The sprint hurdles at the 2020 Muller British Athletics Outdoor Championships...


1270674007.jpgCindy Ofili, photo by British Athletics

ML019944_2020090475623957_20200904092619.JPGDavid King, photo by British Athletics

This piece was written by Stuart Weir on the hurdles at the British Championships, held on 4-5 September 2020. I missed it, and I wanted you to check it out! (Oh, and Stuart Weir reminded me).

Sprint hurdles

The two sprint hurdles races provided a lot of interest in different ways. Cindy Ofili - 4th in Rio by a whisker - is still getting back to her best after a serious injury in 2018. She won in 13.16. To put that time in context Anne Zagre won the Brussels Diamond League, the same evening in 13.21.

1270674034.jpgCindy Ofili, photo by British Athletics

Ofili commented: "It was a good race. I was pushed all the way by Lucy-Jane (Matthews). I did not execute as well as I would have liked - there may be some travel still in my legs but I needed a focus and it wasn't the best race for me. It is always important to come and run on British soil and at the Championships. I would have liked to run faster but the goal is to win and I am glad I did that. Given the circumstances and the year we have all had, I am happy to be here, healthy and able to run".

1270678297.jpgCindy Ofili, (gold medal), photo by British Athletics

Other than Ofili, there was only one other athlete in the race who was not a teenager. Lucy-Jane Matthews who was second and Abigail Pawlett who was fourth are each 17. Matthews who ran 13.20, said afterwards: "I was a little nervous at the start, there was no pressure on me but I have had a few niggles and I felt like I was trying to glue myself together for one more race. It was a great race with Cindy who is a hero of mine so to race her was amazing.

"It was an aged related (17) British best and I managed to lower it by a couple of milliseconds which was nice. The key has been that I am just enjoying my running. There is pressure to perform but I have been embracing that pressure and learning to enjoy myself as this is what I love doing and it has been paying off. There is a lot of opportunity next year, the big thing I am looking to qualify for is the World Junior Championship and then just to get some more experience on the international stage".

For years British hurdling has just been the Ofili sisters. It now looks as if a new crop of young athletes are emerging.

ML019943_2020090475643960_20200904092619.JPGDavid King, photo by British Athletics

In the absence of Andy Pozzi, David King won in 13.58 saying: "I am really happy with that and a very fast time for a cold evening in Manchester. That really sets you up for the big ones. I was in America for most of lockdown. We followed all government guidelines but we were still able to train fairly well. I have been out there training in the sun so this is a bit of a shock.I am running well and have improved technically so I am very happy. I am so pleased this was able to go ahead - it has been even different with no hurdle practice in the warm up but that's why the first run was so important to actually be able to hurdle. It has been a great event so far".

ML019944_2020090475623957_20200904092619.JPGDavid King, photo by British Athletics

How the athletes made the final is a story in itself. With only 7 entrants, the event should have gone straight to a final. However, the athletes wanted two races so we had two prelims with the first 3 in each of the two races and the fastest outside the top 3 qualifying for the final - that is all seven. Wouldn't it have been funny if someone - who had been offered a bye to the final - had false-started in the prelim!

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