Our friend, Stuar Weir is burning the proverbial midnight oil to provide us coverage of the British Trials from this weekend. This was for day 2. Lots of fun events, and some funny stuff as well, from our keen English observer of athletics.
I am using a picture of Eilish McColgan. Eilish ran PBs in just about every distance in 2017, and I remember seeing her at the European indoors, then a few weeks later at the 10,000m in Stanford. Now, we will see her at the World Indoors in Birmingham. She made the teams at 3000 meters and then, won the 1,500 meter title.
British Trials Day 2
There were two stand-out performances on the second day of the SPAR British Indoor Championships in the Arena, Birmingham – the men’s 400m and the women’s 800m.
Lee Thompson went into the 400m knowing that he had to win the race and run under the WIC qualification mark of 46.70. He stormed home in 46.23. In second place was Sadam Kouni a Sudanese athlete who is technically stateless at the moment and therefore ineligible for the Worlds despite having the qualifying time. He could not have been more happy afterwards, saying: “I didn’t think I had that time in me, I’m just over the moon. I have thrived on the adrenaline of competing in this arena; it is such a fast track. My opening 200m is the fastest I’ve ever gone so it set me up perfectly for the final 200m. I was confident if I got the break first, I would go on and win it. I was confident I would get the qualifying time for world indoors but I never thought I’d run 46.23. Especially not after the heats yesterday – this is just completely overwhelming”.
Shelayne Oskan-Clarke, who was 5th in the 800m in the 2015 Beijing World Championships and second in the 2017 European indoors, won the event in 2.00.06, an indoor PR, with Mhairi Hendry second and also under the WIC qualifying standard. Afterwards Oskan-Clarke stressed the importance of tactics in an indoor race: “I’m very happy to have defended my title and run a time that reflects my training. I’m trying to get better tactically and if I’m not at the front, making sure not to stress and make the moves when I’m meant to, like on the straights and not the bend like I did in the European Indoors”.
Eilish McColgan, who had come second in the 3000m on the first day, won the 1500m. It was a slow, tactical race until McColgan ran away from the field on the final lap. She summed up her weekend: “I won the 3000m indoor title last year so it is really nice to add the 1500m title this year. I never thought I’d ever be able to win a 1500m title. My focus is very much on the 3000m but I’ve proved my credentials over 1500m as well. I’m in good shape over both distances; I think because I’m making sure I’m in the best form heading into the Commonwealth Games, it has forced me to change things this year and my form is good very early”.
Tom Bosworth won the men’s 5000m walk in 18:28.70 and Bethan Davies the women’s race in 21:25.37 with all athletes performing well enough to achieve a PR. OK, so it was the first time an indoor 5000m walk was held in the UK!
Eilidh Doyle, better known as a hurdler, won the 400m flat in a time of 51.84. She said of her victory: “I am delighted with that. It was going to be tough against Zoe [Zoe Clark who was second] – I knew if she broke ahead of me it would be really difficult to get past her so thankfully I got there in front. I am always proud to win the British title – I love competing at these championships. It was a really tough field so we all had a really entertaining battle. I love an indoor 400m, it is so different to the outdoors. It is so tactical and I think I thrive on that”.
It will be a busy year for Doyle, following the WIC by representing Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in April as well as the European Championships for Britain in August, running 400 hurdles, flat and 4 by 400 relays but she has a cunning plan – changing the calendar: “Everything is geared towards the Commonwealth Games at the moment. I trying to imagine that this is May time and April will be how I’m usually performing in July. We want to peak in April but this is all fantastic preparation”.
Morgan Lake (1.85) and Mike Edwards (2.20) won the high jump competitions but neither achieved the WIC qualifying mark.
Nathan Douglas, whose PR was achieved 11 years ago, won the men’s triple jump with his only legal jump of 16.77. Nineteen year old Naomi Ogbeta became triple jump champion with a PR of 13.65, finishing second behind a guest competitor, Kimberley Williams, of Jamaica13.55
Random performance of the day
Antonio Infantino won the 200 metres in 20.77, which I am told, is the fastest indoor 200m time by an Italian for 30 years. Sadly his victory will not gain him a place in the World Indoor Championships as this was the British Championships and in any case there is no 200 metres in the WIC program. Apart from that…