Day One, Saturday 16 July

Bedford has build a well-founded reputation for its windy frame and duly delivered in time for the England Athletics Championships although this time round the nearly perfect, most of the times, tailwinds down the home straight drew a big smile on the sprinters’ faces, culminating in a solid string of fast and promising times.

Harry Aikines-Ayreety‘s powerful figure impressed through the rounds as he laid down a fast 10.14 secs marker (2.0m/sec) en route in the semifinals before he stormed to an even faster but windy 10.09 secs (3.5m/sec) in the final, convincingly holding off a revamped Craig Pickering who came second in 10.17 but having posted a legal SB of 10.19 secs (1.9m/sec) in the previous stage. Incidentally, that was the latter’s fastest time since 2009 and a mere hundredth outside the A standard for Daegu to underline his steadily rising challenge for an individual place on the British team.

For that matter, Laura Turner gained a sound foothold in the mix for places in the women’s dash as she powered to a big SB and third-fastest in Britain 11.23 secs in an uncharacteristic moment for the Bedford track as the wind-gauge read a mere 0.1m/sec down the home stretch, more than confirming her recent 11.30 secs at Chaux-des-Fonds (Switzerland). As a consequence, Britain are all but ensured of lining up a full quota of female sprinters for the first time since the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 to stress a resurgence of strength in that quarter.

There was more good news behind as UK record holder Montell Douglas came runner-up in 11.39 secs, her fastest time since 2008 and a mere 0.01 secs off the B standard. But she’s got still time ahead of her to put that right and stake her own claim for a place on the British team.

If the sprinters were elated, the rest of the runners suffered in the wind round the track and Nicola Sanders had to make do with a 53.69 secs run as fastest out of the women’s 400m as Nadine Okyere followed on in 53.97 secs, where Rob Tobin ran away with the men’s title by nearly a second in 46.50 secs.

In the field events, Sarah Holt confirmed her current No2 status in the country through a comfortable win over Zoe Derham in the hammer with 64.49m, Jade Nicholls maintained an firm upper hand over Eden Francis in the discus where the wind kept distances low to 53.99 and 52.30 respectively, and cautiously returning Merwyn Luckwell set a SB of 75.35 to take the javelin by a good margin.

Main Results

100m (3.5) Harry Aikines-Ayreety 10.09 (10.14sf, 2.0), Craig Pickering 10.17 (10.19sf SB, 1.9), Luke Fagan 10.20 (10.37sf PB, 0.7), RJ Pierre 10.26 (10.30sf SB, 1.9), Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun 10.38 (10.40sf SB, 1.9), Ryan Scott 10.39 (10.42sf SB, 0.7), Nigel Thomas 10.41 (10.36sf PB, 2.0), Joel Fearon 10.42 (10.34sf PB, 2.0)
400m Rob Tobin 46.50, Tom Druce 47.47 (47.45sf), Michael Warner 47.72 sf Chris Clarke 47.77
400mh (heats) David Hughes 51.58
HJ Rob Grabarz 2.20, Ben Challenger 2.11 (SB)
SP Greg Beard 17.58, Zane Duquemin 17.57 (PB)
JT Merwyn Luckwell 75.35 (SB), Dan Pembroke 71.41, Neil Crossley 71.28 (PB), Craig Lacy 68.46 (PB)

100m (0.1) Laura Turner 11.23 (SB), Montell Douglas 11.39 (SB), Margaret Adeoye 11.49, Louise Bloor 11.51 (PB), Kadi Ann-Thomas 11.68 (SB), Jenny Batten (U20) 11.73 (11.69sf PB, 0.0)
400m (heats) Nicola Sanders 53.69, Nadine Okyere 53.97
800m Karen Harewood 2:06.07, Georgia Peel (U17) 2:07.66
LJ Amy Woodman 6.25 (-0.2), Alex Russell 6.19 (-0.2), Amy Harris 6.15 (-0.3)
DT Jade Nicholls 53.99, Eden Francis 52.30, Shaunagh Brown 51.57 (PB)
HT Sarah Holt 64.49, Zoe Derham 61.64, Rachael Gair 61.24

Second Day, Sunday 17 July

Laura Turner did not rest on her 100m laurels and returned on the track the following day to complete a solid sprint double although it was former European U23 champion Hayley Jones that showed the more impressive through the heats in a big SB of 23.51 secs (0.4m/sec), with Kelly Sotherton on a decent display in 23.71 secs (3.5m/sec).

Come the final, a tricky crosswind blowing over the arena, there was a largely different scenario as Turner gained the ascendancy round the bend to pull away for a commanding victory in a windy 23.47 secs (3.5m/sec), followed on by Helen Pryer in second in 23.60 and Jones having to do with third in 23.76 secs.

Season revalation Abdul Buhari kept on pounding out good distances in the discus to reach 62.19m and further boost his own chances to earn a place on the British team for Daegu after Brett Morse crashed out of the qualifying round at the European U23 Championships in Ostrava, where Alex Smith showed to steadily regain his top status in Britain with a convincing win at 71.47m in the hammer.

There is new hope in the women’s triple jump as Nadia Williams landed at a windy 13.94m (2.8m/sec), the farthest mark under any conditions by a Brit girl since the days of great Ashia Hansen, while World U20 silver medallist Laura Samuel lodged another case of a potential European U23 medallist left home in the shape of a slightly windy 13.77m (2.4m/sec) for second.

Florida-based Angie Broadbelt-Blake agonizingly missed out on a first B Daegu qualifier as she was denied a new PB of 13.12 in the 100m hurdles by a marginally illegal wind of 2.1m/sec, as well as the chance to get seriously into the shake-up of qualification for Korea, and Commonwealth finalist David Hughes felt the wrath of the elements of nature as a sudden shower out of nowhere lashed his trail to a 50.73 secs winning time in the 400m hurdles.

Nicola Sanders finally opted out of the women’s 400m final and save for her Friday’s tussle in Barcelona while it was a delightful spectacle to watch James Brewer getting back into a winning habit in the 1500m, a second straight win even if it came in a slow 3:51.37, as well as a revamped Steve Fennell notch the 800m in 1:49.87.

Main Results

200m (1.5) Luke Fagan 20.74 (PB), Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun 21.12 (SB), Conrad Williams 21.26 HT: Leon Baptiste 21.41 (1.0)
800m Steve Fennell 1:49.87
1500m James Brewer 3:51.37
110mh (2.4) Nick Gayle 13.81 (13.93sf, 1.0, PB), Julian Adeniran 13.87 (13.94sf, 0.9), Edirin Okoro 13.94 (13.98sf, 0.9, SB) SF: Alex Al-Ameen 13.83 (ePB, 1.0)
400mh David Hughes 50.73
3000mSC Jonny Taylor 8:54.51
PV Max Eaves 5.20, Nick Crutchley (U23) 5.10
DT Abdul Buhari 62.19, Chris Scott 59.91
HT Alex Smith 71.47, Mike Floyd 69.69, James Bedford 69.24 (PB)

200m (3.5) Laura Turner 23.47, Helen Pryer 23.70 (23.60sf, 0.4), Hayley Jones 23.76 (23.51sf, 0.4, SB), Kadi-Ann Thomas 24.03 (24.25sf, 0.4, SB) SF: Kelly Sotherton 23.71 (3.5)
400m Nadine Okyere 53.08, Shelayna Oskan (U23) 53.61 (PB), Mica Nottingham (U23) 53.83 (PB), Tara Bird 54.20 (SB)
5000m Justina Heslop 15:58.54 (SB)
100mh (2.1) Angie Broadbelt-Blake 13.12 (13.27sf, 1.6), Ashley Helsby (U23) 13.25, Sara McGreavy 13.39 (13.56, 1.6, SB)
400mh Emily Parker 58.04 (PB)
TJ Nadia Williams 13.94 (2.8), Laura Samuel (U23) 13.77 (2.4), Yasmine Regis 13.68 (4.8),…, 5 Hannah Frankson 13.14 (3.6)
SP Eden Francis 16.53, Rachael Wallader 16.28 (PB)
JT Tesni Ward 49.54, Hayley Thomas 49.36

Full Results