Archive for July, 2011


Listen Live from BBC Radio 5 LIVE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_five_live

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Live Results:

http://www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series/aviva-uk-trials-uk-championships/discipline-list/

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I wonder whether Mo Farah sweated his vest in that strolling 14:00.72 round the ‘park’ at the Brum, felt more like a Bolt-esque parade on the track but in competitive conditions. The man is really being adored in the wake of his amazing string of wins on the circuit and he deserves it all!

Andy Vernon got second in 14:01.72 but there was another missed chance of chasing a B standard and the ship looks like sailing away… Also, just 12 men started the race… Why such a low number of entries?

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Christian Malcolm conquers yet another British title over 200m edging past in the second half of the race to a 20.86 secs into a -1.6m/sec headwind. Anyway, don’t read anything into that, the man is back to his very best and capable of drawing down to at least the low 20 secs.

Christian Malcolm just misses out on gold in Barcelona, can he improve on that form this season?

James Ellington holds on to a priceless second place in 20.91 secs to also reserve his place on the plane to Daegu while Luke Fagan gets a rather surprising third from the outside in 21 secs dead.

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Jenny Meadows has won her first ever – yes, that’s definitely some news! – UK title by turning on a searing sub 59 secs second lap to draw away from a quality field in an eventual 2:02.48 over 800m at the Brum, with Emma Jackson surging past a scrambling Marilyn Okoro into second in 2:02.48 to 2:03.55 and boost her chances of selection.

Yet, both places behind Meadows are up for grabs and it looks destined to go the very end with Jemma Simpson also coming into the fray at Crystal Palace on Sunday. Should be some tussle!

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Martyn Rooney takes pole position in the battle for qualification as he comes through strong in the second half of the race to convincingly win in a big SB of 45.45 secs ahead of a resurgent Chris Clarke who picks up where he left off in the semis to grab the runner-up spot in a SB of 45.61 secs, also a second B. Given the conditions, I’m confident that both can run inside the required 45.25 secs that shapes the A benchmark for selection.

Martyn Rooney comes through in the late stages to claim the 400m title

Dai Greene surges through for third in a big PB of 45.82 secs to pip Richard Strachan to the line, the latter setting 45.85 secs, as Luke Lennon-Ford came fifth in 46.02 and Richard Buck sixth in 46.10 – Rob Tobin did not finish, hope there’s nothing wrong with him there.

Nice to see Michael Bingham and Nigel Levine picking themselves up after yesterday’s disappointments of missing out on the big final to fight it ought down the home straight and finished tied in 45.91 secs, the European silver medalist getting the photofinish verdict. He’s got still a week on his hands and a lot can happen still.

In third place, decathlete Daniel Awde shattered his PB into 46.04 secs, which must be the fastest ever set by a Brit multi-eventer in history, even better than Dean Macey‘s 46.21 secs in Edmonton in 2001.

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Goldie Sayers wins that javelin final hands down at 60.57m to formally seal her place but Laura Whittingham didn’t eventually show up. Hopefully, she can get that much needed second B standard and join Goldie on the trip there.

There was another knife-edge duel that went all the way to the wire in the men’s 110m hurdles but surprisingly favourite William Sharman wasn’t involved in it and now could face an anxious time until he can finally secure his place on the British team.

Lawrence Clarke equaled his two-hour old PB of 13.58 (-0.8m/sec), a second B for Daegu, to nick victory by a mere hundredth ahead of a very strong Gianni Frankis, who also gets a second B standard in 13.59 secs. The qualification race is well on in this one!

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Anyika Onuora comes closer to add a slot in the 200m to her already earned 100m place as she wins the women’s 200m in 23.26 secs into a -0.8m/sec headwind, with Abi Oyepitan a distant second in 23.57 and Margaret Adeoye in 23.59. Following such a heat, that was a let-down from Oyepitan…

Two time Olympic finalist Larry Achike got off to a promising opener of a SB at 16.83m (0.6m/sec), a mere 2cm shy of the B standard, but after a foul at the second attempt he called it quits – hope he didn’t get any injury or something… New UK long jump champion Justin Reid was second on 16.53m (0.2m/sec).

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Perri Shakes-Drayton reigns supreme at the Brum as she wraps up a historic 400m flat/hurdles double in 55.52 through a strong finish in the late stages, comfortably holding off Eilidh Child who comes runner-up in 56.48 and Meghan Beesley third in 57.52 secs. I feel that Perri has definitely to be named as the performer of these UK Trials!

Holly Bleasdale keeps sweeping all before her as she comfortably won the UK senior title over 4.56m before failing three times at a would-be new UK record of 4.71m. Kate Dennison, as expected, was a firm second at 4.40m.

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James Shane has destroyed the field, involving former Dream Mile Winner Andy Baddeley, in the men’s 1500m to run away with victory in a huge PB of 3:36.22, a B standard for Daegu and close to the A. Hopefully, he can find a fast race abroad as he looks definitely in around 3:33-34 shape and nail his place rather than leave it until the last moment in the Emsley Car Mile at Crystal Palace.

A deflated Baddeley comes a distant second in 3:39.44 and Nick McCormick is third in 3:41.66. James Brewer couldn’t cope with two straight races to come last in 3:50.68 but hopefully he will gain his strength and full form fast down the rest of the season.

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Tom Parsons has won a very competitive and tightest good quality high jump on countdown from European bronze medalist Martyn Bernard and Rob Grabarz at 2.28m, a B standard for all. Parsons has got an A of 2.31m from indoors but the other two need to grab a second one in the remaining week up to the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace.

Samson Oni suffered a poor outing as he could not manage higher than 2.16m and there was a first appearance for Olympic silver medalist Germaine Mason, just over 2.12m, who looks to have a long way to go until he recovers his full form – but it’s great to see him back in the arena. Another familiar figure from the long past down there was former European U23 champion Ben Challenger who cleared a SB of 2.12m.

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Zac Seddon, who was fifth over 2000m SC at the World Youth Champs in Lille, has delivered a superb performance in the men’s 3000m final over the barriers as he came sixth in a massive PB of 8:54.96 to underline his great promise for the future. His previous mark stood at ‘just’ 9:23.60 before this race! If I’m not mistaken, that has to be the fastest ever by an U18 in Britain!

Luke Gunn was a convincing winner in a SB and UK-leading 8:40.19, U23 James Wilkinson – the European U20 silver medalist in 2009 – was second in a substantial PB of 8:42.86, Mark Draper returned over the barriers with a PB of 8:42.89, Jon Taylor was  fourth in also a PB of 8:48.57 and Tom Doe fifth in a PB of 8:51.92… Now they’ve got to find themselves some faster races and a brace of B standards within a week, not an easy task at all…

Lennie Waite was the women’s winner earlier on in 10:03.18..

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There are three men over 2.28m in the men’s high jump led by Tom Parsons, with Martyn Bernard (SB) and Rob Grabarz (equal PB) following through, so it is winding up into a thriller!

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Shara Proctor has earned her first UK title with a 6.65m (0.3m/sec) leap in the fifth round as Lorraine Ugen grabbed a PB of 6.54m (0.7m/sec) for second, Jessica Ennis was third with a SB of 6.44m and Amy Harris puts up a decent display at a SB of 6.42m (0.3m/sec) – some glimmers of hope on the horizon for a full revival of the event!

Phillips Idowu said earlier on that he has had a tough week of training so opted to sit out the Trials and get the weekend off.

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Some glimmers of hope for a rise in the standard of the women’s long jump as behind hot favourite Shara Proctor, who’s leading comfortably with 6.65m, 19-year-old Lorraine Ugen has apparently set a new lifetime best of 6.54m that will make up to a degree for a disappointing display at the European U23 Champs.

Jessica Ennis has equalled her PB of 6.44m despite employing a new shorter experimental run-up, so her five-stage weekend simulation of a heptathlon is coming off with flying colours, and Amy Harris is putting up a decent outing at 6.40m at the moment.

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World and European champion Phillips Idowu won’t be competing in the men’s triple jump final later on – don’t think it’s anything worrying, he didn’t need to anyway. I don’t know, though, whether that has got to do with his ongoing rift with Charles van Commennee

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Abi Oyepitan looks to get it together when it matters as she goes through to the women’s 200m final the most impressive in 23.38 secs into a -1.0m/sec headwind from the last heat. Margaret Adeoye and Joice Maduaka qualify from the second heat in 23.77 and 23.88 secs into a -2.6m/sec wind, and Anyika Onuora the first in 23.84 from Hayley Jones in 23.92 secs in the first (-2.3m/sec).

The big shock of the preliminary round of the men’s 200m is the elimination of Marlon Devonish especially after gaining a sound foothold in qualification over 100m coming third in 10.14 secs yesterday. He finishes second to Richard Kilty in 21.12 secs (-1.2m/sec) in the opening heat and can’t make it through as a fastest loser. Hopefully, there’s no case of an injury or something.

Christian Malcolm coasts through in style in 21.01 into a -1.4m/sec in the following heat ahead of Danny Talbot, who still makes it as a fastest loser in 21..08 secs, James Ellington catches the eye in 20.85 secs (0.2m/sec) to win the third from Luke Fagan (20.94), also making a fastest loser, Harry Aikines-Ayreety gets the fourth in 21.27 secs (-0.7m/sec) and Commonwealth champion Leon Baptiste the fifth in 21.01 secs (-0.1m/sec) ahead of Ricky Fifton, last fastest loser in 21.10 secs.

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The upset has been completed in the men’s discus as Abdul Buhari walks out a proud new UK champion with that 63.32m to book his place on the team to Daegu, as does ‘old dog’ Carl Myerscough holds on to the second effective qualifying place with that 61.63m.

That causes serious headache for the selectors who will have to pick between Welsh record holder Brett Morse, who came a narrow third at 61.57m, and new European U23 champion and No4 in the world rankings Lawrence Okoye who couldn’t get higher than fifth with just 58.67m – it seems it could all go to the wire!

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Lawrence Clarke eases through as fastest qualifier into the final in a PB of 13.58 secs (-0.7m/sec) in the third and final heat that also serves as a second B qualifier for Daegu – he’s very close to taking that trip now.

William Sharman gets the second in 13.88 secs into a -0.6m/sec headwind and Gianni Frankis the opening in 13.78 secs into a -1.1m/sec wind, with Julian Adeniran and Andy Pozzi following tied in 13.98 secs – a PB for the youngster who goes through as a fastest loser.

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Brett Morse moves second with 61.57m but Abdul Buhari responds with a big lead of 63.32m and gets a solid foothold at the top of the discus final – could he upset the two big names?

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Carl Myerscough may have gone with the fourth furthest mark of 65.04m into that much anticipated discus final but he is a man who knows well his way round the ropes and carves out an early lead of 61.63m in his first effort. The big boys, Brett Morse and European U23 champion Lawrence Okoye, are quite low at the moment below 60m and Abdul Buhari is up in second with 60.57m.

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Tom Bosworth has got the third and final day of the UK Trials to a rolling start as he sets a new British record of 19:27.87 over 5km of race walking, obliterating his PB of 20:17.6 set earlier this month, at the Brum in Birmingham. It will be interesting to see how he translates that into the 20km where he holds a PB of 1:27:18 set in Dublin last month.

Commonwealth champion Jo Jackson follows on shortly to clinch the women’s title in a SB of 21:42.32 over the same distance.

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World and European multi-eventer champion Jessica Ennis enters the scene of the UK Trials as she is embarking on a five-stage simulation of a heptathlon across the weekend as a dress-rehearsal in view of the defence of her title in Daegu.

For that matter, it could work up to six stages if coach Toni Minichiello convinces her of doing an 800m time trial after the Trials, as he tweeted in a banter yesterday, while the only discipline that looks out of the reckoning for the weekend is the 200m.

Women’s Shot

Jessica’s weekend venture gets off to the shot where she will be aiming to go over 14m for the first time outdoors this season and hopefully challenge her 14.61m total PB from the indoor term. A very interesting figure and a look at the future among competitors will be World Youth silver medalist Sophie McKinna, a recent PB of 15.71m, that comes in with a shout at something over 16m.

Discus specialist Eden Francis (16.68 PB), improving Rachael Wallader (16.28 PB) and Rebecca Peake (16.16) ought to decide between them the three medals on offer.

Women’s 400m hurdles

With Beijing bronze medalist Tasha Danvers sitting out the season, qualification will turn a formality with three athletes fulfilling the criteria available for three places on offer if European finalist Eilidh Child (55.67) steers inside the A standard of 55.40 secs, and on her current form and a recent huge PB of 52.28 secs over the flat she promises well more than that and could even surge under 55 secs.

Competitionwise, though, the event has all the ingredients of a highlight as Perri Shakes-Drayton (54.77) has shown in superb form and poised to break through into the 53 secs territory, flowing on the track, so will be the undisputed favourite to clinch the title, quite likely her second in the championships.

Nevertheless, the 400m flat final the previous day may have taken something off her strength and in-form surging Child will be lurking to pounce on a potential opening, so this could turn into a very competitive affair.

Meghan Beesley has enjoyed a great season as yet capped with a European U23 bronze medal in a big PB of 55.69, holds the required two B standards and consequently high hopes of being selected for Daegu.

Men’s Javelin

James Campbell started the season strongly as he reached a B standard of 80.18m, topping the UK lists, early in the season but instead of building on that his formed has faltered badly and he needs to rediscover that edge before it’s too late – and time is ruthlessly running out. At the same time, Lee Doran (77.54 PB) rises as the man in form and a slight favourite to edge the competition.

Third-ranked Matt Hunt is out injured so U23 Dan Pembroke (75.89 PB) along with tentatively returning Merwyn Luckwell (75.35) will be the main contenders for bronze.

Men’s Long Jump

Both Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford will be missing due to minor injuries, though expected to be back in action shortly, so the way is wide open for recently Jamaican-turned-Brit Julian Reid to land his first domestic title. Nevertheless, his mind will be set more on landing on the right side of the B standard (8.10) that he is lying an agonizing 2cm shy of (8.08 PB).

JJ Jegede could offer some decent competition on a SB of 7.82m and U23 Paul Oluyemi is a latest surprise on a recent PB of 7.71m to sneak a medal.

Men’s 400m

It has been a strange season for the event as none of the two European medalists and regular sub 45 men, Michael Bingham (45.42) and Martyn Rooney (45.63), have set the scene alight so far although the latter has shown signs of a swift recovery of form in his last two outings.

Neverthleless, I’ve got a feeling that all that is about to change this weekend at the Brum and I’m looking to both to step up their game and fight it out all the way for the UK title and inside the A qualification territory. Further, European 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene will be out there to test them and it could come down to a matter of flat vs hurdler pride between them to push each other to fast times.

That said, the picture of the event admittedly looks blurry at the moment and could be more likely to clear up next weekend at Crystal Palace. There are many men gathered behind that will be eyeing that third individual place on offer which makes for a wide open contest where many things could happen, but Richard Strachan holds a slight advantage as the only one with two B standards (twice 45.70 PB).

Luke Lennon-Ford, Rob Tobin, Andrew Steele, European U23 champion Nigel Levine, Conrad Williams and Richard Buck all come in with a shout and will be also keen on a relay spot. Hopefully, Chris Clarke could stage a good comeback to form as well.

Women’s 100m hurdles

This is Jessica Ennis’s second stop of the day where she will be taking on burgeoning Tiffany Offili-Porter, who comes to the UK Trials on the back of a huge UK record and fifth fastest in the world 12.60 secs in Monaco.

While this could be dubbed as a cutthroat head-to-head encounter a few months ago, the latter has come a long way and spared plenty of daylight on her domestic rival since and will be looking to seal her place in style. Ennis, all the same, is the ultimate competitor and is going to chase hard and never relinguish her efforts down to the wire, never knowing when she is defeated, so this could turn into a real race should the former American doesn’t perform to form.

Gemma Bennett and Angie Broadbelt-Blake will engage in a separate incorporated race for third, with an eye to dipping inside the B qualifying territory, and Ashley Helshby will be hoping to pick off someone of the above and sneak into the top four.

Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton is missing and Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell will be looking for a nice workout.

Women’s Discus

This is very much turns into a duel between Jade Nicholls and Eden Francis with plenty at stake that has all the ingredients of an exciting and gripping affair from beginning to the very end. Both hold a single B standard apiece and need to replicate that to be considered but only one could make her way to Daegu so the win will be vital as well.

Nicholls holds a firm upper hand as she has beaten her rival every time out this season and has got a substantial lead of a PB of 60.76m compared to Francis’s 59.72, also a PB, but a turn of tables could shift the balance the other way round.

Philippa Roles hasn’t displayed form sufficient to pose a real threat and is the best bet for third.

Women’s High Jump

Stop No3 for Ennis here where she will be looking to at least better her SB of 1.91m from Gotzis early in the season and Steph Pywell could provide some good needed opposition to push her higher on her recent SB of 1.88m.

Men’s Pole Vault

Steve ‘Air’ Lewis lies head and shoulders above the rest but has failed to translate his form into heights and he needs to get going at some point as the World Championships are approaching fast. He holds about four B standards topping at 5.62m so can gain selection on this ground but things could get complicated if Max Eaves could pull something out of his hat like he did in Delhi last October and has vaulted over 5.61m indoors at that.

Luke Cutts has got a B under his belt from indoors but hasn’t competed since May and there will be a serious question mark hanging over his fitness here.

Men’s 1500m

Although the event has reaped plenty of success at U23 and U20 level on the international stage, seniors have been struggling for form and James Shane was called upon to pull the chessnuts out of the fire at the European Team Championships in Stockholm where he turned more than equal to a daunting task.

Since then, he has been coming along awesomely to win a superb silver at the recent European U23 Championships in Ostrava and looks as though he could dip under the A standard as well – Frenchman Carvalho, the man who narrowly beat him to gold, ran 3:33.60 a week later if it is anything to go by. Therefore, I’m going to tip him to lift the UK senior title on top of that as he has displayed the required consistency, he is tactically sound and a pretty fast finisher as well.

By stark contrast, Andy Baddeley‘s form has looked as troublesome as his tactics and his last outing in Barcelona where the dragged round the track in last in 3:46.56 has raised serious questions while Tom Lancashire is still sidelined and could hardly make it in time with a little over a week to spare on the deadline.

Nick McCormick has been consistent all season and could figure high, a SB of 3:37.00, and one should keep an eye on swiftly returning and tactically astute James Brewer, where Colin McCourt will be a dark horse.

Women’s Hammer

Sophie Hitchon has all but booked her place on the plane to Daegu by way of two B standards, coupling as UK records as well, and a fabulous bronze at the European U23 Championships and just needs a solid performance to wrap it up.

The only one capable of drawing a lifeline is Sarah Holt, who had a big foul recently, but it will take a hell lot to deny Hitchon that priceless place on the British team.

Christine Ohuruogu and Perri Shakes-Drayton have comfortably qualified through their heats in winning ways in the women’s 400m to set up a mouth-watering clash in the final tomorrow, turning in the two fastest times in the process, but Jack Green was forced to withdraw from the men’s 400m hurdles battle through illness to see his hopes of gaining an individual berth for Daegu all but end.

In fact, Olympic champion Ohuruogu went off to a blinder of a start (reaction 0.121) that even top sprinters would be green with envy of to gain a swift hold of the fourth and final heat before easing to a 52.08 secs win, her second fastest this season, but one should also take note of Lee McConnell‘s close finish in 52.23 secs for a comprehensive second suggesting that she could pose a danger – her sixth B qualifier come to that!

In the previous heat, European 400m hurdles bronze medalist Shakes-Drayton had easily dominated in an even more striking manner in 52.19 secs to spare plenty of daylight on Nicola Sanders, who was content to secure the second automatic spot in 52.81 secs, while Shana Cox notched up the opening run in 52.51 secs ahead of Kelly Sotherton (52.94).

Shakes-Drayton, however, has got to ensure that she saves up well in the heats of her specialist event earlier at noon tomorrow and give herself a fair chance to complete a rare flat/hurdle double in the championships, which she is most capable of. In the A final four hours later, she goes in lane five just outside Ohuruogu and with Cox and Sanders in her sights on the outside.

The highly anticipated men’s 400m hurdles battle royal received a huge blow when new European U23 champion Jack Green announced his withdrawal through illness, tonsilitis, to leave the way totally open to his two major rivals, Nathan Woodward and Rhys Williams, to claim the two much coveted top two places in the final that effectively lead to Daegu.

According to the selection policy, the first two claim automatic qualification provided they hold the A standard, as both Woodward and Williams do, while the third place is certain to go to European champion Dai Greene who is trying his hand over the flat 400m. Therefore, Green’s hopes hang by a thread.

On the track, Woodward was an easy victor of the second heat in 50.56 secs and Williams grabbed the fourth in an identical 50.58 secs to set up a duel between them for the spoils in the final, nevertheless Rick Yates showed quite lively to post the fastest time through in a SB of 50.24 secs from the opening section and could fancy his chances to spoil the party. As a matter of fact, he comes from a PB of 21.6 secs over 200m and it’s going to be intriguing to see how that translates into his times.

All top names were through without any problems in the men’s dash but a slight surprise package was Ricky Fifton to post the second fastest time in a big SB of 10.32 secs (0.9m/sec) as he hadn’t shown much up to now this term. Hot favourite Dwain Chambers was head and shoulders over the second heat in 10.46 secs into a strong headwind (-2.3m/sec) while Mark Lewis-Francis got the fastest time of 10.30 secs (-0.2m/sec) out of the first round to show that he means serious business and Christian Malcolm looked smooth in winning the final heat in 10.38 secs (-0.1m/sec).

Laura Turner was the most impressive out of the preliminary round of the women’s 100 as she clinched the second heat in 11.50 secs (0.5m/sec) and Montell Douglas showed as though she could be a factor in taking the third in 11.55 secs (0.1m/sec). Jeanette Kwakey and Anyika Onuora won, as expected, the remaining two sections in 11.61 (0.1m/sec) and 11.46 (2.0m/sec) respectively.

There were no surprises in the women’s 800m first round where Jenny Meadows must have been pleased to see that none has gained any ground on her on the international stage as Semenya Caster sank deep in eighth and Cuban Yuniesi Santiusti looked like talling off in Stockholm at the same time. Marilyn Okoro, Emma Jackson, Lyndsay Sharp and sensational U17 Jessica Judd all advanced to join her in the semifinals tomorrow.

On the men’s side, however, European U23 bronze medalist Muchtar Mohammed suffered a fall to miss out in a very slow second heat that was won by a lively again Niall Brooks, fourth at the World U20 Championships last summer. Mike Rimmer moved through in the fastest time of 1:50.46 followed closely by a revamped Steve Fennell in 1:50.58 and Andie Osagie eased to a comfortable 1:51.53 top place in the final heat.

Hannah England, Lisa Dobriskey and Stacey Smith cruised through the heats of the women’s 1500m where steeplechaser Barbara Parker showed intent to test the specialists as she set the fastest time in winning the first semifinal in a SB of 4:17.61. The worrying news, however, is that missing Charlene Thomas could be doubtful even for Crystal Palace next weekend and that could give selectors a headache depending mainly on how Smith fares in the final.

The first UK title went over to Alex Smith who unleashed a PB of 73.26m in the hammer, farthest by a Briton in seven years, in the fifth round that takes him closer to the B qualifying standard of 74m – yet, he still needs a brace of them and has got only a week available to find them. Mike Floyd was second at 70.85m and Mark Dry third at 70.33m.

World U20 silver medalist Laura Samuel showed to recapture her form and fighting insticts even late as she found herself with her back to the wall when Yasmine Regis sneaked the lead with a 13.61m (1.2m/sec) in the last round to grind out an immediate response of a SB of 13.67m (0.8m/sec) and snatch gold back at the death. Pre-event slight favourite Nadia Williams never really got into it and had to do with third well behind at 13.37m (-0.3m/sec).

Full Results

http://www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series/aviva-uk-trials-uk-championships/discipline-list/

As the outdoor season gathers pace swinging off the top bend and into the run-in to Daegu, the UK Trials assume the stage to set the scene for the British challenge for silverware and entertain the country’s best athletes who will be vying for those priceless places on the team bound to represent Britain at the World Championships over the next three days. The venue will be a refurbished ‘Brum’ at the heart of the Midlands in Birmingham and the background is set with no less than seven national records headed by a new European mark by Mo Farah in the men’s 10000m, a best ever haul of Diamond/Golden League wins in history and a host of top tier performances across the board.

Therefore, anticipation and tension is building up sharply as the clock is ticking away the hours to the outset of the Trials tomorrow as enthralling and gripping contests are looming on all corners of the arena. This is the moment of truth, this is the crunch and the time to reap the rewards for the endeavours and pains of a whole year leading up to this point. Of course, not all is going to be decided now, with plenty at stake still all along the following week peaking in the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace next weekend. But every athlete that finishes in the top two of an event and holds the respective UK Athletics A standard gains an automatic berth on the British team while a top three placing could offer a solid foothold into the reckoning.

Apart from already mentioned above Mo Farah, established top names like Phillips Idowu, Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu, Dai Greene, Lisa Dobriskey, Jenny Meadows, Dwain Chambers and Andy Turner as well as up-and-coming stars of the likes of Perri Shakes-Drayton, Holly Bleasdale, Hannah England, Lawrence Okoye, Jack Green will parade before the spectators and the viewers making for a pulsating three days of action.

Hopefully, weather will turn an ally and back the efforts of the athletes the whole three days through, with warm gentle temperatures and slight favourable breezes. So let the Trials commence!

MEN

100m

Dwain Chambers is the overwhelming favourite to claim the UK title and hopefully sweep under 10 secs for the first time this season, which would double as the first legal sub 10 clocking by a Briton on home soil in history, following the most impressive run-up of his career that involves five races in the 10.0 secs region topped with a 10.01 secs (2.0m/sec) winning run in Brasil.

Nevertheless, his most eye-catching showing has been arguably his narrow runner-up display by a mere two hundredths to former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, setting 10.13 to 10.11 secs respectively into a strong headwind (-1.6m/sec), in his last outing in Madrid so he looks as though he is peaking at the right time.

Behind him there appears to be shaping up be a separate tight tussle for that much coveted second spot where Harry Aikines-Ayreety is holding a slender edge on a healthy string of both windy and legal marks between 10.09 and 10.14, SB of 10.13 (1.1m/sec).

Mark Lewis-Francis has been racing against time to turn up fully fit and sharp at the starting-line tomorrow and his slightly windy 10.23 secs at the same venue last Saturday signaled encouraging signs while Craig Pickering shows solid again lying on the verge of the A standard in a recent SB of 10.19 secs (1.9m/sec). Nevertheless, none should overlook good ‘old’ Marlon Devonish who is vastly experienced and knows to raise his game when it matters, tied with Pickering in the UK lists.

James Ellington and new European U23 champion James Alaka will be the dark horses going into the contest which also features European 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner, over to the flat to test his raw speed, and Barcelona 200m silver medalist Christian Malcolm, who will be fancying his chances to upset a few names in the short dash.

The third place is likely to be decided in a run-off and open even wider at Crystal Palace the following weekend, especially if the likes of absent James Dasaolu and Simeon Williamson show up.

Hammer

Commonwealth silver medalist Alex Smith has steadily worked his way back to the top of the domestic front with a recent SB of 72.90m in Holland, just 5cm shy of his PB, but will need to make up a further 1.10m that is left up to a first B standard (74.00) – and he needs two to make the team! Can he make it? It’s been a long while since Britain was last represented at global level in the event and the 23-year-old Sale Harrier rises as the likeliest prospect.

Andy Frost has returned to his very best with a PB of 72.79m and along with Mark Dry and Mike Floyd, who have also both PB’ed with 72.49 and 71.73m respectively this term, harbour their own hopes to turn the tables to their own advantage.

400m hurdles

With European champion Dai Greene turning his hand to the flat 400m over some sound speedwork, the affair turns into a pure relentless two-past-the post trial with no margin for error and no way back for three major contenders. There will be no quarters given nor taken!

The recent 400m hurdles final in Ostrava between Green and Woodward

The championship duels between Jack Green and Nathan Woodward have been nothing less than breathtaking and nailbiting this season, having claimed one apiece at the death, and this one should hardly turn any different as there is not much to pick between them. Oddly enough, both times the defeated stumbled bad over the last hurdle to offer further evidence of how close and tense their battles have been.

New European U23 champion Green (48.98) will be on a high following his triumph in Ostrava, with also two recent excellent Diamond League outings under his belt, and likes to run a conservative first 200m building up into a powerful last hundred into the race and might offer a slender favourite.

By contrast, Woodward (48.71 PB) relishes going out hard over the first 300m and hold his form down the home straight, a wide different approach on top, and has been as impressive of late and looked flowing and strong round the track in Ostrava despite his defeat.

Those said, none should underestimate European silver medalist Rhys Williams (49.59 SB), who has been quiet so far but is a born championship performer and could knock chunks off his SB.

From there on, it is going to be a tall order for anyone else to get between those three but Niall Flannery (49.76 PB), Thomas Phillips (49.78 PB) and a rejuvenated Richard Davenport (49.91 PB) will be seeking to take further inroads inside 50 secs.

800m

I’m going to tip a surging Andie Osagie to clinch his first senior UK title on the strength of his big PB of 1:45.63 PB in his only second race this term at Trafford last weekend, he is on a sharp upturn and his searing finish has got to stand him in good stead. Further, he seemed to have got be plenty left in the tank and I would expect him to ride under 1:45 soon although that may not be necessary to book his place on the team.

European silver medalist Mike Rimmer has been mysteriously struggling for form after a searing start to the season and his last showing in Birmingham rather raised more worries and questions than answered. But he’s got the A standard with an early 1:45.12 and if he turns on a convincing display in the top three that should be enough for selection.

Muchtar Mohammed (1:46.58 PB), bronze medalist at the European U23 Champs, Gareth Warburton (1:46.95), third at the European Team Championships, and UK Indoor champion Joe Thomas (1:46.77) are all capable of dipping inside the B standard but they will have to make up their minds whether to pull their resources together and make a fast race out of it. It’s not going to be easy picking themselves up to chase two B standards within the remaining last week and thing could easily go the wrong way.

Former European bronze medalist Sam Ellis, a revamped Steve Fennell, U20 Guy Learmonth and hopefully Niall Brooks will be the dark horses going into the affair.

10000m

There will be no Mo Farah, Chris Thompson or even Andy Vernon, who has switched late to the lower distance, so this ought to fare in the region of 28 mins and the only one to have an outside shot at the B standard should be Keith Gerrard with a PB of 28:27.03 in spring at Stanford (USA).

WOMEN

100m

World and European U20 champion Jodie Williams will be missing and therefore take some of the gloss off the women’s dash showdown, consistent with her rather erratic approach towards senior competition, but there will be plenty to look forward to with three sprinters comfortably inside the A standard on show.

As things look right now, it’s going to be more a matter of the order in which season revelation Anyika Onuora (11.18 PB), back-to-form Beijing finalist Jeanette Kwakye (11.15) and Laura Turner (11.23) are going to come home in the final as they should normally fill the top three spots.

Beyond them, there will be Ashlee Nelson (11.38), UK record holder Montell Douglas (11.39), veteran Joice Maduaka and, why not, Asha Philip holding remote hopes of staging an upset and picking off one of the top three but ensuring of a place in the short relay may form a more realistic target at this stage.

400m

Perri Shakes-Drayton will be out to attempt a rare 400m flat/hurdles double at these Trials so is expected to be among the busiest athletes over the next three days, with the rounds of the two events overlapping at that. She is faced with a gruelling and demanding four races and she will still have to arrive with enough strength left to fight off the challenge of Eilidh Child in the hurdles on Sunday.

However, as concerns the flat distance I feel that she is going to have too much for everyone else despite the presence in the field of reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and former world silver medalist Nicola Sanders, having showed potential to run something in the middle 50 secs on her recent outings. Thus, she’s my favourite to clinch this.

Ohuruogu, for her part, will be buoyant after her win in Barcelona sneaking under the A standard in 51.49 secs and will be seeking to strengthen her position on the international stage with a time in the low 51 secs but should face tough opposition for the runner-up spot by Shana Cox (51.24), not yet eligible for selection but blooded in her first top tier British final.

Lee McConnell (51.56) has been churning out times in the lower end of the B standard territory but has to pull something under 51.50 secs to shrug off any worries of missing out while Sanders must have taken plenty of heart from her big SB of 51.94 secs also in Barcelona last Friday and will be eyeing to knock another chunk off on the way.

A very interesting figure will be heptathlon-turned-400m runner Kelly Sotherton seeking her first cut into the B qualifying territory with a SB of 52.51 secs where Nadine Okyere and Kelly Massey will be hoping to gain a footing in the 4x400m team.

800m

I can’t see how Jenny Meadows (1:59.27) could possibly lose this one as she is fully equipped to deal with anything thrown at and her form has been as reliable and good as ever, a superb tactician and racer in the full sense of the word. Incredibly enough, though, she is yet to win a national title!

Marilyn Okoro (2:00.60) is showing glimpses of her form of old but she has to balance out brain and brawn to pull off an upset, meaning not to get carried away into some frenzied opening lap that will knock her off in the late stages. Besides, Emma Jackson (2:00.24) and European U23 bronze medalist Lyndsay Sharp (2:00.65) are both fierce kickers and are going to be very dangerous at the end so there is no room for crazy acts – though history shows they can work at times either!

Jemma Simpson is forced to miss the Trials as she couldn’t be ready in time to do herself justice so she’s going to go for broke at the Diamond League at Crystal Palace to grab a place in the sun of the Far East in search of an A, or at least B depending on the case, qualifying time on top of that. Finally, a very notable entry is that of sensational U17 Jessica Judd with a superb 2:02.70 to her credit and she might fancy her chances of beating Jo White’s longtime age group UK best.

1500m

Hannah England finds herself in a rather unusual position of turning up as favourite to claim the spoils following her brilliant breakthrough display of 4:01.89 in Spain last Friday but looks to have come of age and she should cope with the pressure, possessing a deadly kick in her armoury.

Along similar lines, world silver medalist Lisa Dobriskey may not be firing on all cylinders yet but she is improving fast and should get that second spot the easy or the hardy way and book her place on the plane to Daegu.

With Charlene Thomas still missing the action, Stacey Smith will be favourite to round off the top three placings at the Trials but it looks as though it’s going to go all the way to the wire over who will be joining England and Dobriskey on the British team.

Barbara Parker is a very interesting entry having switched from the 3000m steeplechase over apparently some speedwork and there are U23s Stevie Stockton and Steve Cram-coached Laura Weightman lining up as well.

Triple Jump

Maybe the time has come to witness the first legal jump over 14m by a British girl since the days of great Ashia Hansen. Nadia Williams and world U20 silver medalist Laura Samuel set slightly windy jumps of 13.94m and 13.77m respectively at the England Championships in Bedford a fortnight ago and could envisage pulling off a breakthrough tomorrow, but who between them can make it? My money might be on young Samuel who has shown that she can improve by large distances when it comes to the crunch.

World and European triple champion Phillips Idowu swings off the triple jump runway and onto the basket ball court to display his skills in full in his old sporting love! That is, of course, for the latest adv of Lucozade – check it out!

The British team enjoy a great spell of action set with a wealth of medals across the board at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Trabzon, Turkey.

Clovis Asong was always going to be way beyond anyone else and demonstrated his supremacy in full as he obliterated the field to win an easiest gold in 46.93 secs yesterday, shaping a near two secs gap on runner-up Stephen Dale Trenk (GER, 48.75). That wasn’t a PB, though, as he had clocked a faster 46.74 secs in the heats.

In a scintillating season for the long jump so far, Elliott Safo applied his own golden touch as he narrowly clinch the title with a PB of 7.38m (1.4m/sec) having nosed to the front with an earlier best of 7.37m (1.4m/sec) in the third round. Italian Stefano Braga had led the early stages with a second-round windy 7.36m (3.4m/sec).

Sophie Riches conquered the 1500m in 4:25.95, not far off her PB, as she convincingly saw off Irish girl Siofra Cleirich Buttner, who set a PB of 4:26.42, and James Lamswood got bronze in the men’s version in 3:55.02 behind Ruairi (fiery as I believe in Gaelic) Finnegan (IRL) in 3:53.78.

On Tuesday, Sophie Papps wrapped up the dash gold in a convincing 11.82 secs (1.0m/sec) from Switzerland’s Samantha Dagry (11.91), having set a well faster PB of 11.77 secs in the heats on Monday, while Leon Reid picked up silver in the men’s sprint affair in 10.68 secs (1.7m/sec) narrowly behind German Daniel Koelsch, who set 10.66 secs. The Brit had set a PB of 10.67 secs (0.7m/sec) in the semis earlier on.

Also, Gordon Benson earned silver in the 3000m in 8:23.05 behind Ukrainian Ivan Horodyskyy, who ran a PB of 8:21.99.

Results

http://www.trabzon2011.org/results/index.html

Steve Lewis struggled and could not make an impact on a quality field assembled at the pole vault-specialized Stabhochsprung Meeting at Jockgrim, Germany, needing all three attempts to overcome his opening height at 5.40m before bowing out at the next height at 5.60m.

Both the top two names in the men’s competition, former world champion Brad Walker (USA) and local favourite Malte Mohr, failed to register a single height so U23 German Karsten Dilla seized the opportunity to line up a surprise victory over a PB of 5.72m on countback from five (!) other vaulters; Greece’s Kostas Fillipidis (SB), American Scott Jeremy (SB), Cuban Lazaro Borges (ePB, eNR), German Raphael Holzdeppe (U23, eSB) and veteran Beijing fourth-placer American Derek Miles (SB).

Becky Holliday (USA) was a convincing winner in the women’s competition over 4.50m.

Results

http://live.cktu.de/index.php?ver=110727DEZJM

Brett Morse has mounted a remarkable rebound to form as he released a big PB and Welsh record of 66.06m in the discus in Helsinborg, Sweden, earlier on today to claw his way back well into the mix for places on the British team for Daegu.

Morse’s previous PB throw at 64.49m at Chula Vista, Los Angeles

The season of the 22-year-old, based now in Sweden since splitting with long-time coach Nigel Bevan halfway through, looked like falling apart after a promising start in California in spring in a PB and then UK U23 record of 64.49m so such a result and a big confidence boost could have hardly come at a better time, with just a couple of days before the UK Trials commence in Birmingham.

First, he saw season revelation and new UK record holder Lawrence Okoye replace him at the top of the domestic front with a huge 67.63m at Hendon earlier this month, while the breakthrough of Abdul Buhari and the return to form of Carl Myerscough into the A qualifying region with 65.44 and 65.04m meant that he also slipped outside the top three in the pecking order.

And it made matters even worse when he bombed out of the qualification with three fouls at the recent European U23 Championships as a medal there there could have boosted his cause as the only one of the main contenders without an A standard.

But following this striking turn of situation, moving to third in the British all-time lists, his bid is well back alive to set the discus battle on fire and it will be intriguing to see who’s going to miss out on the trip to Korea in a crazy season in the event, first ever to boast four throwers over 65m. What a difference can a single year make!

Incidentally, according to Morse’s own words on Twitter, he had four throws at 64.80m or better to display excellent consistency on top of that, pulling together his best four throws ever in a single competition by implication.

Therefore, the UK all-time Top 10 in the event has shaped up as follows – note that three out of the four top marks ever have been set this season:

1.Lawrence Okoye (U23) 67.63 (2011)

2.Perris Wilkins 66.64 (1998)

3.Brett Morse (U23) 66.06 (2011)

4.Abdul Buhari 65.44 (2011)

5.Richard Slaney 65.16 (1985)

6.Glenn Smith 65.11 (1999)

7.Carl Myerscough 65.10 (2004)

8.Bob Weir 65.08 (2000)

9.Bill Tancred 64.94 (1974)

10.Emeka Udechuku 64.93 (2004)

Mo Farah comes off his sterner test since emerging as a serious gold medal contender in Daegu with flying colours as he beats great Bernard Lagat where his strength lies; in a more tactical late burn-up race and still shattering the British record into a new figure of 12:53.11. On top of that, in a race that Lagat still runs faster than ever in a new American record of 12:53.60. What a race!

Mo Farah‘s burgeoning fame, reputation and unbeaten winning run came to the ultimate test on the way as the 5000m race shaped up past the middle stages round the track in Monaco on Friday night, with the laps suddenly dropping off to 64 secs.

It was the scenario looming in the minds of many as probably the achilles heel in the powerful armoury of the double European champion as among a star-packed field racing against him was a certain man; a legend and a master of tactics, Bernard Lagat, a man who possesses a deadly kick and who simply feels so much at home when a race comes to a late fast burn-up. Further, a man back to his very best and maybe even slightly better as his season so far suggests.

Farah had the element of surprise on his side when he destroyed a superb field, and Mohammed Mourhit‘s European record in the process, over 10000m in Eugene and he was the host when he comprehensively saw off Imane Merga (ETH) for a second time on the trot in a relatively slow race with a fierce late burn-up in Birmingham over 5000m.

But now he was the target and the centre of attention and had come under the most demanding situation as Lagat was stalking his moves and was looking particularly comfortable right behind him. Yet, once again, he turned equal to a mighty challenge and came off with flying colours, coping superbly with everything thrown at along the way, to firmly establish himself at the top of global distance running.

Unfazed and composed, he stuck to his guns and eased to the front in the penultimate lap to control affairs, forcing the pace towards the bell  as he led a healthy bunch tucked behind with Lagat biding his time, while Merga had resorted to all possible means to remain close in contention to evade an embarrassing third straight defeat – the previous two laps saw him send both Gallen Rupp and Chris Solinsky (USA) crashing out.

Into the final lap, he wound up the race in trademark fashion to stretch the field up the back straight, kicking hard 200m out for home – nonetheless Lagat could not be undone or shaken still, coming strongly back at him round the second half of the bend. This was the ultimate test, coming under immense pressure from a man boasting a 3:26 speed over 1500m, but Mo amazed once again as he somehow reached a last resource of strength and dug deep again to grind out a crucial edge that he held through the home stretch for a massive victory. The American could find no answer this time round. “There can be only one” somewhat sounded in the end.

Such was the intensity of that fierce duel round the last lap, most vividly impressed in their faces as the replays of the last stages played on, that it took a few moments before everyone realised that Farah had also smashed the British record to a new mark of 12:53.11 in the process, having covered the last 800m in around 1:53.

He dit it again despite a patchy race pacewise recommending that he could as well have drawn under 12:50 at a more even pace while he beat Lagat at his best as the screen board indicated a new American record of 12:53.60 on the part of the latter. As importantly, he had not only answered any questions posed but also raised even more in the minds of his rivals over how he could get beaten, which is going to be instrumental in the mental game heading to Daegu.

Isaiah Kiplangat Koech (KEN) was third in an outdoor World Youth best of 12:54.18 and Merga followed well beaten again in 12:55.47 as seven runners overall, rounded out by Tariku Bekele, dipped under 13 mins to display the quality and depth of the race.

Idowu prevails again

Following the premature departure of Teddy Tamgho from the scene due to injury, World and European champion Phillips Idowu‘s greatest opponent might be complacency as he very much turns a huge favourite to claim a second world title in a row. He is vastly experienced, though, to cope with that sneaky situation.

Anyway, he did somewhat struggle to assert his authority on the field as he couldn’t build on a leading second-round 17.36m (-0.6m/sec) to come under pressure from in-form Alexis Copello in the late stages as the Cuban reached 17.26 (0.2m/sec) and 17.25 (0.1m/sec) in his last two efforts. But he eventually held on to another big win on the road and stretch his impressive run this season.

Whether his ongoing rift with Charles van Commennee had any impact on his performance is hard to tell but he needs to leave that behind him and focus solely on his competitive goals where Copello could serve as a challenge to keep him on his toes on a recent 17.68m in Spain.

Ukrainian bolt-from-the-blue Sheryf El-Sheryf sank deep in such a high quality field and showed that he is not yet a triple jumper of the calibre that his startling 17.72m the previous weekend in Ostrava suggests, therefore forming hardly any threat. But what can really happen if everything clicks together on the occasion!

Offili-Porter smashes her British record

For those who were quick to write off Tiffany Offili-Porter as a potential medal contender or assert that she switched to Britain because she was never going to make the US team, Monaco’s women’s sprint hurdles race must have given plenty of food for thought to revise their hasty assessments.

Olympic silver medalist Sally Pearson continued to dictate proceedings in commanding manner as she swept to a convincing win in 12.51 secs (0.9m/sec) ahead of Kellie Wells, runner-up in 12.58 secs, but narrowly behind the American dipped the 23-year-old Brit to shatter her recent UK record of 12.77 secs at Hengelo into a swift 12.60 secs for third.

That also doubled as a big new PB to erase that 12.73 secs dating to her ‘American’ days and saw her move up to fifth in the world rankings this season, rising as a serious medal prospect in the wake. For good measure, the scalps of Danielle Carruthers (12.76) and Olympic champion Dawn Harper (12.79) offer a substantial mental boost as Daegu looms large on the horizon.

The rest of the Brits…

European champion Dai Greene suffered his first defeat after two back-to-back victories in the Diamond League series but maintained his record of top three finishes this season intact as he came a well convincing third in 48.43 secs, coming back from illness. Therefore, drawing plenty of positives from the race.

Two-time Olympic champion Angelo Taylor underlined his own class and challenge as he powered to a commanding win in 47.97 secs over compatriot Bershawn Jackson, second in 48.23, while early season leader LJ van Zyl came well off the pace in fourth in 48.72 secs.

Lisa Dobriskey got what she came for in the form of an A standard of 4:04.76 back in eighth place in the women’s 1500m as she maintains her swift recovery of form before heading to the UK Trials where she is going to face Friday revelation Hannah England, who replaced her at the top of the British rankins through a huge PB of 4:01.89 a little later that night in Barcelona.

The woman who hung on to the world title by a mere 0.01 secs ahead of the Briton in Berlin, Maryam Yusuf Jamal (BRN), was a firm winner in 4:00.59 followed by Morocco’s Ibtissam Lakhouad in 4:01.09 (SB) and American Morgan Uceny in a PB of 4:01.51.

Finally, Goldie Sayers was fourth with a third-round 60.97m in a high quality competition that saw Barbora Spotakova (CZE) launch a massive 69.45m to mount the top of the global rankings, as Christina Obergfoll (GER) fared well below at 64.86m and Latvia’s Madara Palameira was third at 62.06.

The performance of the meeting, and marginally shy of a dream curtain-drawer of a world record, was laid out by Olympic champion Brimin Kiprop Kipruto who rode out a furious pace set by countryman Ezekiel Kemboi before he stormed round the last 250m to cross the line a mere hundredth of a second outside Saif Saaeed Shaheen‘s all-time topper in 7:53.64 in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. It can’t get closer than this and hopefully he won’t live to regret slightly slowing down before the final barrier.

Kemboi held on for a clear second in a PB of 7:55.76 and Paul Kipchiele Koech steered into third in a SB of 7:57.32 to make it the second race in history to witness three men inside 8 mins, the other 10 years back in Brussels when Brahim Boulami (MAR) set a then world record of 7:55.28.

Usain Bolt had to sweat before he finally got to pip compatriot Nesta Carter on the line in the men’s 100m, both setting SBs of 9.88 and 9.90 secs respectively (1.0m/sec), while Carmelita Jeter ran a storming bend and held her form nicely down the home stretch in a PB of 22.20 secs (-0.4m/sec) to upset triple world champion Allyson Felix in the women’s 200m, sending out a clear message of her intentions on the big stage this season. For her part, the latter still came out with a SB of 22.32 secs.

Full Results

http://www.diamondleague-monaco.com/en/Program/Overview/

While most British eyes were set on Lisa Dobriskey‘s efforts in Monaco on Friday night, Hannah England stepped out of the shadow of the world silver medalist to turn in a stunning display that saw her storm down the home straight to third place from a qualify field in a world class PB of 4:01.89 in the 1500m in distant Barcelona.

Even the most enterprising script writers would have hardly come up with such a turn in the plot of the qualifying tussle for places in Daegu and maybe even Hannah herself may have not envisaged emerging as such a revelation at the far end of her venture, yet it was an assured and inspired performance every step of the way from a new-look athlete that asserted herself with confidence into the race.

Even the lack of tactical awareness of the past wasn’t there and in that stead was a performer who knew what she wanted all along, was getting into the right positions at the right times and built up beautifully round the last lap to set up that flowing finish past World U20 champion Mercy Cherono (KEN, 4:02.31) and Mimi Gelete (BRN, 4:03.16) in the late stages, also claiming the scalp of European champion Nuria Hernandez (ESP, 4:04.64).

Her new mark saw her storm the top of the British rankings this season, moving up to 12th in the respective all-time lists and 10th in the world on top, and she will be heading to Birmingham as favourite to clinch the UK title against mainly Dobriskey, who also grabbed the A qualifying standard in a SB of 4:04.76 on the same night. England’s previous best, incidentally, stood to 4:04.29 set in Monaco two years ago.

Winner of that fast affair in Barcelona was Russian Ekaterina Gorbunova, rather surprisingly missing from the concurrent Russian Championships, in a huge PB of 4:01.02 to edge out Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez, who set 4:01.50.

The women’s 400m turning-point…

Fate would have it that the race that may shape the turnround of fortunes in the heavily-decorated women’s 400m be staged in the Catalan capital rather than a British venue with all three top contenders out to make a point.

Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu on the back of a thin racing season without yet breaking even 53 secs on the way; former world silver medalist Nicola Sanders aiming to boost her footing on the track following a few lower-key races in the 52 secs province; and Lee McConnell hoping to return on the domestic top of the event after years.

The final outcome handed smiles all around as Ohuguogu edged victory in a huge SB of 51.49 secs, creeping inside the A standard, to make plenty of ground on her global rivals, McConnell came third in 51.70 secs just behind Olga Topilskaya (RUS), 51.68 secs, and Sanders knocked a chunk off her SB into 51.94 secs earning her a first B standard for Daegu – the look on her face at the end said it all.

And suddenly, with Shana Cox awaiting to test them at the Trials in Birmingham, the event comes alive again and hope of a return to the centre of affairs on the global scene is rekindled.

A new beginning…

The Catalonian meeting also turned a happy ground for Kate Dennison who soared over a new PB of 4.61m in the pole vault, at the first time of asking at that, to shrug off a long tough building-from-scratch spell and get back on track to fulfil her potential – her perseverance has paid off and she can now look up to greater heights.

Cuban Yarisley Silva prevailed with a second-time new national record of 4.66m while Nikol Kyriakopoulou (GRE) was third at 4.50m.

Turner comes out a surprise winner

European champion Andy Turner stretched his impressive string of results to stage an upset on world record holder Dayron Robles, who pulled up midway through as he went off balance to draw well inside the adjacent lane.

Relentless in his pursuit, Turner swiftly seized the lead and kept his form nicely all the way to cross the line top in 13.33 secs (-0.2m/sec) ahead of three Americans, Joel Brown (13.40), Omo Osaghae (13.58) and Daegu-bound Jason Richardson (13.65), to gain a substantial confidence boost.

On the downside…

The flurry of top quality British performances on Friday night unfortunately didn’t rub off on Andy Baddeley who suffered another below par outing and this time simply dragged home way behind in last in 3:46.56 to raise further questions over his form. Time is running out fast and the Beijing finalist doesn’t look like making any progress at all…

Turk Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, apparently of Kenyan origins, came away with a very notable narrowest win in a national record of 3:32.94 ahead of Kenyan Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, a mere hundredth behind, and Spaniard Diego Ruiz in 3:33.18, a PB.

Zersenay Tadesse (ERI) joined in the chorus of sub 13 mins timings led by Mo Farah in Monaco to edge inside in 12:59.32 in the 5000m, American Geena Gall snatched a shocking upset over new Cuban star Yuneisi Santiusti by a mere 0.02 secs in the women’s 800m (2:01.06 to 2:01.08) and Jamaican Steve Mullings powered to a runway victory in 20.17 secs into a -1.0m/sec headwind over the 200m in other highlights of the meeting.

Results

http://resultados.rfea.es/2011/resultados/airelibre/barcelona/ATS158A_ATXXXXXXXXXXXXCAT_date=2011-07-22.htm