Monday, 11 February 2013

Bleasdale’s World Lead Heads Trials Day One


9 February 2013

An immensely talented trio asserted themselves ahead of next months’ continental championships in Sheffield today, as the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships graced the English Institute of Sport-Sheffield once again.

Pole-vaulter Holly Bleasdale (coach: Dan Pfaff/Scott Simpson) soared to a world-leading 4.77m in claiming her third UK indoor title, whilst sprint pair Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) and James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) sped to scintillating 7.15 and 6.58 60m victories. 

With their eyes set on qualifying for the GB & NI squad for the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg in three-weeks’ time, the nation’s finest arrived in south Yorkshire with the aim of finishing in the top-two with the qualifying standard in their event in order to guarantee automatic selection for the Swedish event.

In the women’s pole-vault final, Holly Bleasdale jumped a stunning world-leading 4.77m to claim her third title.

The 21-year-old reigning champion first cleared 4.50m on her second attempt, 4.65m at her first and then went onto challenging a remarkable height of 4.90m on three challenging occasions.

A world indoor bronze medallist and now arguably the red-hot favourite for gold in Gothenburg, a
delighted Bleasdale exclaimed afterwards:

“It was really fun today. I felt really confident in my warm up and I was blowing through all my poles so I knew that I could be on big poles today. I was really happy when I cleared 4.77m on my last attempt, I didn’t quite hook things up how I’d like to but I can’t complain with 4.77m and I know that once I hook everything up I’ll be in a good place.

“It gives me a lot of confidence, I’ve got a few more competitions now and every time I compete I get stronger. I can put all the things I’m doing in training into the competitions and I’m getting better and better at that as I compete. I’m looking forward to getting a few more competitions in before I go to Gothenburg.”

Replicating her silver medal from 2012, Katie Byres (Julien Raffalli-Ebezant) cleared 4.20m ahead of Zoe Brown (James Alexander) who also leapt a best of 4.20m for bronze.

World indoor semi-finalist Asha Philip set the track alight in the 60m final with a scintillating 7.15 stadium record and the third-fastest British time ever.

The 22-year-old took her second win in as many years and pushed Annabelle Lewis (Roger Walters) and Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) into second and third with 7.33 and 7.37, respectively.

Now in a very favorable position for continental gold, Philip – who here progressed from 7.36 and 7.21 in the rounds - revealed:

“I’m so happy that I’ve managed to time my championships perfectly. I sometimes peak in the semis and this time I said I was going to relax, then go hard in the final, and that’s what I did.

“I’ve been working my socks off because I’ve got such a bad history of injuries, breaking my leg and so on, so it feels great to have come out and run as fast as I did. I’m happy that I’m on top of my game.

“I’m going to go to the Euros and I’m going to try to aim for a medal.”

For Lewis, the silver medal marked a big improvement from fifth place last year, while Onuora enjoyed a season’s best.

Further back in seventh, Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) clocked a 7.40 personal best and others
of note included long-jumper Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) and Olympic 400m runner-up Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) with 7.62 and 7.51 in the semi-final stage.

Olympic 100m semi-finalist James Dasaolu edged further inside the European qualifying mark with a speedy 6.58 victory in the 60m final.

The 25-year-old’s lifetime best came after a 6.67 semi-final win and ensured 2012 bronze medallist Harry Aikines-Ayreetey (Rana Reider) had to settle for silver, courtesy of a 6.69 season’s best.

On his fine exertions, Dasaolu said:

“I’m really pleased to book my place for Gothenburg. I was a bit worried after my semi-final when I didn’t get a good start but I knew that as long as I got my start right I’d have a really good chance and to get a new PB as well, so I’m happy.

“I’m pleased with the time, I’d like to have gone a little bit quicker but I’m happy. I want to get a medal at the European Indoor Championships, obviously I’m going to have to go on the lower side of 6.50 but that’s my goal.”

In third, Sean Safo-Antwi (Jonas Tawaiah-Dodoo) clocked 6.69.

Gianni Frankis (Tony Jarrett) upgraded his silver medal from last year to gold this time in the 60m hurdles final.

The 24-year-old capitalised on the form which took him to a fine 7.67 personal best in Austria last month to register 7.73 from Allan Scott (Stuart Hogg)’s 7.76 in second.

The 30-year-old pipped 2012 fourth-placer Nick Gayle (Lloyd Cowan), who clocked 7.79 for bronze.
UK outdoor champion Andrew Pozzi (Malcolm Arnold) was the quickest in qualifying with an eye-catching 7.62 but failed to contest the final due to a hamstring pull.

In the triple jump final, Commonwealth champion Tosin Oke claimed the crown with an impressive 16.87m leap to add to his 2010 victory.

The 32-year-old Olympic seventh-placer jumped consistently with 16.44m and 16.68m in the first and third rounds, respectively before fouling his final three attempts but his best effort in round two was enough to take the win.

Kola Adedoyin (Frank Atttoh) registered a 16.50m personal best to take the silver medal for the second-consecutive year, while his training partner, Michael Puplampu also replicated his 2012 performance with bronze and a personal best mark (16.43m).

2012 bronze medallist Matthew Burton (John Herbert) took the scalp of Olympic sixth-placer Chris Tomlinson (Rana Reider) in claiming the long jump final.

The 25-year-old leapt 7.94m ahead of Tomlinson’s 7.88m with each athlete enjoying a consistent series of jumps.

Dan Bramble (Larry Achike), meanwhile, finished third with 7.80m.

In the women’s high-jump final, 2012 silver medalist Emma Perkins (Fayyaz Ahmed) won a tough battle with 15-year-old Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake).

The 27-year-old from Worthing enjoyed a best height of 1.81m and took victory on count-back, having cleared the mark on her second-attempt in comparison to Lake’s third-time clearance.

Meanwhile, Lake – the British u17 heptathlon record-holder - improved her lifetime best by a single centimeter and cleared 1.78m at her first attempt. Like Perkins, she also went on to challenge the 1.84m mark on three occasions.

Taking the bronze medal after finishing sixth last year, Edinburgh’s Jayne Nisbet (Emily Parker) cleared 1.78m.

David Bishop (James Thie) got the better of cross-country specialist Tom Humphries in the 3,000m final with the former taking gold in a 8:06.98 season’s best from 8:07.11.

Moving up one place from 2012, Phillip Hurst (Martin Crowe) clocked 8:07.28 to take the bronze medal.

Back on the in-field, Rachel Wallader (Geoff Capes) improved from fourth place last year to take the shot put title with a 16.19m throw.

Shaunaugh Brown (John Hillier) took silver with 16.07m, while British under20 record-holder Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes) claimed the bronze medal with a 15.76m throw.

In the men’s 60m hurdles B final, Jake Porter (Andy Paul) won with 8.11, as David Feeney claimed silver with an 8.19 season’s best and Ashley Johnson (Kay Reynolds) took bronze (8.25).
Olympic 400m hurdles semi-finalist Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) flew to a Scottish record-breaking 52.06 to reach tomorrow’s 400m final as the fastest qualifier by almost two clear seconds.

Behind, Olympic 400m semi-finalist Shana Cox (Lloyd Cowan) registered 53.97 to also progress.

In the men’s equivalent, Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) heads into the final of one of the most fiercely-competitive events of the weekend as the fastest qualifier.

The 2012 winner and Olympic semi-finalist stormed to a 46.95 clocking in his semi-final and lies ahead of training partner Richard Strachan (Linford Christie – 46.99).

Last year’s silver medalist Michael Bingham (George Harrison) and three-time champion Richard Buck (Steve Fudge) were others to notably impress with 47.26 and 47.28, respectively,

European outdoor semi-finalist Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed) sped to top of the pile of qualifiers for tomorrow’s 800m final with a swift 1:49.84 clocking in winning the third heat.

The 22-year-old Sheffield runner evidently enjoyed competing to the home crowd support and looked
comfortable, while 2012 silver medalist Guy Learmonth (George Gandy) registered the second-quickest time of the day with 1:50.47 with first-place in heat one. 

Also striding into the four-lap final was last year’s victor, Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) in 1:51.53 and British U17 record-holder Sean Molloy (Mark Hookway) with a 1:54.61 clocking.

Elsewhere, Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) and Lee Emanuel (Ronnie Warhurst) were the fastest qualifiers ahead of tomorrow’s 1500m final with 3:48.66 and 3:48.69, respectively.

One of the favourites did however fail to qualify, as British under20 record-holder Matthew McLaughlin (Ayo Falola) fell mid-race.

Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) and Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola) were the fastest qualifiers for tomorrow’s 800m final with a 2:05.83 and 2:06.11 season’s best, respectively.

Nineteen-year-old Laura Muir (Andy Young) qualified fastest for tomorrow’s 1500m final with a comfortable 4:24.71 clocking.

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