Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Patience Pays for Jackson


Having spent much of the summer trying to crack the magical two-minute barrier, 800m runner Emma Jackson recently got her wish as well as a spot in the World Championships to boot, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 23-year-old City of Stoke AC athlete is enjoying a stellar outdoor campaign in which she has improved on her 2010 2:00.46 best on three occasions, culminating in her breakthrough 1:59.9 clocking in London earlier this month.

There, at the Aviva British Grand Prix and Diamond League event, Jackson finished a fine fifth in a world-class field and subsequently leapt to third on the British rankings for the season – all pointing towards a promising global debut in a fortnight’s time.

Coached by Alan Morris, Jackson explained:

“I’m over the moon with my season so far - it’s my first year as a full-time athlete and I’m amazed how much difference it has made already.

“I amazed myself in my first race of the season at the end of May (in Holland) when I ran a PB of just over two-minutes,” she continued.

“Since then I’ve just been trying to find good races to get me under that barrier so I had to have a month of training and try and stay patient!

“When the races did come back around in July, I was still left frustrated because I was running really well but in slow, tactical races or I wasn’t quite getting the pacing right.

“However, I know that there is even more to come from Crystal Palace - the first lap was still faster than I would have liked!”


Based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, the 2007 European junior silver-medallist has additionally sped to 55.3 and 4:12.42 400m and 1500m lifetime bests this summer – the latter an improvement of almost three seconds.

Following UK silver behind 2009 World bronze-medallist Jenny Meadows in the World trials in Birmingham last month, Jackson is enjoying a substantial amount more luck than in her 2010 campaign.

Then, the two-lap specialist missed the championship podium on no less than four occasions - coming fourth each time including at the European Team Championships and the Commonwealth Games in India last October.

Mentored by 2004 double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, Jackson is determined to continue her run a good form in Daegu, South Korea where the World Championships are held later this month:

“It’s my first senior (international championship) competition so I’m really looking forward to seeing how the top athletes prepare themselves for a major games and I’ll have to see if I can pick up any tips!” she revealed.

“My aim for Daegu is to try and get to the semi-finals at the very least - as long as I run well and do myself justice, then I know I’ll be happy.

“It keeps dawning on me that it’s the World champs, it doesn’t get any harder than this! It’s quite scary but in a really good way.

“I can’t wait to see what I can do against the very best - I’m hoping to go even further under two-minutes out there but I don’t want to focus on the time too much, it’s more important that I race the races sensibly - the time will come if it’s a good race.”


In a hugely competitive event for British women, Jackson is aware of how such strong domestic rivalry could push her to a memorable performance ahead of her bigger goal, the Olympic Games in London next summer:

“In reality, I probably wouldn’t even be going to Daegu if all of our girls were at their best but you have to take the chances you are given and I’m hoping that I can use the Worlds to gain invaluable experience for the future,” she explained.

“2012 is still a massive aim for me - I still need to keep improving if I want to go.

“I think I can get even better with another strong winter under my belt and in the long-term, I hope to make more of an impact at the 1500m – I really hope to make lots of championship finals and be going for medals as I get older.”

Breaking Barriers


Jack Green is a young man who thrives off challenges and this summer, the 400m hurdler has leapt over both the age and time gap to world-class level as he looks to a place in the Olympic final next year, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 19-year-old Kent AC runner refuses to let his young years and relative inexperience in the event hold him back from global glory - a fact highlighted by his recent inclusion in the Team GB squad for the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea later this month, where Green will make his senior championship debut.

Guided by hurdles guru Malcolm Arnold and training alongside European and Commonwealth champion Dai Greene, the athlete with the most untapped potential in the Bath-based squad is keen to establish himself in the biggest event of a thus far, remarkable season:

“The World Championships are where I plan on putting a spanner in the works against the more experienced heads,” he explained.

“Obviously I am very happy with how everything has gone this year but I still expect more of myself.

“My performances this year have been very consistent and everyone knows consistency leads to dropping a very quick time - I'm hoping that will arrive when I need it to.”


Green is of course, referring to such achievements as improving his outdoor best by a second and a half to a scintillating 48.98, mixing it with the best senior competition at two Diamond League events and claiming the European under23 Championship title in storming fashion.

Having spent periods of the winter and spring training in South Africa and Italy, respectively, Green indeed got his 2011 campaign off to a sterling start.

First, he shattered his 400m flat lifetime best on six occasions (with a best of 46.91) before finishing fourth in the same event at the UK senior Championships during the indoor season.

A student of Sports Performance at Bath University, Green then went onto put such theory into practice on the outdoor track by claiming victory at the Loughborough International, finishing second in British under23 Championships behind close-rival Nathan Woodward and then placed a fine fourth in the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League before capturing continental gold in Ostrava.

Riding on the crest of a wave in only his fifth season in the discipline, Green then
went onto clock his first sub-50 second performance at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Birmingham, where he again finished in a highly-respectable fourth against world-class field to elevate him to third on the UK rankings for the summer thus far and ahead of European silver-medallist Rhys Williams.

“Ostrava was a typical championship, I went to win,” Green revealed.

“I really feel we (Brits) are becoming like the Americans in the 400m hurdles - we are going to have people staying at home with the qualifying standard for the major competitions – it's not overly fair but it only makes you stronger.

“I've said it before but all of us have a lot to thank Dai and Rhys for - I believe because of their successes in 2010, they gave all of us the belief to run quicker.

“I remember when breaking fifty seconds was a big deal, now you have to be a 48-runner at least to feature!”


Having recently missed the UK Championships and also the Aviva London Grand Prix with tonsillitis, Green is confident of getting back to his best in time for Deagu as he sets off to the Team GB preparation camp in South Korea next week:

“The illness has become a blessing in disguise as it's allowed me to rest after the European Under23’s and train hard without having to taper for racing, so I should be ready to go in the 400m hurdles and I will be ready to run the relay,” he explained.

Fifth in the World junior Championships in Canada last summer in 50.49 to place third on the UK all-time under20 list, Green will join his namesake (Dai) and also Woodward in the competition, where he additionally hopes to feature in at least the first-round heat of the 4x400m relay.

All in all, regardless of his performances in Daegu, Green will be using the event as vital experience for an even tougher short-term aim, the Olympic Games in London next summer:

“I will evaluate my aims at the end of this season but ideally I will be in that Olympic final,” he revealed.

“But 2012's just another competition to me and I will keep that mentality the whole way through.

“The crowd and competition will be great and I have no doubts London will put on a great show but I will be there to do a job and entertain a crowd - I see myself as a performer and I want to do my best for the fans and supporters.”

Monday, 1 August 2011

Osagie’s Debut Senior Title Highlights OCWK results on Day Three of Aviva UK Champs and World Trials


Day three results:

Andrew Osagie’s commanding 800m victory and Emma Jackson’s close battle with Jenny Meadows to clinch two-lap silver were the key performances from seven OCWK athletes in finals on the third and final day of the championships in Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.

Men's 800m final:

Andrew Osagie proved his recent 1:45.63 lifetime best was a strong indicator of his championship form by dominating the event and pulling away in the final metres from reigning champion Michael Rimmer to win by almost a second in 1:46.84.

The 23-year-old Harlow AC runner – who was fourth in the European indoor Championships back in March – settled into third position from the offset before scorching into the lead at the bell with a 53.70 final lap.

Guided by Craig Winrow, a delighted Andrew revealed after clinching his first senior outdoor national title:

“The race went to plan and I was pleased to push on so well on the home straight.

“I’m on cloud nine and I’d really like to get the time for the World’s (at Crystal Palace) next weekend.

“I’ve already got the ‘B’ standard and I’m really enjoying training and my racing so much right now”

Women's 800m final:

Commonwealth fourth-placer Emma Jackson gave World bronze-medallist Jenny Meadows a run for her money in the final 100m to finish a narrow second in 2:02.48.

The 23-year-old City of Stoke AC athlete – who was fourth in this race last year and recently third in the Aviva British Grand Prix – stayed out of trouble at the back of the field until the bell, where she then unleashed a scintillating change of gear to jolt into third position.

Coached by Alan Morris, the 2:00.24 runner moved into equal first on the back straight and surged again with Meadows in the final furlong to only just miss out on her first senior national title.

Emma revealed afterwards:

“It was slower than I thought at first so I was shocked but held my nerve and made my move well. I’m hoping to make Daegu by getting the ‘A’ standard next weekend at Crystal Palace.”

Crawley’s 26-year-old Charlotte Best was disappointed to finish seventh in 2:05.75 after a below-par season so far.

The George Gandy-coached runner – who exited in the semi’s last year – explained:

“It didn’t go well – my legs felt awful and couldn’t get into a good position.

“I’ve had a few weeks away from training this year but still hoped for better - I’ve got Crystal Palace on Friday and then (the World University Games in) China so I hope to run well there.”

Men's 1500m final:

Future Stars with Kelly athlete Phillip Hurst finished an encouraging fifth in 3:44.14 after conserving his energy at the rear of the pack for much of the race.

The 20-year-old Elswick Harrier moved up into seventh position with 300m remaining and kicked strongly down the home-straight to enjoy a promising senior championship debut.

The Martin Crowe-guided runner finished just short of his 3:43.35 recent personal best and finished three-tenths ahead of Birchfield’s 23-year-old Mark Mitchell, who placed eighth in 3:44.44.

Mark, whose time was a new lifetime best, said afterwards:
“I’m quite pleased and moved through quite well. It was just really good to get through to the final and to also get a PB.”

Meanwhile, Kris Gauson of Edinburgh AC finished tenth in 3:46.76 and James Brewer languished in twelfth in 3:50.68.

The self-coached Kris, 23, explained afterwards:

“It was a bit disappointing after I ran so hard but it’s my first season as a senior and I’ve been racing since early January in the American season so now I’m going to freshen up and focus on the World University Champs (in China next month).”

Cheltenham’s 23-year-old James – who was in fourth position for the first two laps then seventh at the bell – was bitterly disappointed with his performance but has only been back running since April after suffering from a stress-fracture.

The Craig Winrow-coached runner (with a best of 3:42.38) revealed:

“It was rubbish, I just didn’t have anything to go on the last lap and it’s been a slow season anyway, coming back from the stress fracture but I’m really happy to be racing at least and I hope for top-two next year.

Hannah’s Breathtaking Defence Highlights OCWK Presence at UK Champs and World Trials


Day one and two report:

Hannah England produced a super cool performance in sweltering conditions at the Aviva UK Championships and World trials this evening to retain her 1500m crown in scintillating style.

Elsewhere in the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham – after two sessions of the three-day competition – an impressive twelve OCWK athletes either featured or progressed to finals in their specialist events.

Women's 1500m:

Day three (Saturday) final results:

Proving herself to be a World Championship final contender for the global event in Daegu, South Korea in a months’ time, Hannah won an eye-catching sprint finish battle with 2009 World silver-medallist Lisa Dobriskey, clocking 4:07.05 to her elder rival’s 4:07.23.

The 24-year-old Oxford City AC runner – in only her sixth race of the season – ran a sensible metric mile, holding back from early and long-time leader Stacey Smith until the bell.

Guided by Bud Baldaro in Birmingham, Hannah recently ran a world-class 4:01.89 PB in Barcelona to re-establish her international credentials and after a 47.08 final 300m, she revealed:

“It was fantastic after training for this all winter - things have really turned around for me in the past couple of weeks and I’m totally surprised despite training really hard.”

Having also finished second in heat two in 4:21.88 the previous day, Hannah continued:

“After the Achilles injury holding me back, I know I haven’t peaked yet so I’m positive of doing really well and hopefully making the final in Daegu.”

Gateshead Harrier Stacey, 21, had a ten-metre lead from the gun, passed 400m in a swift 63.10 and enjoyed a fifteen-metre advantage at the 900m mark (after hitting 800m in 2:11.81 following a 68.71 lap) but paid the prize for her over-zealous pacing as she drifted back in the final 200m to finish only fourth after being passed by Barbara Parker (4: 12.19 to Stacey’s 4:13.47).

The Mick Woods-coached runner – who was only ninth in this race last year - explained:

“I just didn’t want it to be a slow-run race and I tried my hardest.”

Having placed third in heat one in 4:18.27 the day before, the European under23 Championship seventh-place finisher continued:

“I died a bit near the end but at least I made it a true-run race and now I’d really like to get the ‘A’ standard for the World’s or at least go to China for the World Student Games next month.”

Vale Royal AC’s Stevie Stockton was pleased to finish fifth in 4:15.71 after placing twelfth last year and finishing third in the European under23 5,000m Championship earlier this month.

The 21-year-old George Gandy-coached runner positioned herself in tenth place for much of the race before strongly surging through the pack on the final lap.

“It went alright as I’ve not had many opportunities to race over 1500m this year.”

Having won the second heat in 4:21.76, she continued:

“I had a cold last week and I felt quite lethargic but I held it together quite well and I’m really happy to finish fifth.”

Havering Mayesbrook’s 27-year-old Faye Fullerton finished in seventh with 4:22.31 after an injury-ravaged winter and summer.

Racing in around fourth position for the first half of the race, the Mick Woods-guided runner improved on tenth from the 2010 event and said afterwards:

“After an Achilles injury in the winter, then a back problem and a torn calf recently, I was glad to be in the final.”

Having placed fourth in heat two in 4:22.63, she continued:

“I’m just going to get my base sorted to hopefully have a strong winter to do well next year.”

Gemma Kersey enjoyed an encouraging senior championship debut when placing eighth in 4:22.66 after holding up the rear of the pack for much of the race.

The 19-year-old Basildon runner, who is coached by Eamonn Martin, scorched to an impressive 4:20.44 personal best in her heat and qualified for the final as a fastest loser.

A delighted Gemma explained afterwards:

“I’m really pleased to get to the final and run a PB yesterday. To back it up with a 4:22 shows I’m definitely in form but I want to gain on this experience next year.”

In the women’s 400m B final, Shelayna Oskan finished a fine third with a solid 54.21 clocking on day two (Saturday) of the competition.

The 21-year-old Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow athlete led the field with 200m remaining but was passed down the home-straight by Mica Nottingham (53.85) and Gemma Nicol (53.91).

Guided by Ayo Falola, Oskan – who set a 53.61 PB when finishing runner-up in the English Championships earlier this month – ran 54.32 to finish fourth in heat one the previous day.

Women’s 800m:

Day one (Friday) heat results:

Emma Jackson led the way by winning heat three in a comfortable 2:09.35 to progress to Saturday evening’s semi-final stage.

Charlotte Best was another to progress with ease when placing runner-up in heat two in 2:08.43 whilst Tara Bird finished in second place in heat four with a 2:08.46 clocking.

Leigh Lennon continued the impressive number of OCWK athletes to impress when placing third in heat four with 2:09.64 and Rachael Thompson finished in the same position in heat three with 2:09.88.

Qualifying for the two-lap semi-finals as a fastest loser, Ejiro Okoro finished sixth in heat one in 2:10.27.

Of those unlucky to reach the next stage of the competition, Carolyn Plateau was the most unfortunate when placing a credible fourth in heat three with a 2:10.86 clocking, whilst Dani Christmas – in her first race of the season and on the comeback from injury - finished only fifth in heat four in 2:11.07.

Lucy Dowsett’s curious below-par form continued as she had to settle for fifth position in heat two in 2:11.16.

Day two (Saturday) semi-final results:

Emma Jackson continued her dominance with a swift semi-final two victory in 2:03.12.

Charlotte Best also progressed to tomorrow evening’s final when finishing third in semi-final one with a 2:04.02 clocking.

Just missing out on a place in the final by three-tenths of a second, Tara Bird finished fourth in semi-final one with 2:05.44.

Others to have their participation in the event curtailed were Leigh Lennon, who was sixth in semi-final one with 2:08.64, Rachael Thompson, who finished eighth in semi-final two in 2:10.30 and Ejiro Okoro who placed eighth in semi-final one in 2:11.60.

Men’s 800m:

Day one (Friday) heats results:

Andrew Osagie took control to win heat five with ease in 1:51.53 and Ed Aston finished third in heat one in 1:53.79.

Also progressing to the semi-final stage on Saturday afternoon was Chris Smith who placed fourth in heat one in 1:53.83.

Day two (Saturday) semi-final results:

Andrew Osagie asserted his intention to win the UK title tomorrow evening by taking heat two by the scruff of the neck from the outset to win in 1:48.26.

Ed Aston and Chris Smith, meanwhile, failed to further progress when placing third and sixth in heat one, with 1:49.36 and 1:50.69 respectively.

Men’s 1500m:

Day two (Saturday) heats results:

Mark Mitchell took the victory in heat one with a 3:47.27 clocking, whilst Kris Gauson and Phillip Hurst finished in second and third in heat three and two in times of 3:44.50 and 3:44.90, respectively to all qualify for tomorrow evening’s final.

James Brewer, meanwhile, qualified as a fastest loser after finishing fourth in heat two in 3:45.40.

Of those to miss out on progressing were David Forrester, who placed seventh in heat two in 3:46.95 and Robbie Farnham-Rose, who finished tenth in heat one with 3:57.60.

Day three finals tomorrow evening: women’s 800m, men’s 800m, women’s 1500m, men’s 1500m, women’s 5,000m and men’s 5,000m.