Stuart Weir gently reminds us, at American songwriter Steve Forbert wrote, “You can not win, if you do not play.” Imani Lansiquot and Harry Aikenes-Aryeetey played, and won!
British Championships – two new British Champions at 100m
As they say, you have to be in it to win it. Of the British medal winning women’s relay team from last year’s world championships, Asha Philip and Ashleigh Nelson have not run outdoors at all this season and Dina Asher-Smith, only in a 150m of the local fun race. Daryll Neita opted to run in France rather than the British Championships. Imani Lansiquot – who would have run in that Doha relay final had she not tweaked something in warm up – turned up in Manchester and left it as British champion.
Lansiquot, 22, was a semi-finalist in Doha and has run twice in the summer, once in Poland and once in Germany winning both. Her PR in 11.09 – and remember that Dina is the only British sprinter ever to go under eleven seconds. She won the final in 11.26 from Kristal Awuah (11.34) and 18-year-old Amy Hunt (11.35). What a prospect Hunt is!
Imani said afterwards: “I am so, so pleased. It is a dream come true. Three months ago I didn’t think there would be a season at all. And now I am here, back on home soil and the girls put on such a good show here especially as it is so cold. I can never take anything for granted with such talent on show – this bodes so well for our relay team. It is such a shame we didn’t get to show how good we are this season but next year I hope we can. The only reason I am here is because of the Olympics next year and it was really important that I came and tried to get my first ever national title. it is all part of the bigger picture. I am so grateful to my team for getting me here in one piece in what has been a crazy year!”
On the other hand, Harry Aikenes-Aryeetey is 32. Never quite good enough to make the final four in the current British sprint relay team, which won the 2017 World Championship gold medal etc, Aikenes-Aryeetey never lets a team down and is also one of the nicest athletes you could possibly meet. Winning his first relay medal at the 2009 World Championships he now has seven major championship relay medals as well as a bronze from the 2014 European Championship 100m. He has never been British champion, however – well not until this week. Some athletes haven’t thought it was turning up this week, but you could see how much it meant to Harry, as the following comments show: “This means so much. British sprinting is at its peak at the moment. There are many sprinters not here but we are here and doing them proud as well because they are such great guys. I have come here again for my second competition of the year. Sometimes we don’t celebrate success enough and 2020 is an example of this and today I have come and I have won and I am British Champion, for the first time after all these years. It bodes well for next year. I am very stubborn, I am not going away. I am enjoying life and doing more things off the track but I am working hard and lockdown has taught me you have persevere and I have won because of my mental attitude, I think”.
Nice guys sometimes finish last, but sometimes they win!