Category: Multi Events

As the curtains have come down on the most spectacular showpiece of sport on earth and the dust is yet to settle in the arena, just as the cheering of the crowds still resounds around the stands, at the Olympic stadium at Stratford in the wake of nine days of pulsating end-to-end action, the time has come to take a thorough look into the performance of the British team, both on an individual and a collective footing, and assess the gains and losses effected across the board.

Britain claimed four gold medals courtesy of Mo Farah, who accomplished a monumental double over 5000 and 10000m, Jessica Ennis in a UK record in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford in the long jump to equal their best ever figure post WWII, established initially in Tokyo (1964) and emulated in Moscow (1980), as well as a silver by Christine Ohuruogu over 400m and a bronze from Robbie Grabarz in the high jump for a haul of six medals overall, highest since Sydney in 2000.

Mo Farah storms to a sensational Olympic title ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH) over 5000m to wrap up a sublime long distance double along with his 10000m gold a week earlier.

All the same, amidst the buzz and excitement of the heroics of Team GB towards an astounding third place in the Olympic medal table the effect of a relative shortfall in minor silverware or top eight places was somewhat tempered, yet there should not escape the fact that there were either alarming or mystifying gaps in the presence of the team that demand addressing.

The Britons registered a sole male finalist, Andie Osagie, in the distances from 100 through to 1500m just as the women came up with a single representative in Ohuruogu at the sharp end of the sprint and hurdle events; puzzling late formation decisions saw both long relays crash out of the top three places where the lack of medals in the women’s jumps felt slightly as an anticlimax seen against the Turkish delight of three gongs earned in Istanbul a few months earlier.

Nevertheless, hope and promise remain robust for the future as burgeoning prospects such as Lawrence Clarke, Laura Weightman, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Adam Gemili and Sophie Hitchon picked up high marks in their first exams on the grand stage while a sound core to the team lies already in place for an even more successful new Olympic cycle leading up to Rio.

So let’s get started with a detailed picture of the statistics of the team’s showing before we move on to an athlete-by-athlete analysis.


Gold Medals (4): Mo Farah (5000 & 10000m), Jessica Ennis (Heptathlon), Greg Rutherford (LJ)

Silver Medals (1): Christine Ohuruogu (400m)

Bronze Medals (1): Robbie Grabarz (HJ)


4th places (3): Lawrence Clarke (110mh), Dai Greene (400mh), Men’s 4x400m (Conrad Williams, Jack Green, Dai Greene, Martyn Rooney)

5th places (3): Steve Lewis (PV), Yamile Aldama (TJ), Women’s 4x400m (Shana Cox, Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Perri Shakes-Drayton)

6th places (2): Holly Bleasdale (PV), Chris Tomlinson (LJ)

7th places (2): Jo Pavey (5000 & 10000m)

8th places (3): Julia Bleasdale (5000 & 10000m), Andie Osagie (800m)


9th places (1): Shara Proctor (LJ)

10th places (1): Lisa Dobriskey (1500m)

11th places (1): Laura Weightman (1500m)

12th places (3): Lawrence Okoye (DT), Sophie Hitchon (HT), Alex Smith (HT)




Heptathlon: Jessica Ennis 6955

100mh: Jessica Ennis 12.54

HT: Sophie Hitchon  71.98



HT: Sophie Hitchon 71.98



Heptathlon: Katarina Johnson-Thompson 6267


World leading marks (1)


Heptathlon: Jessica Ennis 6955

European leading marks (5 plus a WL)


10000m: Mo Farah 27:30.42

4×400: Conrad Williams, Jack Green, Dai Greene, Martyn Rooney 2:59.53


5000m: Julia Bleasdale 15:02.00

10000m: Jo Pavey 30:53.20

100mh: Jessica Ennis 12.54

UK leading marks (4 plus a WL and 5 ELs)


100m: Dwain Chambers 10.02

800m: Andie Osagie 1:43.77

110mh: Lawrence Clarke 13.31


400m: Christine Ohuruogu 49.70




800m Andie Osagie 1:43.77

110mh Lawrence Clarke 13.31


200m Margaret Adeoye 22.94

1500m Laura Weightman 4:02.99

5000m Julia Bleasdale 15:02.00, Barbara Parker 15:12.81

10000m Jo Pavey 30:53.20, Julia Bleasdale 30:55.63

Heptathlon Jessica Ennis 6955, Katarina Johnson-Thompson 6267

HT Sophie Hitchon 71.98

Multi-events Individual Personal Bests (9)


100m Daniel Awde 10.71


200m Jessica Ennis 22.83, Katarina Johnson-Thompson 23.73

800m Katarina Johnson-Thompson 2:10.76

100mh Jessica Ennis 12.54, Katarina Johnson-Thompson 13.48 (equal)

HJ Katarina Johnson-Thompson 1.89

JT Jessica Ennis 47.49, Louise Hazell 47.38





100m Dwain Chambers 10.02, James Dasaolu 10.13

10000m Mo Farah 27:30.42, Chris Thompson 29:06.14

Marathon Scott Overall 2h22:37

4x400m Conrad Williams, Jack Green, Dai Greene, Martyn Rooney 2:59.53


400m Christine Ohuruogu 49.70

5000m Jo Pavey 15:02.84

Heptathlon Louise Hazell 5856

4x400m Shana Cox, Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Perri Shakes-Drayton 3:24.76

Lawrence Clarke was a revelation of the British team as he snatched a highly unexpected fourth in the 110m hurdles having set a PB of 13.31 secs in the semis

Further statistics:

* Jessica Ennis became the third female multi-eventer from the British shores, after Mary Peters and Denise Lewis, to clinch the Olympic title and raise the heptathlon, incorporating its former version of the pentathlon, as the most successful event for the women’s team in the history of the Olympics. Her score of 6955pts was her second UK record, in the same season at that, to see her move 5th in the all-time rankings in the world.

Come to that, Ennis became the first Briton to lay down two individual UK records in an Olympic Games since Linford Christie in 1988 in Seoul, revising markers in the 100 and 200m.

* Mo Farah emerged as the first Brit to ever claim the Olympic summit in both the 5000 and the 10000m as well as fulfilling that particular distinguished distance double in history, the first European since great Finn Lasse Viren (1976) and sixth in history overall. Ian Stewart (bronze, 1972) and Mike McLeod (silver, 1984) were the last Brits to mount the podium over those distances until London.

* No British relay team have turned in a medal at a global outdoor championships since Berlin 2009.

* Andie Osagie set a PB of 1:43.77 in the men’s 800m final that shapes the fastest time by a Brit over the distance since Peter Elliott winning in 1:42.97 in Seville in distant 1990, slotting into fourth in the UK all-time lists. Furthermore, he came the first Olympic finalist from Britain in the event since Curtis Robb, who occupied sixth back in Barcelona 1992.

* Greg Rutherford ended a long wait of 48 years as he turned the first Brit to clinch the ultimate crown, or even a medal, in the long jump since Lynn ‘the leap’ Davies in Tokyo in 1964.

* Britain failed to put up a single male finalist in the 1500m for the first time since 1992.

* Katarina Johnson-Thompson put together her third UK U20 record this season but remained seventh all-time in the global U20 rankings while her PB of 1.89m in the high jump was the highest by a British U20 girl since Susan Moncrieff‘s equal UK U20 record of 1.91m in 1997.

* Sophie Hitchon initiated Britain’s account in Olympic finals in the women’s hammer, reaching her fourth UK record this season and sixth overall in the progress, while Alex Smith brought an end to a 28-year drought without a Briton in the men’s equivalent. The last to do so were Robert Weir, Martin Girvan and Matt Mileham in Los Angeles in 1984.

* No British sprinter has made the 100m final since Sydney 2000 where Dwain Chambers and Darren Campbell placed fourth and sixth respectively. For that matter, Campbell is the last Brit to have won an individual sprint medal as he went on to grab silver over 200m in the very same Olympics.

* Christine Ohuruogu made the first British girl ever to lay her hands on a second individual Olympic medal, in back-to-back Olympics at that, as well as the only one that has dipped inside 50 secs three times over 400m.

* Dai Greene is the first Briton to make the Olympic 400m hurdles final since Kriss Akabussi‘s bronze medal flight in Barcelona 1992 while Lawrence Clarke brought an end to a barren spell since Colin Jackson‘s fifth in Sydney 2000.

* Holly Bleasdale is the first ever female vaulter from the UK to have made the top eight or even make a final, placing sixth, while Steve Lewis attained the highest ever slot in the men’s equivalent with a fine fifth in London.

* Jo Pavey and Julia Bleasdale moved second and third in the 10000m in the British all-time charts through their PBs of 30:53.20 and 30:55.63 respectively, placing seventh and eighth, to double the number of Brits under 31 minutes as they joined legends Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan in that territory.

Come to that, they occupied the very same places in the 5000m later into the championships, a quite unusual occurence, where Bleasdale had also improved her PB into 15:02.00 to go eighth in the respective all-time lists.


Her indoor term may have stretched longer than most but in a Wagner-esque manner Katarina Johnson-Thompson‘s campaign followed a pattern of continual powerful crescendos working up to a sensational finale as she narrowly missed out on great Karolina Kluft‘s global indoor U20 landmark in the pentathlon.

Neither the venue nor the timing of her venture recommended such a high-class showing leading up to a three-side multi-event international between Britain, France and Spain in Cardiff despite a lengthy string of PBs en route. Yet, the Merseysider turned up with ideas of her own to issue a vigorous statement before turning round into a massive outdoor season.

At the end of the day, it is no mean feat to shake a mark of 4535pts set in Wien that laid a sound platform for the Swede to conquer the senior European crown in Munich back in 2002, indicating that the young Briton could be on the verge of a quantum leap on the international ladder.

Johnson-Thompson hit the ground running as she swept over the hurdles in 8.48 secs, tying her nearly month-old PB, for 1021pts to a flying start before she swung onto the infield to set the arena alight as she soared over a big PB of 1.88m in the high jump, worth a mighty 1080pts to the good.

Adding to the amazement, that made the highest an U20 girl from these shores has cleared since an identical figure by Vikki Hubbard in 2006 and just 3cm shy of the total British U20 record of 1.91m co-held by Lea Goodman (nee Haggett, 1991) and Susan Moncrief (nee Jones, 1997), moving up into equal fifth in the all-time charts.

For that matter, the individual event now savours a rare sight of four female high jumpers over 1.88m or higher in a single season, a privilege lost for many a year, with the entire outdoor spell still lying ahead at that.

The thrill of her latest feat ran away with KJT to put a third PB on the trot at 11.68m in the shot range (640pts) and she might have felt slightly disappointed to land at ‘only’ 6.24m (924pts) on the bounce in the long jump pit, having set a UK U20 indoor record of 6.39m this term.

And there was yet more to come as she wrapped up a fairy tale venture with a total new PB of 2:17.24 over the anchor 800m (861pts), her fourth out of five disciplines, to score an eventual 4526pts for a massive British junior indoor record by no less than 313pts, also the owner of the previous marker at 4213 from Sheffield last year.

She must have taken a moment or two to shake off a momentary daze finding out how desperately close she had come to Kluft’s milestone, skimming past by a mere 9pts, but there would be no words to render her elation at gaining the age group runner-up spot in the history of the event worldwide, making her own mark on the global stage.

It is definitely going to be most intriguing to see how she is going to translate that form into the heptathlon now and it won’t be long before an initial gauge is obtained as she is lining up at the 25 Multistar at Desenzano, Italy, on 5 & 6 May, a multi-eventer also contested by Kelly Sotherton on her return to these quarters.

Meaning that the event will also hold an incorporated essential first British head-to-head between two of the three main contenders for the remaining two Olympic berths alongside certain-to-be-selected Jessica Ennis, the third being Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell.

Incidentally, Johnson-Thompson has also moved third highest scorer ever in the overall rankings of the pentathlon in Britain behind only Ennis’s recent 4965pts in Istanbul and Sotherton’s  4852pts in Valencia 2008.

A name to watch out for the future is also Morgan Lake, having not turned her 15 yet, who turned in an astonishing for her tender age 3953pts in the U20 competition to miss out on winner Aurelie Chaboudez (FRA) by a mere 4 points.

Her superb score sheet displayed a 9.10 secs in the hurdles, 1.79m (PB) in the high jump, 11.32m in the shot, 5.61m in the long jump and a PB of 2:26.55 in the 800m – the prospects of the event look brightest indeed!

Katy Marchant was third on 3934pts, an agonizing sole point outside her PB, as she set PBs of 8.67 secs over the sticks and 2:25.07 over 800m for a solid performance in her own right.


PS The highest ever total assembled by an U20 belongs to East German Sibylle Thiele with 4694pts (8.59, 1.86, 14.32, 6.51, 2:20.4) from 1984 but was performed on an oversize track and thus cannot count for record purposes.

It started like a dream, it ended in heartbreak… Jessica Ennis blasted out of her blocks to a lightning start to her pentathlon venture over the hurdles but a similar, yet sharper, fluctuating performing pattern to Daegu saw her surrender a second title in a row at the back end of the day.

The early to mid stages of the pentathlon hardly suggested that Ennis could possibly miss out on gold

Astonishingly enough, it wasn’t Tatyana Chernova, widely touted as the major threat in the run-up, to thwart her plans as the Russian languished nearly anonymous on the fringes of the affair but Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska who struck a decisive blow out of the woodwork right when her own challenge looked like weathered away.

As Ennis admitted post-competition, there can always be slip-ups on the way as such is the nature of multi-events but what might suggest an alarming streak was that they cropped up on the same corners of the arena, namely the jumps. Which, in turn, is mystifying seeing that her build-up in both disciplines was very promising; an indoor PB of 6.47m in the long jump and a straight return to 1.90s in the high jump.

The European champion is a fierce competitor second to none, never lacking mettle or desire, and an ultimate professional that leaves nothing to chance in her preparations so how those ‘lapses’ in her performance could be possibly accounted for? This is going to be a very challenging area for her and coach Tony Minichiello to probe effectively over the following months and smoothe out any potential underlying issue leading up to London.

There was plenty of speculation hanging around over how genuine was Chernova’s 8.02 secs in the 60m hurdles recently at the Russian Championships. Such a mark could substantially shift the dynamics of the contest and the towering Russian was called on to confirm her revised status. Well, in the end she hardly did herself any favours in the face of it, just as her season-find compatriot Ekaterina Bolshova nowhere near justified her startling early season huge world-leading PB of 4896pts.

Ennis screamed out of her marks to leave everyone else for dead by hurdle two and blazed down the track to claim the race by a street in a sizzling 7.91 secs, her second fastest ever worth 1150pts, and gain a firm hold on the lead from the off as Chernova struggled in vain to offer any sort of competition in a distant second in 8.29 secs for 1064pts, within her familiar standards.

Dobrynska arrived further behind in third in 8.38 secs to pick up 1044pts whereas Bolshova wound up a disappointing last but one in 8.62 secs for just 991pts.

The first damage to Ennis’s chances may have been brought on in the high jump as she departed well earlier than anticipated with only 1.87m (1067pts) to her name, at the third effort at that, but that didn’t seem to matter much at the time as Bolshova tied at the same height, with Chernova staying a notch lower along with Dobrynska at 1.84 (1029pts).

And it looked all but game over when the Briton rebounded well from a relatively slow start of 13.89 to register a SB of 14.39m second time out and wind up to a big total PB of 14.79m (847pts) in the final round of the shot, soaking up the anticipated counter-attack of Dobrynska who had to do with 16.51m (962pts, SB) in a stronghold of hers.

That was the place where the Ukrainian would have hoped to mount a charge to the front, a 17 plus performer, but Ennis held on to her lead even by a shade to effectively tighten her grip on gold.

Austra Skujyte (LTU) moved into the top three (second) for the first time with 16.26m (946pts) whereas Chernova looked done despite a SB of 13.90 (787pts) and Bolshova threw the towel into the circle after a poor 12.07m (666pts) at the bottom of the order.

Nevertheless, Ennis was caught on the hop and left stranded as Dobrynska hit a SB of 6.57m (1030pts) at the death in the long jump to turn the affair thoroughly round into a firm favourite with a lead of 93pts and just a discipline to spare, making the best of the Briton’s slump to just 6.19m (908pts) compounded with a foul in the final round, while Skujyte remained second as the two swapped places either side of her.

The final stages of the pentathlon with Dobrynska setting a new world record

The ghosts of Daegu manifested themselves to haunt Ennis again as she went into the 800m chasing the nearly impossible of beating the Ukrainian with at least a 6.5 secs margin, which turned a bridge too far in the end. The final act was simply played out with Dobrynska shadowing her every move round the track to keep within safe distance of a late surge in a PB of 2:11.15 and finally clinch the much coveted global crown.

On top of that, the fast pace ensured she toppled the long-standing world record of Irina Belova (RUS) with a total of 5013pts in the wake to become the first ever marker to breach the barrier of 5000pts in history, doubling the effect and her delight – it’s not a little thing making history after all.

Ennis was still rewarded for her heroic efforts with a new UK record of 4965pts for silver as she crossed the line first in a PB of 2:08.09 and will take plenty of material to the drawing-board in order to lay out the best possible campaign to London. If anything, she knows that she is still the best, what she has got to do is make sure she doesn’t fall into the same pitfalls again.

Skujyte held comfortably the third spot for a well-deserved bronze on also a national record of 4802 pts but Chernova will be far from pleased to wind up fifth on 4725 and so will be a mere sixth Bolshova on 4639pts.

Eaton marches on in the heptathlon

By stark contrast to a knife-edged pentathlon, the men’s equivalent has turned into an Aston Eaton vs the scoring system affair that can hardly bear the term contest as his rivals cannot anywhere near keep up with his dizzy pace through the disciplines.

The American may have been somewhat slow out of his marks to a 6.79 secs (958pts) in the 60m, still sufficient to hand him an early 29-point edge, but settled quickly into his stride to take off to a sensational PB of 8.16m (1102pts) in the long jump and well on world record pace, gathering 2060pts and a 151pts lead on Oleksiy Kasyanov (UKR).

A second PB on the bounce with 14.56m (763pts) in the shot injected further impetus into his challenge to 2823pts after three disciplines, Kasyanov slicing off the deficit to 110pts, and Eaton topped off the first day over a SB of 2.03m (831pts) for a total of 3654pts so far, a sound 165pts on the Ukrainian and a full 365pts on currently third-placed Artem Lukyanenko (RUS).


Dwain Chambers kept his nerve and coped well to start the defence of his title on the front foot as he commanded the last first-round heat of the 60m in 6.65 secs amidst nearly farcical circumstances that as good as compromised the credibility of the championships on the first day. What with the malfunction of speakers in the starting blocks and the system failing to identify flyers time and again, there was havoc wreaked and heavy casualties made across the opening flights of heats in both men’s dash and the women’s hurdles.

None more so than slight pre-event favourite Lerone Clarke (JAM) who was left chasing shadows and even hobbled injured across the line in just 7.05 secs in the third heat for a short-lived cameo in the championships as Italian Simone Collio was allowed to get away with a blatant false-start, winning in 6.68 secs.

All the same, former world champion Justin Gatlin showed composure to put away the penultimate section in 6.64 secs with ease and suggest an early favourite, fastest out of the preliminaries, as countryman Trell Kimmons had notched the previous run in a slower 6.70 secs.

In the same light, sensational American Kristi Castlin, top-ranked in the world, was left watching in dismay as the other runners were going away waiting for a recall that never came after a flyer apparently coming from the adjacent left lane by final top-placer Alina Talay (BLR, 8.11) in the second heat, with Jamaican Vonette Dixon also pulling over after the second hurdle in the same thought.

British captain Tiffany Porter, having born the brunt of a renewed malicious ‘plastic Brit’ attack by Daily Mail, negotiated her task and tension superbly to come away a thorough winner of heat three in 8 secs dead and assert herself as a genuine medal contender, nevertheless it was global outdoor champion Sally Pearson (AUS) that sent rumbles of thunder around the arena as she stormed over the sticks to a blistering 7.85 secs to emerge as red hot favourite for gold, a new Oceanian record from the outset.

Both Brits made their way into the semifinals of the men’s 800m although via different routes in a preliminary round that saw Sudan’s Ismail Ismail, fourth in Doha, bomb out early but otherwise followed normal service.

Joe Thomas opted to take matters from the front this once to put away the fourth heat in 1:49.73 but a foot injury creeping in saw him slightly struggle in the dying stages and could compromise his chances. On the other hand, Andie Osagie was narrowly edged out of the automatic places by a mere two hundredths into third in the same time earlier in the second section and endured a nervous wait before he ensured of his own passage as best of six fastest losers, yet rather comfortably in the end.


‘Young lions’ Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili sparkled at the gathering of the English junior age groups in Birmingham as they lined up impressive strings of displays across the weekend, with the former laying the foundations of a big breakthrough even into the realms of the Olympics for London this season.

KTJ started off her busy schedule to a vigorous winning 6.30m in the long jump on the first day, just 9cm short of her recent UK indoor U20 record, before coming back on Sunday to rise above a total PB of 1.85m in her first high jump outing this term, a discipline carrying great weight in multi-events.

But there was still a lot more left to come from her as she settled into her blocks at the far end of the infield straight next to breeze to a swift 8.53 secs (SB) over the sticks and qualify easily fastest out of the heats.

A hat-trick of golds was eventually foiled by highly-rated hurdle speciallist Yasmin Miller, just 16, who rose to the challenge to snatch victory in a fabulous PB of 8.45 secs but the Merseysider had yet every reason to leave the arena happy, wrapping up her weekend showing in a second PB of 8.48 secs.

European U20 silver medallist Gemili didn’t turn up any short in quality either as he stormed to a massive PB of 6.68 over the dash and up to seventh in the British all-time junior rankings over the distance, coming away with a comprehensive win in the process.

And he completed an awesome sprint double the following day over the rarer 200m in a brisk indoor best of 21.20 secs to demonstrate plenty of potential and promise in view of the World U20 Championships this summer, although he may have to face off with the challenge of Delano Williams on the longer distance even on the domestic front.

An intriguing character to mark out for the future is Jordan Bransberg, turning just 17 last month, who swept to a sterling 1:50.31 in comfortably claiming the U20 men’s 800m and fall into fourth place in the indoor UK all-time lists, with a good two more seasons available to knock David Sharpe‘s dusted long-standing milestone of 1:48.53 off its pedestral.

Ben Waterman was second-placed in an interesting 1:51.10, an outright PB.

The headliner of the championships was, however, World & European U20 sprint princess Jodie Williams who nevertheless still looked again somewhat shy of her best despite dominating the women’s U20 dash in a standard 7.47 secs, a fortnight before she engages senior action again on the turf of Istanbul.

Apparently, she has been still more on an speed endurance rather than sheer speed pattern trainingwise, her sights fixed on a massive summer ahead, which has taken some of the bite out of her sprinting at the moment.

Stefi Wilson, 17, was second in a PB of 7.61 secs while Dina Asher-Smith shone by means of a smooth sprint double of 7.56 secs (PB) and 24.61 (iPB) in the U17 women’s 60 and 200m respectively.

Another Liverpoolian to strike promising ahead of the summer was 17-year-old Alex Boyce as he powered round the track to a total PB of 47.82 secs in notching the U20 men’s 400m, having pledged a fast time in an easy 48.17 secs from the heats.

He may have not made the final of the World Youths last summer but he is definitely laying a solid springboard to bid for a top eight placing at the immediately next tier on this evidence.

Some U17 names to show potential were high jumper Chris Kandu over a PB of 2.08m, training under John Herbert, and Jermaine Hamilton in a scintillating 21.73 secs (PB) over 200m, having bagged the 60m title in also a PB of 6.94.

In the women’s shot, Sophie McKinna was all dominant at 14.82m and World Youth bronze medallist Lucy Bryan tucked away the U20 women’s pole vault at 3.80m.


The competitive weekend is well into motion and the women’s pole vault has, as expected, dominated attention on Saturday from a British point of view as burgeoning new star Holly Bleasdale sneaked a narrow second win in as many winter outings in France while Sally Peake got her season off over a new Welsh indoor record up in Manchester.

European champion Jessica Ennis made a low-key inaugural showing this term in the shot at the Northern Athletics Championships in Sheffield while Andrew Robertson burst off to a UK-leading and equal PB of 6.68 secs in the 60m in Birmingham.

Meeting Capitale Perche, Clermont Ferrand, France

Holly Bleasdale may have not been as impressive on her return to France but she still pipped local girl Vanessa Boslak on countback at 4.52m, going over at the second time, to maintain her unbeaten early streak while her overall display itself was solid at this particular stage of the winter. But such are the heights she has rocketed to that marks in this region hardly earn her headlines anymore!

The European U23 champion made her entrance considerably higher with a first-time clearance at 4.33m, compared to just 4.21m en route to her UK record of 4.71m in Orleans, to  move on straight to her winning height before bowing out after three failures at 4.62m.

Incidentally, home nation record holder Boslak, boasting a PB of 4.70m, was again runner-up to Bleasdale on that previous occasion but comprehensively beaten at 4.51m, sneaking a SB today.

Third, fresh from a UK U20 record a week ago today, was Julien Raffalli’s new hot prospect Katie Byres on 4.33m at the third attempt, her second highest ever, to show that she is quickly settling in that region.

On the men’s side, Andrew Sutcliffe vaulted over a substantial SB of 5.33m to share top spot with Spaniard Manuel Conception in the men’s B competition, both displaying an identical card. That translates as his third best figure ever and augurs well for his ambitions into the main season.



Vault Manchester, Sportcity, Manchester

Sally Peake set an indoor Welsh record of 4.33m up at the Manchester Vault to go third in the UK lists this indoor term and enter the fray in promising manner, failing

Training alongside Britain’s No 2 Kate Dennison under Scott Simpson, she also holds the outright Welsh record at 4.35m from last summer and looks to set herself up nicely towards a bid for the A Olympic standard further down the way. As things turn, Britain could well see three women pole vaulters competing in London and it’s going to be interesting to see whether their male counterparts follow in their footsteps.

Bryone Raine was second at also a season starter of 4.13m, just 3cm below her PB from last summer, on countback from Zoe Brown, who climbed up by an identical amount on last weekend. Further below, Sally Scott was inducted into the U23 age group by way of a 4.03m mark and World Youth bronze medallist Lucy Bryan opened up with 3.83m, but Scottish record holder Henrietta Paxton must have been disappointed to leave the competition with only 3.73m to her credit.

On the men’s side, Commonwealth bronze medallist Max Eaves comfortably prevailed with a 5.23m clearance to place a good 20cm up on second-slotted U23 Gregor McLean, U20 Jax Thoirs (U20 Scottish indoor record) and Alasdair Strange who came all level at 5.03m.



Texas 10 Team Invitational, College Station, Texas, USA

Tyrone Edgar feels he is getting back to his best, injury-free after quite a while, and his first sample of a decent 6.76 secs to win the Olympic Development section over 60m at the Texan meet pointed to that direction. For that matter, that was his first indoor race since 2009 while his next outing looks to come in Houston late in the month.

Lorraine Ugen occupied second in the long jump with a last-gasp best of 6.12m on the day.

The most notable moment of the meet came in the women’s Olympic Development 60m where rising American prospect Jessica Young pipped Muna Lee on the line by a mere hundredth of a second, setting 7.31 and 7.32 secs respectively, while Charles Silmon won in 6.66 secs in the scoring men’s 60m final.



Northern Championships, Sheffield, Day I

Jessica Ennis, a major gold medal hope in London for Britain, might have left the arena slightly disappointed as her final-effort of 13.95m starting-point in the shot this term fared down on her respective opener of 14.11m at the same meet a year ago tomorrow. All the same, that was still a solid start amidst a heavy training schedule for the European heptathlon champion.

Her series were 13.46, 13.28, 13.03, 13.69, 13.86, 13.95 stepping up her throwing in the second half of the competition.

Highly tipped hurdler Yasmin Miller, just 16, caught the eye as she initiated her own campaign in a huge PB of 7.53 secs over the flat 60m, having also posted an intermediate best of 7.61 in the heats, and made a double of wins over the sticks in 8.69 secs.

Come to that, she convincingly got the better of multi-event top U20 prospect Katarina Johnson-Thompson over the flat distance although the Merseysider could be nonetheless pleased to have started off to a PB of 7.70 secs herself.

Kirsten McAslan, coached by Trevor Painter, tore round to an indoor PB of 54.35 secs from the outset, doubling as a championships record, which was not far off her absolute topper of 53.98 secs from last summer where Louise Bloor sped to a big PB of 7.46 secs in the heats, backing it up with a 7.48 secs later in the final.

U23 Annabelle Lewis was second in that one in 7.53 secs.

In a very competitive U20 Men’s 400m, precocious Clovis Asong edged top place just outside his fastest indoors in 48.43 secs ahead of Luke South (48.53) and Alex Boyce (48,71) dusting off some winter training cobwebs.



Midland Counties Open, Birmingham, Day I

Andrew Robertson wasted no time to get his game going this term as he swept to a straight equal PB of 6.68 secs in the men’s 60m, ‘warming up’ to a 6.71 secs in the first round, to replace Greg Cackett at the top of the UK charts.

The self-coached sprinter, an awesome starter, will be eager to cash in on his European U23 100m bronze into a relay contender for London but he will definitely have to work a great deal on his last 20m into the race, which was evidently suffering last summer.

Rion Pierre, the European U23 100m bronze medallist of 2009, came home second some way behind in 6.74 secs, having set a more promising 6.72 secs in the opening round though, while hurdler Gianni Frankis put in some more good speedwork by way of a brace of 6.95 secs trips down the straight to equal his week-old PB twice.

In the women’s version, Laura Turner ran the two fastest times in Britain this season starting with a 7.43 secs in the early flight and following up into a slightly faster 7.41 secs later on the day, way ahead of the opposition including Kadi-Ann Thomas. The latter looked still a long way from her best in third in 7.71 secs though a familiar slow starter.

400m girl Nadine Okyere posted a PB of 7.87 secs by the way backed up by her second fastest ever 7.90 secs in the following run for an encouraging start.

There was also good news from Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton who improved her SB substantially to 8.25 secs and attested her early form with a second run in that province in 8.27 secs, with former European indoor finalist Sarah McGreavy posting 8.53 secs.



McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge, Cardiff

Dab country hand Frank Tickner has seen off Jonny Hay, who sent shockwaves around in Edinburgh last weekend, to defend his title over the roughly 10km course in Cardiff through a solid six seconds although it may have been a distance too far yet for the youngster.

Results (Top 4)

Senior Men: 1,Frank Tickner 32.10, 2.Jonny Hay (U23) 32.16, 3,Adam Hickey 32.23, 4,Ashley Harrell 32.33

Senior Women:1.Lauren Howarth (U23) 24:18, 2.Caryl Jones 24:35, 3.Katrina Wooton 24:49, 4.Naomi Taschimowitz 24:53

U20 Men: 1.Harvey Dixon 25:16, 2.Ian Bailey 25.32, 3.Zak Seddon 25.44, 4.Joshua Grace 25:45

U20 Women: 1.Annabel Gummow 16.35, 2.Jennifer Walsh 16.46, 3.Jess Chen 17.27, 4.Abbie Hetherington 17.33


SEAA Championships incorporating U17/U15 Pentathlon Championships, Lee Valley

The high jumpers look to have taken the bit between their teeth and set out to make their point as Samson Oni followed up on Robbie Grabarz‘s impressive premiere the previous weekend to get off over a straight best ever season opener of 2.26m in the high jump.

By the way of things, there could be at least three contenders vying for places on the British team to the World Indoor Championships and the 31-year-old has already drawn into the mix and within shouting distance of the qualifying standard (2.29).

Louis Persent, the European U20 bronze medallist in 2009, ran 48.65 secs in the semifiinals of the men’s 400m but didn’t show up in the final later while 17-year-old hurdler Hayley McLean, sixth at the World Youth Championships last summer, was off to a straight indoor best of 57.58 secs, a mere 0.03 secs shy of her total PB.



Midland Counties Open, Birmingham, Day II

Robbie Grabarz may have not matched the heights of the previous weekend, sailing over a world indoor qualifier of 2.29m, but still managed a respectable level of 2.24m in the high jump to easily remain on a winning note into the new year, with semi-returned former European U23 champion Ben Challenger at 2.05m.

Former World Youth champion Ben Williams put in a triple jump opener of 15.28m while Adele Lassu nicked top place on countback at 1.80m from Isobel Pooley in the women’s high jump. As the main interest revolved around the jumps, U20 Naomi Reid won the age group competition at 12.13m.



Northern Championships, Sheffield, Day II

Former European U23 silver medallist Luke Cutts delayed his outing by a day, down for the Vault Manchester on Saturday, but eventually turned up in Sheffield to coast to an easy win at 5.20m, the same as nearly a month ago at Sportcity.

UK Trials runner-up JJ Jegede edged out comeback man Chris Kirk in the long jump, reaching 7.44 to 7.32m respectively, as Nadia Williams worked her way to a clear win in the triple jump with 13.11m after some early pressure from Yasmine Regis (12.79m).

Fourth in the same competition was no-event-regular Katarina Johnson-Thompson who never fails to show potential in yet another quarter and landed at a total PB of 12.56m, her second in as many line-ups during the weekend.



Chevron Houston Marathon, Texas, US

Holly Rush agonizingly missed her three-year-old PB by a mere three seconds in running 2h37:38 for an overall 38th in the streets of the Texan capital, falling short of the Olympic B standard in the process.


(More later on…)

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.


Paula Radcliffe has struck the right note to her early call-up to the British Olympic team for London as she romped to a walkover of a 10km in the Cursa de Natale round the streets of Monaco in a huge SB of 32:06.

The outing was actually a very late call on her return from a lengthy altitude training spell at Iten in Kenya along with the likes of Helen Clitheroe and the marathon world record holder was eager to gauge the benefits of her stint with immediate effect on the hilly course, which lends even more credit to her time.

After the race, she sounded quite pleased with her run, saying “The weather there (Kenya) has been unseasonably wet which turned most of roads and trails into mud but training has gone really well. Although I wasn’t feeling very sharp the three climbs on the Monaco course felt really easy because of Kenya.”

By the way, only Iten-roumate and friend Clitheroe has run faster among Britons over the distance on the road this year when she set 31:45 in winning the Great BUPA Manchester Run in mid May.

Elsewhere around Britain…

European silver medallist Mike Rimmer made his second low-key appearance over any distance or surface since early eliminated in the heats of the 800m in Daegu, which summed up a very frustrating track season, to tackle a well-beyond-his-range 10-miler in Stockport, coming home seventh in a debut 55:47.

The 25-year-old said last month that he might require surgery to sort out a mysterious injury that ruined his summer campaign but the very welcome sight of him racing againg could make for an encouraging sign that he is drawing back on track.

Forme miler Matt Barnes was first across the line in also a debut time of 50:55 while Anthony Ford was third in 51:47.


At the Loughborough Students AC Open, U23 decathlete David Guest initiated his indoor competitive trail by way of a three-discipline workout of promising early marks. He completed a brace of 60m hurdles in 8.38 and 8.32 secs, just four hundredths off his best ever, long jumped to 7.18m – his longest in any environment this year – and put the shot at 11.56m.

The Welshman, coached by his father Mike, totalled a classy 7727pts as an U20 with the senior implements last year, top marker in the world, but he was seriously hampered by injuries last summer to miss both the European U23 Championships and, potentially, even the World Championships in Daegu.

Over at the SEAA Inter-Counties on the country at Croydon, teenage sensation Jessica Judd won comfortably from Grace Baker in the U17 women’s race by a sound 27 secs in 18:20 to 18:47 respectively.


Mick Woods’s new charge Jess Coulson, who set a UK U23 best over 10 miles in early autumn, rebounded well from a lacklustre showing at the European XC Trials in Liverpool to get third in 16:06 over 5km in Sion, Switzerland, on Saturday.

The duo of Caroline Chepkwony and Jane Muia made a Kenyan one-two at  the top of the race in 15:51 and 15:57 respectively.


As shocking her omission from the original lists released in October was, so astonishing has been Louise Hazell‘s reinstatement out of the woodwork to the UK Athletics funding scheme for the Olympic season, as herself announced only a little while ago on Twitter.

The Commonwealth champion was among several British athletes that felt hard done by on the back of controversial decisions by head coach Charles van Commennee and his panel but has now come to win her first appeal and receive a most welcome boost to her campaign as she endeavours to mount a challenge into the top eight positions in the heptathlon in London.

Incidentally, that is the second instance of such a turnround as UK U23 steeplechase record holder Eilish McColgan was suddenly taken off funding in late October only to be restored hardly a couple of days later, with Jemma Simpson also to have her case looked into again with hope of a reprieve, so more athletes could gain prospect of such a turn.

For that matter, Hazell already holds the Olympic A qualifying standard on her PB of 6166pts totalled at the multi-event meeting of Ratingen, Germany, last July.

Jessica Ennis has let drop, much to the surprise of many, that she intends to launch into a full-scale indoor campaign peaking in the defence of her world pentathlon crown in Istanbul in March.

The world’s arguable number-one female multi-eventer was throught set to give the indoor showpiece a miss in order to fully focus on the ultimate challenge looming large on the horizon, the London Olympics, where lies the only major title missing from her awesome collection.

Nevertheless, her defeat to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova in Daegu may have felt a little bitter to settle for and urged a shake-up of plans and an earlier than anticipated head-on encounter in order to show who is still the boss around and restore normal order as a further mental boost on the way to London.

Apart from the Russian, Germany’s Jennifer Oessen, forming a habitual bronze medal backdrop to all recent major battles on the big stage, looks also likely to line up in Turkey to ensure of a near full replay of the affair in an indoor environment.

There is some concern, all the same, whether Ennis may be risking a little coming out in top gear just a few months before what could be the paramount showdown of her career but at the end of the day both herself and her coach Tony Minnichiello have shown to know their way round the ropes very well.

Following Kelly Sotherton‘s shocking announcement of switching back to the multi-events, there could be an interesting contest set up for the two places on offer behind Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon for the British team in the Olympics in London.

Apart from the former Olympic bronze medallist herself, Commonwealth champion and poetry lover Louise Hazell, holding the edge as owner of the Olympic A standard already, is an established serious contender for a berth while rising U20 star Katarina Johnson-Thompson could also enter the fray if she can range closer to her PBs across disciplines in a heptathlon, performing well within herself in her PB of 5787pts, and could improve substantially a season on.

So which two do you think are going to follow Jess into the arena of the Olympic stadium at Stratford?