RunBlogRun introduces column 2, day 1, from Stuart Weir: The sprinting success of GBR was resounding in London last year. This year, at the Trials, it continues to improve, with the likes of Dina Asher-Smith and Reece Prescod. Great fields in men and women this year. Stuart Weir provides some key observances that you would not have seen from watching on You Tube or even sitting in the stands. We thank Stuart Weir on this second piece on day 1 of the 2018 British Trials.
One more thought on Dina Asher-Smith. I met Dina in 2013-14. It was a bit informal as we spoke after a match where she was relaxing in the stands. She was quite nice and relaxed. Totally impressed with her demeanor and have enjoyed watching her development. Looking forward to speaking to Reece Prescod later this summer, loved his big run in Shanghai. Reece Prescod could win a big one. Like his sense of focus and his second half of his race makes him quite dangerous.
British sprinting is arguably at an all time high. Anyone who needs convincing just ask yourself who won the men’s 4 by 100 relay at London 2017. Was it U.S.? Was it Jamaica? Or was it GB? I think you know the answer. Our women’s sprint relay team took bronze in Rio and silver in London 2017, not bad for a nation whose women’s sprint relay team did not even qualify for London 2012.
Against that background the most eagerly awaited events on day one of the MÅ±ller British Athletics Championships were the two 100 meters races.
The men’s 100m was won by Reece Prescod in 10.06 with Zharnel Hughes second in 10.13 and CJ Ujah third in 10.18. Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake was fourth in 10.18. The wind was officially zero but I find that hard to believe. The wind was swirling all day mainly against the direction that the sprinters were running. At one stage it was -2.5. My seat was about 5 rows from the front and at one point it blew over my cardboard coffee cup.
Prescod said: “I feel very relieved. This year was more expectation pressure rather than coming in as a surprise. So to come back here and retain my title I couldn’t have asked for a better competition. I did a lot of travelling at the start of the year, but I felt like it was a really, really good experience racing the world’s best. So coming back here I was used to the intensity of the race, if not quicker.
“With a Championships you have got to be smart, you can’t show all your bullets in the first round. So I tend to just try to do the bare minimum just to get through, and then in the final just give all you have got. I learnt a lot from the World Championships last year, so just bringing in that experience and executing the race”.
CJ Ujah caught the mood of the day with his comment: “I think this is what the British crowd have come out to see – top sprinters mixing it up. I think this is the start of a special generation to come”.
Dina Asher-Smith won the women’s 100m in 10.97 – her third sub 10 second run this month, and a championship record – not bad for someone who thinks she is still learning how to run the 100! Daryll Neita was second in 11.19 and Bianca Williams a finger-nail behind in 11.20. And all this was officially into a negative -0.5 wind.
Asher Smith said: “I am really happy with that time. I was looking to come here and run a fast time and I was really happy to have been able to do that, especially in front of a British crowd, which is obviously so important to me as I want to run fast at home, so I was happy to do that and take away the title. The wind was crazy in the heats, so I was just hoping it would die down, because I felt like I was in good shape, and thankfully it did”.
Like Ujah, Asher-Smith expressed the sense of being part of something special, saying: “Across both the men’s and women’s sprint events, the competition is so hot, which obviously bodes well for the Europeans and heading into the next Olympic cycle”.
With Asha Philip absent, due to being injured, the selectors will have a decision to make between Philip, who has been the recognized Number 1 and Williams who was just one hundredth of a second from automatic qualification. Lorraine Ugen was fifth. Lorraine is, of course, a long jumper – winner of the Stockholm Diamond League earlier this month, but at the Commonwealth Games Team England were a sprinter short and Ugen anchored the team to gold. Today’s 11.32 was pretty respectable for part-time sprinter.
GB can approach the European Championships confident of several sprint medals.