The SPAR British Indoor Champs were held over two days in Glasgow, Scotland. This is Stuart’s highlights and lowlights on day 2….at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland.
Highlights and not so high lights on day 2
The action on day 2, which saw 17 national champions crowned, started with the women’s shot put. Day one had ended with the men’s event. Indoor shot requires the assembly of a protective net cave. So it is common sense to run the two shot put competitions consecutively. Across the spectrum of track and field, Britain is strongest in track, good in jumps and weakest in throws.
Sophie McKinna, 11th in the 2019 World Champs was favorite. In an absorbing contest, University of Miami graduate, Amelia Stickler, who grew up in Ohio with her American father and British mother, was the winner. Strickler needed a huge 17.97m PR to win. Speaking after her win, Strickler said: “Anytime you throw a PR you have to celebrate. I wanted to come here and throw an indoor PR but I bettered it with a lifetime PR so I can’t complain”. It can only be a good thing for British throwing to have two excellent shot-putters to push each other.
Tom Bosworth won the men’s 5000 race walk. No one will begrudge Tom any success. Sixth in the Rio Olympics (20K), he has put British racewalking on the map. I also applaud British Athletics for including racewalking in the program to raise its profile. Bosworth broke his own British record – in the rarely walked, non-championship distance. He won by a country mile. The women’s 5k, walked simultaneously, was rather unsatisfactory. The British Athletics press release said: “In the women’s race, gold went the way of Abigail Jennings (Aldershot, Farnham & District; Verity Snook) who set a new personal best of 25:28.46, as she beat Pagen Spooner (Hyde Park Harriers; Andi Drake) to win her first British title”. [in passing note the nice way the official communication credits the athlete’s coach and her athletics club]. While the press release is accurate, it does not quite tell the full story. Jennings did beat Spooner but there were only two in the race. Jennings took gold but there was no silver medal awarded.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant won the 3000m. She is a class athlete who has won medals at therrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Commonwealth and European Indoors. There was no shame in “only” finishing third in the 2018 Commonwealth 1500m, when the higher medals went to Caster Semanya and Beatrice Chepkoech! Incidentally, she has added “Bryant” to her name after marrying decathlete, Ashley. She won in 9:48.54. The win was sweet for her because, as she pointed out: “I’ve competed at eight senior championships and not won any so it’s nice to get that title”. Third place, Steeplechaser, Rosie Clarke commented: “it’s fun to race on the flat rather than over the steeplechase”. I wonder if she knew that there had been an indoor steeplechase in Lievin last week!
Jessie Knight was the surprise winner of the 400m at the Muller Grand Prix last week. She was back in the same arena this week, becoming national champion in 52.76. Knight is a full-time primary school teacher, who has to negotiate an occasional Friday off to get to races. The excitement of her achievement in becoming British champion was plain to see: “I’m over the moon and really happy with that performance. I came here hoping for this to happen but you never know what people might pull off on the day. I’m starting to run 52s really comfortably so I’ve made a lot of progress”.
Adam Hague won the pole-vault with 5.55m.