It’s about time to make our usual round across the weekend to pick up some interesting performances by British athletes as things have started stirring in the opening days of the new indoor season, together with some results from the country beyond the top drawer of the Great Edinburgh Cross Country on Saturday.


Josh Swaray rather surprisingly, but also convincingly, came on top of the first notable sprint gathering of the term ahead of more established names like Leon Baptiste over 60m, albeit not much of a strength territory for the Commonwealth 200m champion, at the dash-centred Metaswitch Games at the Lee Valley.

The 25-year-old Harrow sprinter sneaked a new PB of 6.72 secs by a mere hundredth of a second from the outset and went on to level his previous marker of 6.73 secs, set last year on the same ground, in the second flight of races later for a brisk start.

That wasn’t the fastest by a Briton this term, however, as new-kid-on-the-block Greg Cackett sped to a huge PB of 6.70 secs at the Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow Winter Series meet. The 22-year-old took up athletics only a year ago and it’s going to be intriguing to see what his impact on the top guys could be as he is improving by heaps all the way.

Incidentally, Cackett is coached by Margot Wells, the wife and coach of great former Olympic 100m champion Allan Wells.

Leevan Yearwood, former European U23 silver medallist, came second behind Swaray in 6.77 secs, his fastest since 2008, pipping Baptiste and former European indoor finalist Ryan Scott on the line by the slightest of margins, the latter two tied in 6.78 secs.

The positive message for Baptiste, though, was that this was his fastest ever season opener while hurdler Gianni Frankis, runner-up at the UK World Trials in summer, got off to a substantial PB of 6.95 secs, which along with a 6.97 secs earlier on made his first two sub 7 secs marks ever.

On the women’s side, sprinter-turned-heptathlete Marilyn Nwawulor made a sound start by way of a 7.48 secs over the same distance, just two hundredths outside her PB, to get the better of hurdler Gemma Bennett who came in tied with talented 16-year-old Dina Asher-Smith in 7.57 secs, a SB and a PB respectively.

Bennett improved her time marginally to 7.56 secs later on in the day as U20 Bianca Williams set a huge PB of 7.57 secs and former European U20 finalist Anika Shand-Whittingham showed after a long time with 7.62 secs.

A welcome sight was the return of Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton who put together a consistent brace of 8.36 and 8.37 secs clockings over 60m hurdles where Helen Pryer ran an indoor PB of 55.41 secs in the 400m, coupled with a 7.72 secs over 60m, ahead of U23 now Twinelle Hopeson (56.98, iPB).

Over the men’s sticks, Nick Gayle looked lively to stop the clock at his fastest ever starter of 7.88 secs, top of the early UK lists in the process, beating Tony Jarrett’s Josheph Hylton who crept under 8 secs for the second time ever to level his PB of 7.99 secs. Richard Alleyne was third in 8.02 secs behind.



Way up north in Sheffield, as the British Milers Club rolls into the winter circuit, Lewis Moses showed again in good nick to ease to his fastest ever opener over 1500m in 3:45.14 offering glimpses of sub 3:40 potential towards the peak of the indoor season.

Frank Baddick and Richard Weir battled it out over 3000m to the very end to be rewarded with big PBs of 8:07.80 and 8:07.90 respectively while 400m specialist Laura Langowski effected a convincing shock defeat on Alison Leonard by over a second in the women’s 800m in a big PB of 2:09.72 to the latter’s 2:10.76, implying a likely move up in distance.


At the England Combined Events Championships at the same venue, U23 Daniel Gardiner mixed his recent improvements all-round well into a heptathlon PB of 5512pts (senior implements) as he was quick out of his marks to set up his effort well in a big PB of 6.90 secs in the opening discipline of the 60m.

His previous best was a recent 6.94 while he went on to add further PBs in the 60m hurdles (8.50), the pole vault (4.31m) and the 1000m (2:51.46) to comfortably hold off a multi-event debutant Ben Gregory into the runner-up place on 5415pts out of PBs in all seven disciplines and Francis Baker third at 5400pts.

Final Standings

1.Daniel Gardiner (U23) 5512 (PB) (6.90 – PB, 7.31 – PB, 13.64, 1.92, 8.50 – PB, 4.15, 2:51.46 – PB)

2.Ben Gregory 5415 (PB) (7.33 – PB, 6.81 – PB, 12.76 – PB, 1.89 – PB, 8.37 – PB, 4.65 – PB, 2:44.55 – PB)

3.Francis Baker 5400 (SB) (7.29, 7.08, 11.33, 2.01, 8.34, 4.25, 2:44.91 – PB)

Gemma Wheetman topped the women’s pentathlon on 3997pts, drawing an outright PB of 1.68m in the high jump, while Morgan Lake worked up a fabulous debut of 3721pts at her tender 14 lining up PBs of 1.77m in the high jump, 11.35m in the (senior) shot and 9.43 secs over the sticks, plus a notable 5.74m in the long jump. A name to keep track of in the following years.

U20 Katy Marchant scored a big PB of 3935pts marked by another lifetime best on the trot in the hurdles in 8.73 secs.



Down at the South London Athletics Network Open, Carlshalton, Linford Christie’s Robert Graham set a ground-breaking PB of 6.76 secs, previous 6.83 secs from 2010, to turn round a defeat in the earlier round at the hands of Nigel Thomas, who also ground out a marginal PB in 6.80 secs. The latter, by the way, is coached by Christie’s tutor Ron Roddan and had earlier tied his past marker of 6.81 secs.

European 4x400m silver medallist Conrad Williams opened up his season with a 6.87 secs dash, just 0.03 secs short of his PB, for a promising starter.



Over in Cardiff, Wales, Stephen Davies demonstrated that he has finally returned to his very best as he powered to his fastest ever season opener in winning the men’s 1500m in 3:42.39, providing an early tonic to an event that anxiously calls for a swift bounce back after a rocky last summer. On the strength of this outing, the Welshman could be well on the way to duck inside 3:40 later into the indoor term, missing narrowly out on the qualifying standard of 3:42.00 for Istanbul.

Steve Mitchell carried on from where he left off last summer to come runner-up in a big indoor best of 3:43.65 followed by a virtual breakthrough run from 19-year-old Tom Curr to a substantial total PB of 3:44.83 in third spot. Incidentally, those times fill the top three spots in the global lists in the early days of the season.

Joe Thomas made big steps forward in his first showing over the distance in three years to pick up a massive PB of 3:47.55 as he nicked fourth ahead of Adam Bitchell, who was awarded the same time, with U20 Tom Purnell fifth in a total PB of 3:49.38 and Chris Gowell back in sixth in 3:49.56.

Ryan Spencer-Jones put a decent opener of 17.43m in the shot on the infield.



Over to the Manchester Open at Sportcity, former European U23 champion Hayley Jones improved her SB to 7.58 secs over 60m, adding in a further 7.61 secs in another round, and initiated her account in her specialty of the 200m in 24.42 secs.

Liam Clowes, moving into the U23 region this season, opened up with 21.80 secs in the 200m and Zoe Brown got over a best ever season setout of 4.10m in the pole vault, her highest mark since 2009 as well.


Kris Gauson kept up a promising start to the season as he cruised to an easy win by roughly five seconds in 4:06.27 in the mile while ‘chaser Rob Mullett was third in 2:24.41 over a thousand metres at the Indiana Open  in Bloomington, Indiana.

At the same meet, U23 Mike Edwards cleared a PB of 2.20m to take the high jump on his season debut and move straight on par with also U23 Chris Baker in second place of the UK rankings.


Down Under, Martin Brockman scored a total of 7493pts to put away his first decathlon of the year, his second highest ever, but he must have been left to lament a poor second day that saw him slip well off pace for a PB, underlined by a disastrous 3.80m in the pole vault.

The Commonwealth bronze medallist gathered together three PBs of 11.18 secs in the 100m(1.8m/sec), a big 14.29m in the shot and 49.47 secs over 400m to a promising close-out on the opening day but a single best of 57.29m in the javelin wasn’t enough to offset the missed points in the hurdles (15.56, -0.2m/sec) and the discus (38.37) besides the spear on the second.