Jenny Nesbitt winning the trial races for the World Championships. Over in Denmark, Nesbitt would contribute to the senior women’s team finishing fourth overall on a challenging and unique course, with Kate Avery the first Brit home.