One’s to Watch

The wait is nearly over and the Müller British Athletics Championships are upon us.

With the nation watching from their living rooms, 40 British champions will be crowned this weekend at the Manchester Regional Arena.

Here are five athletes to watch to mark your card ahead of the action, broadcast live on BBC2 from 1800-2100 on Friday and on BBC1 from 1315-1630 on Saturday.

Hannah Cockroft

Wheelchair racing royalty will be present in the north-west with five-time Paralympic champion Cockroft headlining a historic weekend for para athletics. With four para only events taking place in the British Championships programme for the first time, Cockroft is set to star in the women’s wheelchair 400m, the first track final of the meet.  The Yorkshire ace retained her 100m and 800m world titles in style in 2019 – can she claim national honours in the one-lap contest?

Sophie McKinna

Fan’s favourite McKinna saved her best for the biggest stage in 2019. The shot putter threw a towering personal best to reach the final and finish 11th at the World Championships in Doha. The Norfolk native will hope for another strong showing this year having won British outdoor gold for the first time last year, too.  She’ll face reigning British indoor champion Amelia Strickler in what will be an entertaining contest in the field.

Jake Wightman 

Wightman cemented his status as one of the fastest rising stars in British athletics in Monaco last month.  The Edinburgh AC man ran 1500m in 3:29.47 to move past Steve Cram as the second-best performer in British history.  Wightman drops down to the 800m in Manchester and is set to impress having worked on his speed extensively during lockdown. Expect more fireworks from Jake as the Championships come to a boil on Saturday afternoon.

Amy Hunt

With a place at Cambridge University and a British indoor title to show for 2020 already, it seems there’s nothing Hunt can’t do. The teenager soared to a maiden senior national title in Glasgow and is bidding to do the double with world silver medallist Imani-Lara Lansiquot and world junior medallist Kristal Awuah joining a strong field. Hunt burst onto the scene in breaking the European junior 200m record in 2019 but is also excelling over 100m, challenging her 11.31 personal best with 11.39 already this season.

Abigail Irozuru

As a Sale Harriers athlete and Manchester born and bred, Irozuru will need no motivating for a Championships in her own backyard. The 2019 world finalist will be fired up to maintain the momentum which saw her enjoy the best season of her career last year. Irozuru announced her return to the big stage with 6.81m at the Muller British Athletics Championships last year and is back to defend her title. 2016 champion Jazmin Sawyers will also battle for the crown, so the women’s long jump should be a great watch on Friday night.