Asha Philip, photo by Getty Images/British Athletics
Reece Prescod, photo by PhotoRun.net
One of the huge stories in athletics is how British Athletics has gone from being a mediocre team with great history in the last decade, to one of the top 4 most powerful players globally. The success and reemergence of British Athletics has to do with funding, which has allowed nearly 100 athletes to have support, travel and training camps worth nearly $100k US each. The money has allowed athletes to focus, coaches to focus and a long term approach to major global championships.
There are many reasons for this, including the saving of British Athletics by Alan Pascoe and his team at Fastrack (among them, Jon Ridgeon, Ian Stewart). The AVIVA sponsorship deal of 55 million sterling a year, done by Pascoe and team and lost by British athletics subsequently, was the largest sponsorship deal in athletics. BBC TV coverage of the meets in UK have provided the British Isles with some of the finest athletic programming in the world, and the social media of British athletics inspires a new generation of athletes and fans.
Even with some missteps, the next generation of British Athletics elite athletes and events continue to build the sport. British events are amazingly successful. In this piece, Stuart Weir speaks on the 60 meters on Saturday and cautions us not to read too much in it. 2019 and 2020 are huge years. Some athletes have focused completely on the late date of Doha 2019, which will affect the Olympics in 2020 as well.
Stuart makes several good points on the 60 meters sprint. The British standards may need to be reaassessed, as the need to put young sprinters in front of big champs is huge. One has to gain experience, so that they do not crumble in front of boisterous, non-GBR crowds.
How will British Athletics fare? History notes good relay form, and the middle and long distances continue to shine. Field events need some work as the potential is there, but the focus has to be out six to ten years, not in 18 months.
The two 60m sprints were high quality events. The women’s saw the top three separated by 3 hundredths of a second in both the heats and finals. In the heats 2018 World Indoor and outdoor silver medallist, Marie Josee Ta Lou ran 7.15, with reigning European Indoor champion, Asha Philip, and double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson both timed at 7:16. In the final Thompson won with 7:13, Philip was second in 7:14 while Ta Lou again ran 7:15 again.
Thompson, recalling that she ran her PR in Birmingham said she had “lots of happy memories of Birmingham” adding “the crowd is always very welcoming, but my focus was just on the race and staying in my lane and not getting distracted by it”.
Philip commented that the quality of the opposition and the experience of running two races in an afternoon as well as three rounds at last week’s trials put her “in a great position ahead of the Europeans” Ta Lou proclaimed herself “happy to be in the top three [and ready to] prioritise the final in Dusseldorf and see what happens form that… the sky is the limit”.
Britain’s Reece Prescod, ran a PR of 6.53 but was well beaten by Bingtian Su who ran 6.47. Prescod said: “I think this will silence the people who are trying to put me down about my start. I have had a good winter, I have put the hard work in on the track, and I have put a better series together. I would still like to take another tenth off and get into the 6.4s, but I will go back and work on that with my team. I am really happy with that, to be honest”.
Su said: “It went so-so. I think I can run faster than that. I don’t know how much quicker, but there is more to come. I go to Dusseldorf now because I really like that track and hopefully I can get even quicker”. It must be so annoying when you run against someone who records a great time and then tells you it wasn’t much good and that he should have gone faster.
Jeremiah Azu, Great Britain, ran three times – the B race, the heats and the final where he was seventh in 6.67, an excellent time as he is only 17.
At a time when GB sprinting is arguably at an all-time high, that is not reflected in the GB team for next month’s European Championships. Only Asha Philp of the Olympic and World Championship women’s relay medal winning squad and none of the men’s 2017 gold medal team had sought selection for Glasgow. Reece Prescod ran a PR at the Muller but declared himself unavailable for Glasgow and reigning champion, Richard Kilty disappointed in the trials and does not have the qualifying time. The British champion Dominic Ashwell (19) won his title in 6.64 but he has not been able to meet the GB qualifying standard of 6.60 and forfeits his automatic selection. As a result Britain’s only male sprinter will be Ojie Edoburun, who was 8th in the national championships last week.
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