The Muller British Athletics Championships and Olympic Trials are being held this week. In the former colonies, we have been at our US Olympic Track & Field Trials for one solid week, it ends this weekend on two blisteringly hot days in the new cathedral to athletics, Hayward Field.
Stuart Weir, our European senior editor, is covering his first athletics meeting Live in 20 months. I am at my 3rd or 4th, but seeing friends, for the first time in several years, is a big deal.
Enjoy Stuarts’ coverage of the Muller British Trials!
GB Championships and Olympic Trials
Day 1 of the GB Trials saw 5 rounds of the Decathlon plus preliminary rounds of some events. You could not gain an Olympic place on day 1, but you could lose it. The event was held in Manchester, as it had been in 2020, because the usual venue, the Alexander Stadium is being rebuilt for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The GB system is not as black and white as the US trials. To be sure of selection a GB athlete needs to finish in the first two and achieve, or already have the Olympic standard. The third place is chosen by the Head Coach and his team. In addition to the decathlon, there were nine events in a seven-hour program.
There were moments of high drama and athletics of the highest standard. Moments of great joy and dreams dashed. Don’t forget too that this is the national championship and for some athletes getting there is a career highlight. One club athlete told me she was overwhelmed to line up alongside girls who were going to the Olympics.
The least competitive event was the women’s 100m. With only 31 athletes looking for the 24 semi-final places, qualification was straightforward for the elite. In other events, only the first to finish was guaranteed progression.
Most of the drama came in the men’s 400m. James Williams was DQed for false start. Remember him? He is a full-time teacher and a part-time athlete. When he was competing in the European Indoors this year, he progressed to the next round and filled some of the time between the races by teaching a Maths lesson on Zoom! Alex Haydock-Wilson was DQed for a lane infringement and Matt Hudson-Smith pulled up injured. Martyn Rooney finished seventh in the prelim in 49.38 – another end of an era moment perhaps?
Laura Muir did not appear in the 1500m prelim, prompting speculation that she will run the 800m with a view to doubling in Tokyo and that she has received an assurance that she will get the discretionary place in the 1500m.
Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr, Jake Hayward, and Charlie Da’Vall Grice won the 1500m prelims to set up an intriguing final. And there was Mo Farah’s gallant failure to run the Olympic 10,000m Olympic standard. (See separate post).