The UK Athletics championships are firstly about the kudos of being a British Champion but they also double up as selection trials for the world championships. The rules for selection are that any athlete who has the world championship qualifying standard and who finishes first or second in the trials is automatically selected for Eugene. The third place is at the discretion of the selectors as are relay places.
The wind was a major frustration at the British Championships with none of the three rounds of men’s and women’s 100m races run with a legal wind. In other disciplines, athletes were battling against the wind and therefore unable to reach the standard they were seeking.
The imbalance between disciplines is large in British Athletics. In the men’s 800m, the number of athletes with the world standard is in double figures. In the men’s steeplechase, high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot, and javelin, the number with the standard is 0.
While the selection process is fair, independent, just, etc, I have no doubt that the selectors were smiling when the women’s 100 ended with Daryll Neita, Dina Asher-Smith, Imani Lanssiquot – the only three athletes with the standard finishing 1-2-3.
The opposite scenario was the men’s 110h, where the stand-out favorite, Andrew Pozzi, clattered a few hurdles and finished fourth. The winner, Tade Ojora, does not have the qualification standard but might be able to get it in the next two weeks. Joshua Zeller was second and has the standard – happy days, for him and the selectors. David King and Andrew Pozzi finished third and fourth but have the standard. Sort that one out!
Almost as complicated is the women’s 5000. Amy-Eloise Markovc and Jess Judd were first and second. Sarah Inglis was third with Calli Thackery being fourth 0.22 seconds behind. All four have the standard as does Eilish McColgan. Markovc is straightforward as is Jess Judd who is also eligible for selection in 10k, assuming she wants to double up. It would be hard not to select McColgan if she wants to double up. If it comes down to Inglis or Thackery, either call will be harsh!
The Men’s 1500m is one of our strongest events, with, for example, a Tokyo Olympic medal and three athletes in the 2020 Olympic and 2019 World finals. The top four of Jake Wightman, Neil Gourley, Josh Kerr, and Jake Heyward were separated by 0.4 seconds. It will be very hard on Jake Heyward, ninth in Tokyo, and 0.28 seconds off second place in the trials if he misses out – but ours is a sport of split seconds.
It’s easier to write that select!