Monday, 11 February 2013

Strong Euro Promise on Trials Day Two


10 February 2013

Day two of the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships witnessed several athletes with intentions of grabbing a European medal in Gothenburg next month succeed in asserting
their dominance.

Robbie Grabarz (Coach: Fayyaz Ahmed), Nigel Levine (Linford Christie), Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) and Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) enjoyed fine performances as they continue to hone their preparations for the continental championship.

Now assured a place on the GB & NI squad for the Swedish event three-weeks from now, the rest of Britain’s best must wait to hear of selection until Tuesday 19 February. 

Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz leapt 2.31m to win the high jump by nine centimetres to show he is rounding into Gothenburg-winning form.

The 25-year-old European champion passed the 2.33m mark to attempt the British record of 2.39m and almost successfully cleared it on his third and final attempt.

In second, Italian guest Marco Fassinotti jumped 2.22m as did Allan Smith (Bryan Roy), who took the silver a fortnight after setting a 2.23m Scottish record in Glasgow. 

Grabarz explained afterwards:

“I’ve never had the indoor title so that was my target today and then come in and try to get the world lead. It wasn’t too bad but I was just running too fast so it was the same story as always. It was only my second competition so to be jumping that high is pretty good.

“I’m ready to try and break the record. I’ve been training hard, I’ve not done too many competitions indoors so I know that when I come out I’m ready to go and today showed that.”

In arguably the most competitive event of the championship, Nigel Levine stamped his authority to comfortably win the 400m final in a 46.73 season’s best.

The 2012 winner and Olympic semi-finalist stormed clear of Richard Strachan (Linford Christie) and Michael Bingham (George Harrison), who registered 46.95 and 47.04 for silver and bronze,

Levine revealed after his exertions:

“I was just running. I don’t feel in that much kind of a shape but it is what it is.

“I’m happy to get another national title, my third time.”

Reigning one-lap winner Margaret Adeoye scorched to an impressive 23.22 victory in the 200m final, ahead of Olympic 400m silver-medalist Christine Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan), who honed her speed-work with a swift 23.58 season’s best in second place.

The 27-year-old Adeoye said:

“I’m happy, I’ve trained really hard this year after the Olympics so things are going well.

Olympic 400m hurdles semi-finalist Eilidh Child captured her first UK indoor crown with a 52.13 clocking ahead of Olympic 400m semi-finalist Shana Cox (Lloyd Cowan), who recorded a 52.97 season’s best in second.

A day after registering a new Scottish record of 52.06, Child explained afterwards:

“I’m over the moon, I just wanted to win it. I’ve had so many silvers at UK Championships before so it’s great to finally get a gold.

“It’s been a great weekend for me. I was a bit worried about how I’d run today after having a hard run last night. I’m happy that I’ve came out and done two solid races back to back.”

In the triple jump, Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) retained her national indoor crown with a 13.44m best effort.

The 40-year-old World indoor champion and Olympic fifth-placer said:

“It feels good to defend the title. Winning is always good. I wasn’t happy with the distance, but I’m coming back slowly after the surgery that I had at the end of September. Training is going really well though.

“I think I will be fully fit for Gothenburg. All that matters there is that you deliver on the day.”

Meanwhile, Laura Muir (Andy Young) cemented her place on the European squad by winning the 1500m final in fine style.

Clocking 4:13.59, the 19-year-old breakthrough athlete of the season strode clear of the field with 500m remaining and finished ahead of Rosie Clarke (Michael Firth) and Melissa McCourtney, who both set personal bests of 4:17.09 and 4:17.57 in second and third, respectively. 

In one of the biggest shocks of the afternoon, Matthew Fayers (Stevan Dokic) ensured his senior British Championship debut was an occasion to remember in sprinting to a dramatic 3:47.77 victory in the 1500m.

It was a personal best for the 18-year-old, who this time last year was claiming the English under20 title and behind, Lee Emmanuel (Ronnie Warhurst) and Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) took the minor medals with 3:48.28 and 3:48.34, respectively.

Last year’s four-lap champion, Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) won a tight battle to retain his 800m crown with European outdoor semi-finalist Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohammed), clocking 1:48.55 to the latter’s 1:48.55

In claiming victory, the 25-year-old from Cardiff asserted his return from injury in 2012 and pushed Mohammed to a new personal best in the process.

On the in-field, Olympic and World indoor fifth-placer, Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) upgraded his 2012 silver to gold in the pole vault final with a solid 5.50m best leap, ahead of runner-up Luke Cutts
(Trevor Fox) who cleared a 5.35m season’s best.

Irish athlete Claire Tarplee (Bill Foster) edged nearer to the European standard with a significant 2:03.66 personal best to take a surprise 800m victory.

A day after reducing her best to 2:07.24, Tarplee reeled in the fading reigning champion, Marilyn Okoro (Nick Anderson) who appeared to almost collapse with just 15-metres remaining.

Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) clocked a 2:03.88 personal best in second place, as the first five finishers all registered lifetime best performances.

European outdoor finalist Chris Clarke (Steve Fudge) took the men’s equivalent with a fine 20.96 personal best ahead of Andre Wright (Harry King), who improved from fourth place last year to take the silver a day after finishing fifth in the 60m final with a 21.29 personal best.

Irish Olympic 100m hurdles semi-finalist Derval O’Rourke claimed the 60m hurdles win as a guest with an 8.11 season’s best ahead of champion, Sarah Claxton (Martey Newman), who clocked 8.16 for the silver medal.

Scott Rider (John Hillier) took his third-consecutive shot put victory with an 18.59m personal best to equal the UK-leading mark of the season.

The 35-year-old was followed by 2012 runner-up Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) with an outright personal best of 18.50m.

Back on the track, Lauren Howarth (Peter Riley) destroyed the 3,000m field and smashed her outright personal best on her indoor debut with a fine 8:56.48 clocking to take the gold.

The 22-year-old finished clear of Emily Stewart (Ian Whyte) and Jessica Judd (Rob Denmark), who sped to 9:08.47 and 9:14.71 personal bests in second and third, respectively. 

Dominique Blaize (Julie Hollman) took the long jump win with a 6.29m season’s best ahead of Jade Surman (Femi Akinsanya), who leapt a 6.19m personal best.

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