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.

Advertisements