This is the third article by Stuart Weir on the SPAR British Champs by Stuart Weir. One of the themes in this meeting is the fine performances and next generation of British women athletes.
There were some stellar performances in the Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Holly Bradshaw (Blackburn) won the pole vault with 4.80m, a championship record. Traditionally athletes in the British Championship wear their club vests. In fact there is a cash prize for the best club performance. Not a lot of people know this but there are just short of 2,000 track and field clubs in the UK. This all caused Holly to tweet the question whether anyone knew if 4.80 was the highest ever vault in a club vest. Now that is a question! Bradshaw was European Indoor champion in 2013 but has not done the indoor circuit for a few years.
She said of her performance: “I feel pretty shocked to be honest. My aim is the World Championships in Doha and I’m going off a slightly shorter approach so I didn’t think 4.80m was in my capability but to jump that is kind of crazy. I’m not doing that off my longer run up. I’ve got the Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham next week and then I’ll head to Glasgow. These comps are about having fun and it’s going amazingly well”.
Laura Muir (8.48.03) won the 3000m from Melissa Courtney (8:50.61). Muir, whose veterinary degree is from Glasgow, qualifies automatically for selection for the 3000m in European Championships in the city and would expect to be named in the team for the 1500m as well. She summed up her feelings: “This will be the first time now that I’ll be heading in as a defending Champion at a European Championships and to wear the orange bib for two events is really exciting for me and now I’m purely excited for the Championships after that performance. I feel so comfortable indoors in Glasgow, I know the surroundings and I’m in great form. The timetable in Glasgow isn’t perfect but it works for me. I think the double double sounds pretty nice to me. If it was anywhere other than Glasgow I might not have done it but it’s my hometown”. She added, as a full-time athlete for the first time, “To be able to go to the Europeans and not have the distraction of studying it gives me so much more flexibility and getting away for warm weather training twice has been huge for me”.
Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (silver medallist in the European Indoors two years ago) was simply too strong for the field, winning in 2:05.04 from Mari Smith, leaving Adelle Tracey third and Lynsey Sharp fifth. The winner commented: “It’s always nice to be the champion, it’s always more than my expectations in a race. I’m really pleased with myself because it’s great to prove to myself that I can still get selected for teams. I feel good for this weekend and I have a few more races to go between now and Glasgow which I’ll look to build on into European Indoors”.
Jemma Reekie (another Scot) ran away from the field in the final lap after a cagey 1500m race. Clearly delighted, the 20 year-old said afterwards: “I’ve missed racing and it’s so exciting to get back out and race. I knew the competition was going to be hard and I was going to have to work and I really wanted to make sure I was at the Europeans. I tried to do as little as possible to qualify yesterday and I had a wee scare when I got boxed in but I’ve learnt from that. There’s no better crowd than a Scottish crowd and all my family and friends can come and watch me”.
Naomi Ogbeta, another 20 year old, won the triple jump with 14.05. “I’m really happy and excited”, she said. “I was hoping to be able to jump close to 14 meters indoors but to do that is a huge PB and I’m really excited by. Having already got the qualifying mark outdoors, I’m chuffed to have been able to do it outright indoors. I was having to get the standard and to go over that is huge. I think Laura [Laura Samuel who was second] really pushed me today and it gave me that motivation to jump further. I don’t think I have any competitions between now and Glasgow but I need to get as many centimetres extra as I can to be competitive in Glasgow”.
Morgan Lake won the high jump and Katarina Johnson-Thompson the long jump to add to the British potential medalists in Glasgow. Asha Philip’s win in the 60m is described in another post.
Finally it was lovely to see Cindy Ofili win the 60m hurdles nearly two years after her serious injury.
The @runblogrun tour of the IAAF World Indoor Tour, plus the 2019 SPAR British Champs, aka Le Tour de Larry, is sponsored by USATF and Nike, reminding you that the 2019 Toyota USATF Indoor Championships are February 22, 23, and 24 at the Ocean Breeze AC, on Staten Island. To purchase tickets, please use this link: