The GB World Championship Team Trials (and British Championship) explained, by J. Stuart Weir


The beauty of athletics in the sumer is that there are several places one wants to be on the same day around the continent. I wanted to be in Paris and Birmingham at the same time. For me, Paris is obvious, with the fine Diamond League meeting. For Birmingham, the British Trials were being held, but also, my British family was all there. If you are fortunate, as I am, to have friends in many places that you travel, then, you are quite lucky.

Speaking of friends who travel, Stuart Weir was at it again this past weekend. Stuart covered the British championships for RunBlogRun.

Here's his first of two pieces on the GB Team Trials system!

DSCN0160.JPGThe GB Team Trials at Birmingham, photo by Stuart Weir

The GB World Championship Team Trials (and British Championship) explained

The GB World Championship Team Trials (and British Championship) have just taken place. The GB lack the brutality of the US trials with its finish in the first three places no ifs, no buts, black and white system. To gain automatic selection in the GB trials an athlete must finish in the first two places in the trials and have the World Championship qualifying standard. The third place is at the discretion of the selectors.

The British system avoids the situation where a Keni Harrison can be the dominant athlete in an event (100H), break the world record during the season but have a mishap in the trials and miss out on the 2016 Olympics. The disadvantage of the British system is that it is messy, leading to appeals by athletes who feel that they should have been selected in the discretionary place rather than the athlete the selectors choose.

I have previously written in more detail on the merits of the two systems (

This year the event was cut from three days to two, meaning that there were only two rounds rather than the usual three in anything longer than 200 metres. This resulted in a challenging format for 400 and 800 races with only the heat winner qualifying for the final - and other athletes needing to be among the so called "fastest losers".

That none of Britain's three reigning World Champions were competing in the trials certainly took a shine off the event. Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah opted not to do the trials as they have a direct invite as reigning champions. Jess Ennis-Hill has retired.

Alice Byles.jpgAlice Byles, photo by Stuart Weir

For some the National Championships and trials are but a stepping stone on the way to World Championship. For others just getting there represents a massive achievement. I loved talking to 18 year old Alice Byles, who sat her final A level (High School) exam on Friday before finding herself in the same heat as Olympic medallist and former European Champion, Eilidh Doyle on Saturday. Then there were the two teenage girls from the Radley club in Oxford who competed together in the discus throw.

DSCN0164.JPGAlice Byles supporting Birmingham 2022, photo by Stuart Weir

Christine Ohuruogu who has competed in the last 4 Olympics and has won two world championship and one Olympic gold at 400 metres, failed to make the final. The end of an era perhaps.

Gluttons for punishment

We need to acknowledge the efforts of three athletes. Robbie Grabarz won his his fifth British title with a fine 2.26m clearance after finishing sixth place finish at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday night. Jess Judd came second in the 1500m and two hours later, finished fifth in the 5,000m. Andy Butchart won the 5000 in 13.50.56 and just 2 hours later came fifth in a heat of the 1500.

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