This is the first of a series on the 2020 SPAR British Indoor Athletics Championships, Glasgow, Scotland, by Stuart Weir. The championships were two weeks ago, the series is solid and this will help us see some of the new stars in British Athletics.
SPAR British Indoor Championships
The problem with the Spar British Athletics Championships is revealed by a glance at the programme report on the 2019 event. “Flashback 2019” pictures include Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Asha Philip, Neil Gourley and Holly Bradshaw, none of whom are competing this year. In fact, none of the 10 athletes (including relay runners) who won medals at the Doha World Championships are competing this year. Add to the list of absentees Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie and you begin to get the picture. As I write this the Men’s 60m hurdles is about to take place. Andy Pozzi is the reigning world indoor champion but quite reasonably he decided to run in the Madrid last night, where he maintained his 100% season’s win record, rather than in the British Championship.
Much is this is down to Coronavirus. With the World Indoors Championships in China postponed there is no GB team to be selected for, so the national Champs are no longer selection trials. Add to that the fact that this is an Olympic year, following a late World Championship, and many athletes have skipped or curtailed the Indoors. It does not help that last week in the same arena we were watching Mondo and Shelly-Ann etc.
My conclusion is that we need to describe the good things that happened without constantly comparing times and saying that A only won because the best athletes in the event chose to skip the event. There were exciting races and field events. And don’t forget that every “star” who declined to participate created a place for an up and coming or club athlete who was thrilled to be there. It was a horrible wet, cold and windy day and Glasgow and we should be thankful to have had the opportunity to be indoors, warm and entertained. The program lasted just short of seven hours with nine finals and a number of prelims.
The women’s long jump is one of GB’s strongest events with at least five women capable of reaching a world or Olympic final. Abi Irozuru won with a leap of 6.60, achieved with her first jump with Jazmin Sawyers second with 6.40. Irozuru is a lovely human story. She jumped the Olympic standard in 2012 but did not back the team. In 2013 she ruptured a tendon. In 2014 she had further surgery. Then she tore her achilles. She retired from athletics, believing her body was no longer up to it.
In 2019 she made the GB team for the European Indoors and the World Champs in Doha – seven years after her last GB selection. She made the final in both championships. Of her 2020 British title she said: “It’s a good feeling and I was more excited by jumping 6.60m than I was with winning because it was a very strong series, it was more the technical things I was working on but they all paid off. As British Champion, you always love the medals though so I won’t detract from it. Let’s hope we can carry that form on into 2020 being indoor and outdoor champion. The trials for the Olympics are in Manchester at my home track and I want to make my mark there and I’m looking forward to getting back there and training on it again”.
She also tweeted: “Proud of the way I came back after last week’s defeat. Thankful for the words of encouragement I’ve had this week to reinvigorate my confidence & give me a better perspective. My aim for today was SMILE…no matter what. Think I ticked that box!”
Dan Bramble won the men’s long jump with 7:81