Tag Archive: Gianni Frankis

Following the women’s preview, let’s have a look at what could be in store in the men’s events with the 60m and 400m taking prominent place due to the quality and the strength in depth of the fields.

60m (6.60/10.20 100m)

The renewed clash between Dwain Chambers and Simeon Williamson has effectively been delayed a week, the latter falling into a false-start in Moscow, but has lost none of its appeal or eager anticipation and should be expected as fierce as ever, with no quarters given or taken.

There is more than just an automatic place at stake in this showdown as it is reputation and pride also put on the line by the two sprint heavyweights who will fight it out for the right to the sprint throne of Britain.

Chambers wins the global indoor title in Doha two years ago

A battle that would have been even more tense and tighter had Richard Kilty, who roared to an easy-looking UK-leading 6.61 (PB) last weekend, added his own weight to what could be the showpiece of the championships.

Chambers showed a little tight and heavy-legged but his strength and composure still carried him through to a fast 6.64 secs for runner-up at the Russian Winter in Moscow but he should be expected to move up a gear and very likely into the 6.5s, emerging as a slight favourite to snatch an affair that should go all the way to the line.

Nevertheless, he is building up more with an eye on the summer rather than defending his world title in Istanbul and that would leave him a little vulnerable, athough his main rival is also employing the indoor season as a stepping stone and a platform to the Olympics.

That said, Williamson’s competitive return surpassed expectations, maybe even his very own, in a fastest ever opener of 6.64 secs at the SEAAs and following up even smoother in a 6.65 secs heat in Moscow so he looks back to his best and poised to challenge Chambers into that territory.

Harry Aikines-Ayreety hasn’t shown much yet but he is a force to be reckoned with although explosive starter Andrew Robertson, having improved substantially to a brace of 6.65s (PB) and very consistent, might turn to have an edge to shadow third, or even dare fancy splitting the top two favourites come to that.

An unknown quantity could be Mark Lewis-Francis, maybe risking a little, as he is rather surprisingly lining up after picking up a slight hamstring injury last weekend while young Greg Cackett could be fancied to upset a few names and make his own mark on the domestic scene.

Christian Malcolm is also involved, apparently looking for a gauge of his winter build-up, and along with U20 Adam Gemili and a revamped Leevan Yearwood could edge inside 6.7 secs.

200m (non-major championships event)

Up-and-coming prospect Danny Talbot is brimming with pace and looks poised to roar way inside 21 secs on the strength of the manner he dispenced with the field in Glasgow in 21.17 on the slow turf of Kelvin Hall, coming up as a firm favourite to collect the spoils.

Conrad Williams will be out for some serious speedwork and could drop towards the low 21 secs if his recent PB of 6.80 secs over the shorter dash is anything to go by. As for bronze, best shot looks Linford Christie‘s U23 charge Dannish Walker-Khan (21.51).

400m (46.90i/45.20)

European Indoor bronze medallist Richard Buck shrugged off a scrappy opener at Kelvin Hall to storm back to the top of the UK lists by way of a 46.95 secs in Birmingham last weekend, always thriving in indoor environments, and offers a slender but reliable favourite in what should be a battle royal that could go any way between four or five men.

Nevertheless, Nigel Levine looked sharp and issued a serious warning in landing a total PB of 21.31 secs over 200m at the same meet so poses a serious threat, likely to engage in his trademark aggressive runs from the front. He hasn’t competed over the distance this season but holds a PB of 46.17 secs from last winter.

Hurdler Thomas Phillips struck favourable impressions in a swift winning total PB of 47.08 secs in Seattle recently, even on an oversize track, to suggest a dark horse while the presence of European silver medallist and regular sub 45 man outdoors Michael Bingham adds flair and spice to the affair, off to a 47.61 secs opener last weekend too.

If he has got back on terms with the tight curves of indoor tracks again, he’s going to form a tough proposition to deal with and won’t be easy to beat.

Luke Lennon-Ford hasn’t quite shone so far with a SB of 47.93 secs but the European U23 bronze medallist’s chances shouldn’t be dismissed at any rate while David Riley and James Smallwood will be interesting figures off the back of PBs in 47.53 and 47.67 secs respectively last week.

800m (1:48.00i/1:45.00)

Young Welshman Joe Thomas has been in searing form and turning a revelation on the international stage this season, boasting four wins in as many races, so he should walk away with victory sight unseen – as simple as that!

He holds easily the three fastest times in the British Isles and commands a fiercesome turn of pace that none in the line-up can live with. The issue would be whether he is going to treat the race as a time trial or simply confirm his new-found status in a tactical affair.

Scot Guy Learmonth, into the U23 class now, is effectively in better shape than his SB of 1:49.52 suggests and looks the likeliest to occupy the runner-up spot behind him with former UK indoor champion Ed Aston quite possibly making up the medals.

1500m (3:42.00i or 3:59.00i/3:34.50 or 3:52.00 mile)

Despite a non-finish after being caught up in Mo Farah‘s fall in Boston, James Brewer is firmly back on track and racing well again, he is a shrewd tactician and a strong finisher that will take a good deal to beat no matter what shape the final might take.

Moreover, he has got already the qualifying time in the bag thanks to a 3:57.92 clocking over the mile at the US Open in New York, where he could have even won but for the experience of Andy Baddeley in the dying stages, so he is going to have that concern off his shoulders either and be fully focussed on his task.

Lewis Moses is enjoying the form of his life as reflected in a total PB of 3:41.33 in Vienna recently and could pose questions but maybe a tougher challenge could come from the ‘American’ duo of pacy Scot Kris Gauson and David Bishop, on a sharp upward trend and PBs of 3:59.95 and 4:00.10 in the mile lately. Slightly inconsistent Steve Mitchell could turn a factor into the equation on his day.

3000m (7:52.00i/7:44.00 or 13:19.00 5000m)

There is a quite even field and he who gets his tactics right will go a long way towards claiming top honours, so will it be strength or speed that is going to come on top in this contest?

James Wilkinson has been enjoying a sound winter either on the country, a European U23 silver medallist, or the road, fresh from a best of 13:55 over 5k in Armagh two days ago, and will like to make it a tough race to suit his steeplechase strength rather than leave matters to a late burn-up. On the evidence of his displays, he looks on the way to big improvements over the barriers in summer.

On the other hand, Stephen Davies looks to carry plenty of speed in his legs as his 3:42.39 over 1500m suggests and a slower pace could set him up nicely, while rising distance prospect Jonny Hay could as well be suited either way as he combines both elements well, demostrating a devastating finish past some top names for second in Edinburgh recently.

Jonny Mellor, who also fared well in Armagh, Olympic hopeful Luke Gunn and precocious teenager Zac Seddon are a few other names to watch out for.

60m hurdles (7.65/13.55 110mh)

With Daegu bronze medallist Andy Turner missing the event, the young generation picks up the mantle to pull together a good show over the sticks and they have shown more than equal to the task through the run-up to the UK Trials.

Burgeoning Andy Pozzi has stormed to a massive PB and qualifier of 7.62 secs, amazingly consistent in times in the 7.6 region, to shape a firm favourite to clinch his first British senior title although training partner Lawrence Clarke is lying quite close with also a PB of 7.68 secs and could entertain ambitions of his own, very consistent himself.

Then there is Gianni Frankis who has also made good strides forward to a big PB of 7.70 secs, as well as 6.85 secs over the flat 60m, and may have a say in the procedures while a surprise could arise from the mid 7.7 region where the likes of Julian Adeniran (7.75, PB) and Nick Gayle (7.77, PB) have settled.

Daegu finalist William Sharman and European U20 champion Jack Meredith will be also absent but the event has got more than enough in the tank to work fireworks in the arena of Sheffield.

Pole Vault (5.72)

Steve Lewis has been consistent and put in solid displays on the European pole vault circuit so far but is still missing that elusive qualifying standard and time is running short on him. It is very important that he gets that out of the way before pressure starts heaping up in a tense last week up to the deadline.

That said, he will also have to look over his shoulder as U23 Andrew Sutcliffe is closing in on him dangerously from behind and will fancy his chances of an upset on the buzz of a big PB of 5.54m recently, the youngster having already gone one up into the bargain.

Luke Cutts and Max Eaves haven’t ranged anywhere near their bests so the likes of Joe Ive (5.30), Gregor McLean (5.25) and Nick Crutchley could come in with a shout at the bronze.

High Jump (2.29)

Robbie Grabarz and Samson Oni promise to run away with the senses of spectators on new highs as they have displayed superb form on the circuit to gain a firm foothold in the top tier of the event.

Grabarz soars magnificently over a PB of 2.34 at Woopertal

Grabarz, 24 years of age, soared over a huge PB of 2.34m as he saw off Aleksey Dmitrik (RUS) at Woopertal while Oni equalled his lifetime best of 2.31m for third in a high quality contest in Hustopece, either doubling as an Olympic A qualifier in the process.

Therefore, they have both effectively booked their tickets for Istanbul, Martyn Bernard and Tom Parsons sitting out the indoor term, and can fully concentrate their efforts or raising the bar further with that burden off their shoulders.

This can turn a cracker in the full sense of the word!

Triple Jump (17.00)

With none of the big guns around on various grounds, namely Phillips Idowu, Nathan Douglas and Larry Achike, is it going to be up to someone from well behind to jump at it and snatch a welcome UK indoor gong. U23 Kola Adedoyin , who represented Britain at the new-look European Cup, and representing Jamaica now Nick Thomas come up as the closest bidders to do so, but jumps even over 16m could come at a premium.

Shot Put (20.00)

Scott Rider and Ryan Spencer-Jones appear set to fight it out for the top as a mere cm separates them this term, with SBs of 17.88 and 17.87m respectively, where U23 Zane Duquemin ought to round out the medals on a flurry of indoor bests last weekend.

Carl Myerscough has snatched the qualifying standard with a UK-heading 20.03m first time out this season over in the States but has not made the trip across the Pond.


Joe Thomas and Andy Pozzi have carried the effect of their impressive weekend form to the arena of Dusika Stadion in Vienna, Austria, as they retained their perfect records in the early stages of the season, even though in different fashion.

Having taken apart a notable field involving a certain Boaz Lalang (KEN) in Glasgow, Thomas had hardly any trouble dispensing with a much easier second heat line-up to his third win in as many races in a new indoor best of 1:47.28 at that, carving out plenty of distance on runner-up Vitalij Kozlov (LTU) who set 1:48.64.

For good measure, that was also his third best in a row applying further gloss to an impressive early account so far.

Scot Guy Learmonth, into the U23 age group now, edged out Norwegian Henrik Ingebrigtsen by a full tenth to notch a badly paced third heat in a SB of 1:49.52 while former UK indoor champion Ed Aston came second in a SB of 1:48.85 in the following section.

By contrast to Thomas, Pozzi had a real race on his hands against a surging Gianni Frankis to edge victory by a shade in 7.68 secs at the end, his third fastest ever, as the UK Trials runner-up cashed in on his new-found flat speed to line up a big PB of 7.70 secs for second.

That means that Pozzi has set 7.66, 7.67 and 7.68 secs across his three races so far to display some remarkable consistency on top of his unbeaten run.

Nick Gayle was third in a PB of 7.77 which was bettered by Julian Adeniran earlier in the heats with 7.75 secs for a second PB of his own in three days but didn’t show up in the final later.

Lewis Moses confirmed his promising prospects as he ducked inside the qualifying standard for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in a big PB of 3:41.33 for second behind a strong Andreas Vojta (AUT) who mounted the top of the European lists in 3:38.99, edging ahead of Mo Farah‘s winning 3:39.03 in Glasgow.

Steve Mitchell was only sixth in a rather modest 3:47.00 on the other hand and out of line with his recent showings.

Margott Wells’s Greg Cackett beat his PB by the skin of his teeth into a new mark of 6.69 secs in winning the B final of the men’s 60m, having set an equal PB of 6.70 secs in the heats, while JJ Jegede and Matt Burton filled the top two spots in the long jump with 7.67 (SB) and 7.65m (SB) respectively.

Those weren’t the longest distances turned in by Britons this term, however, as U23 James McLachlan leapt to a total PB of 7.72m in the States during the end of the week.

In the men’s 400m, David Riley grabbed an indoor best of 47.53 secs to get the fourth heat and move second in the UK lists this season while European U23 bronze medallist Luke Lennon-Ford won the A heat in a SB of 47.93 secs.

On the women’s side, Nadine Okyere moved straight to the top of the UK lists through a huge indoor best of 53.43 secs but still finished a well-beaten second to a dominant Vania Stambolova, who toppled Sanya Richards from the top of the global rankings in 51.26 secs.

The Bulgarian looks in great form moving into the indoor season as she has also set an impressive PB of 2:02.03 over 800m.

Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton could not make an impact on the women’s 60m hurdles to trail back in seventh in 8.41 secs, posting 8.35 in the heats, as American Yvette Lewis held off Derval O’Rourke in 8.11 to 8.16 secs, a SB for the latter.

Sarah McGreavy couldn’t make her way past the heats in 8.57 secs at the end of the line in the first run where UK U23 400m hurdles champion Caryl Granville won hers in 8.74 secs (SB), just 0.01 secs off her PB, adding in a PB of 25.11 over 200m and a further SB of 56.18 over 400m for an extensive competitive workout.

Finally, Nadia Williams set a big SB of 13.52m to win the triple jump and gain hope that she could eventually beat the 14m barrier this season, with efforts at 13.42 and 13.31m as well.

Yasmine Regis and world U20 silver medallist Laura Samuel tied at a common SB of 13.16m, both in the last round after a full five foul card until then for the latter, while Shara Proctor tried her hand in after nearly two years to a first attempt 12.95m.



There have been a few interesting performances by British athletes halfway through a week leading up to the traditional formal premiere of the indoor season, the AVIVA International Match in Glasgow.

Steve Lewis opened up with a 5.50m showing for an eventual seventh at the Springer Meeting in Cottbus, Germany, operating still off a 16-stride run-up to the bar. The twice world finalist vaulter looked pleased with his season debut and will be eyeing more representing Britain in the arena of Kelvin Hall on Saturday.

Topping the order was Greek Kostas Filippidis who equalled his own national indoor record of 5.72m for a second time on the trot, the first at Villeurbanne last Saturday, ahead of local favourite and former World U20 champion Raphael Holzdeppe who could muster 5.66m on the day.

Last way down the results list figured former world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco (ITA) at just 5.30m.

There was no pole vault but high jump instead on the women’s side as Svetlana Shkolina edged out her compatriot Irina Gordeeva on countback at a SB of 1.96m for both.



Also in Germany, U23 Chris Baker ended up fifth at 2.14m in the high jump at the Kolner Hochsprung Meeting in Cologne, which was 6cm short of his recent PB of 2.20m in Birmingham behind Robbie Grabarz.

On the domestic stage, UK Trials runner-up Gianni Frankis sped to a big PB of 6.85 secs over the flat 60m to knock a full tenth off his previous best, which (6.95) he had set no less than three times this winter, at the NEB Indoor Series at Newham to indicate that he is gearing up to a big leap on the international ladder.

The 23-year-old, coached by hurdles icon Tony Jarrett, had never run under 7 secs prior to this winter but now has recorded a good seven marks, including a further 6.97 secs in the first round yesterday, in this region packed into the last three weeks alone to demonstrate substantial headway in this department.

As regards the race, he came second on a photofinish decision to Femi Owolade in an identical time, also a big PB for the latter.

U23 Corinne Humphries cut an interesting figure in the women’s dashes by means of a brace of 7.51 and 7.53 secs runs, her fastest two in her career.



Lee Emanuel shows a gradual return to form after a stuttering last summer as he got off to a solid start of a 3:59.69 for fourth in the Cooks Classice Mile at Cooks Garden, New Zealand, speciallymarking the 50th anniversary of the world record over the distance by legendary Kiwi miler Peter Snell.

That made the fourth Brit to run under the ‘magical’ benchmark of four minutes in the distance in less than a week, U23 Rich Peters narrowly wide as well, and there could be a fifth in Kris Gauson, who is racing later tonight, towards a further boost to an encouraging early season.

The Kiwis occupied two places in the top three in the race headed by their star Nick Willis but it was American Will Lear that somewhat spoilt the home party as he held off the Olympic silver medallist to victory in 3:58.49 to 3:58.81.



Allan Scott could not make he final cut of the men’s 60m hurdles as he turned up short in just 7.98 secs for fifth in his heat in Chemnitz, Germany, following a considerably faster comeback of 7.85 secs out of retirement in Glasgow last weekend – but it was always going to prove a demanding task getting  back on track after a lengthy absence from the game.

German Helge Schwarger was a convincing winner in 7.64 secs (SB) from Hungary’s Baji Balazs who set 7.72 secs (SB) in second.

Reese Hoffa (USA) turned in the undisputed highlight of the meeting as he hurled a huge world-leading 21.87m in the men’s shot to turn round last week’s defeat and dominate young German world champion David Storl, who could manage 20.75m on the day. Portoguese record holder Marco Fortes was third at a national indoor mark of 20.57m.

Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider caught the eye as he stormed to a huge global header of 3:37.40 over Kenyan Bethwel Birgen in 3:38.01 and Ethiopian Jana Soresa Fida in 3:39.74, making up the top three spots in the world charts.

Malte Mohr vaulted a SB of 5.72m to sneak win on countback from young compatriot Raphael Holzdeppe, who levelled his own SB, in the men’s pole vault while former Brit Tim Abbeyie, now representing Ghana, was runner-up in the 60m in an equal PB of 6.64 secs behind German Julian Reus (6.59).



Besides the overhead exploits of Holly Bleasdale and Robbie Grabarz overseas on Saturday, there was some serious action on home soil that witnessed a strong return to form for ‘forgotten forces’ Simeon Williamson and Abi Oyepitan in the sprints, as well as a surprise straight world indoor qualifier for Welshman Joe Thomas in Cardiff.

SEAA Championships, Lee Valley

At the Lee Valley, Williamson shrugged off over two years in the shadows and stormed to victory and straight to the top of the UK rankings in a swift 6.64 secs in the 60m, a UK leading mark and his fastest ever opener to a season.

If there had been any questions over his fitness, he dismissed them as early as the quarterfinals of a gruelling four-round racing schedule as he eased up to a comfortable 6.70 secs across the line, following up with a 6.73 secs semifinal, to suggest he is getting back to his very best.

Moreover, that served to peel off the image of a long established ‘slow-starter’ and he means business from the dawn of the season – really, how inspirational can be the ever-growing call of a home Olympics…

Simeon Williamson eases up to a 6.70 secs quarterfinal

He didn’t have things all his own way, though, as a revamped Rion Pierre, the 2009 European U23 100m bronze medallist, gave him a good run for his money to edge himself a PB of 6.66 secs for runner-up, with Josh Swaray nicking third on a photofinish decision tied with James Ellington in an equal PB of 6.70 secs – the original coming in the penultimate round.

‘E-Bay man’ Ellington had earlier posted a marginally faster PB of 6.69 in the semifinals for a sound early outing while Leevan Yearwood missed narrowly out himself a mere hundredth behind in 6.71 secs for fifth, easily his best indoor run in four years, and European U23 400m champion Nigel Levine put in some solid speedwork in 6.76 secs, having set an identical PB of 6.74 secs in both the previous two rounds.

Furlong specialist Danny Talbot left plenty of promise by way of his easily fastest two lifetime runs in 6.73 (quarters) and 6.74 secs (semis) to hone his speed nicely in view of his 200m international assignment for Britain at Kelvin Hall on Saturday.

It turned as competitive and tight up front in the women’s affair as an Abi Oyepitan from the old edged out Laura Turner in a fast 7.31 secs to 7.33 secs respectively, missing agonisingly out on the Istanbul qualifier by a mere hundredth of a second. But, on the strength of that opener, it ought to be only a matter of time before it falls into her stride.

Incidentally, that represented the fastest time in eight years for the Athens 200m Olympic finalist and just 0.04 secs shy of her PB set that very year, showing that she could be on the way to revise her CV seriously this year – and what a fairytale comeback that would make after such a long time in no man’s land!

Oyepitan had backed that up with a 7.34 secs in the semifinals earlier on, Turner returning 7.36 secs, while Margaret Adeoye was third in the final in 7.44 secs having ranged within a mere 0.02 secs through all three rounds, including a PB of 7.43 secs in the semifinals.

Bianca Williams and 17-year-old Sophie Papps engaged in a scintillating duel in the U20 women’s dash to draw big PBs of 7.46 and 7.50 secs respectively, with Dina Asher-Smith taking the U17 version in 7.61 secs.

Over the sticks, UK Trials runner-up Gianni Frankis put his recent string of equal PBs in the flat to good use as he came within a whisker of PB in 7.76 secs for a strong start, holding off Nick Gayle who set a SB of 7.83 secs.

19-year-old Ben Kelk edged under the 8 secs benchmark for the first ever time in 7.97 secs for third ahead of Alex Al Ameen (8.05).

The women’s equivalent saw a dramatic first, of many as it seems on the way, duel between Gemma Bennett and Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton, the two more likely hopefuls to join an effectively certain-to-be-named Tiffany Porter on the British Olympic team, with the win going to the former by the narrowest of margins in 8.25 (SB) to 8.26 secs respectively.

Hayley McLean, a finalist over 400m hurdles at the World Youth Championships, was the winner of the U20 women’s race in 8.87 secs.

In the jumps, Nadia Williams set a narrow SB of 13.13m to comfortably put away the triple jump and Joe Ive was head and shoulders above anyone else with a SB of 5.30m in the men’s pole vault.

Welsh Senior/U15/U13 Championships, Cardiff

Over in Cardiff, Wales, UK indoor champion Joe Thomas impressed as he opted to embark on a lone run out front in the semifinals that saw him draw under the qualifying standard for Istanbul in a best ever indoor mark of 1:47.82 over 800m, second fastest in Europe.

His previous marker indoors was slighly slower in 1:47.87 when upsetting Andie Osagie to a rather surprise UK indoor title but towards the peak of last winter, suggesting that he could be lying on the verge of a big breakthrough.

The young Welshman is next out to represent Britain at the AVIVA International in Glasgow and on that evidence he could well be on the way to a time in the region of 1:45 further into the indoor season – watch this space!

Ryan Spencer-Jones improved considerably up to 17.87m in the shot in his second outing of the winter and his PB of 17.98m shows already shaking on the face of it.

Elsewhere, UK U23 400m hurdles champion Caryl Granville notched the sprint hurdles in 8.79 secs and a fastest for two years indoor time of 56.43 secs in the heats of the 400m, but faltered in third in a considerably slower 57.02 secs in the final behind Helen Pryer (56.41) later on.

Scottish National Open, Glasgow

Allan Scott initiated the second age of his track career on a positive note as he edged his first race since winter 2009 in a decent 7.85 secs, gaining a picture of the early whereabouts of his form. On the face of it, he could draw into the 7.6 province before winter is out which would form a solid platform for the summer.

Former Commonwealth silver medallist Chris Baillie was second in 7.91 secs to show that he is ahead of schedule on last year but wasn’t particularly happy about his display, adding in a 7.13 secs over the flat distance.

Guy Learmonth entered the U23 class in a comfortable 1:51.03 win over 800m, finishing over three seconds ahead of his closest rival.


— Full results in the respective section —

(More later…)

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.


Gianni Frankis has got off to a strong start in the men’s sprint hurdles to wrap up a good fourth morning for the British athletes in Shenzhen.

The UK runner-up clocked the fastest time among all qualifiers out of the first round to claim the opening heat in 13.66 secs in almost still conditions (0.2m/sec) and will be hoping to build on that in the quarterfinals later on.

Welshman Joe Thomas also got off on a winning trail as he comfortably headed the sixth qualifying heat of the men’s 800m home in 1:50.18, hitting the front in the third 200m after a slow first lap of 56.12 secs while Stacey Smith stayed out of trouble herself to get fifth in 4:32.16 in a very slow tactical second virtual semifinal of the women’s 1500m that offered no fastest losers through. Ukraine’s Anna Mishchenko, who impressed in the early stages of the Diamond League this season, was top of that one in 4:31.78.

The first title of the day went to Spaniard Julia Takacs Nyerges who came out an clear winner of the women’s 20km race walking in 1h33:51 to prevail over the mighty Russian girls, led by Tatiana Shemyakina in 1:34.23 for silver while Nina Okhotnikova got bronze in 1h35:10. Judging by the times of the latter couple, who hold very fast times of 1h28:55 and 1h28:41 respectively lying in the top ten in the world, conditions must have been atrocious for the walkers.



As the curtain has gone down and the dust is still settling in the arena of the Alexander stadium following the UK Trials in Birmingham it is time to make to have a close look at and assess how the potential British team to contest the World Championships in Daegu is shaping up, with a week to spare on the qualification deadline.


100m Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Ayreety have sealed their places on the squad as they occupied the first two places at the Trials while Marlon Devonish has made a strong case to get the nod over the remaining third spot, missing out on an automatic place by a fraction and performing well when it mattered. Further, he looks as though he could go faster still.

Mark Lewis-Francis, disqualified in Saturday’s final, finds himself once again with his back to the wall, a situation he seems to love, and although he has worked miraculous escapes over the last year he will need something really special to pull it off again. He will definitely need to better Devonish in a likely run-off at Crystal Palace and that will probably require to run his fastest since 2002 (10.04 secs) to this effect.

Marlon Devonish may have done enough to claim the third spot in the 100m

Craig Pickering didn’t contest the final, I hope there is nothing wrong with him, but I think he’s done enough to get selected for the short relay – I don’t think he can get into the fray for that third spot though. On the other hand, James Dasaolu is done for the season with injury and Simeon Williamson is a long way from full fitness yet.

200m Christian Malcolm and James Ellington have likewise secured their own places as top two but third place is anyone’s guess following the results of the final at the Brum yesterday, where surprise third-place Luke Fagan hasn’t got a single B standard yet.

There are six more Brits holding A standards this season to pick from though Aikines-Ayreety may withdraw his interest after an injury in the heats and European U23 silver medalist James Alaka didn’t run over the weekend, a rather unexpected turn given his run of 20.60 secs into a -1.4m/sec in that final in Ostrava would recommend him as a strong contender.

Therefore, that probably leaves Leon Baptiste, Devonish, Danny Talbot and Richard Kilty in the frame still. I might go for Devonish again, who’s recently set 20.60 into a -0.9m/sec wind, in case he would like to bid to double up unless Talbot rediscovers that cutting edge he showed early season.

Last, I would keep an eye on a lively again Ricky Fifton, who might stage a dramatic late rally and surprise people.

400m There is still a blurry situation hanging over the event but there have also been encouraging performances over the last couple of days that offer hope that things could work out nicely in the end. Martyn Rooney has gained an effective grip on the qualification battle as he won the Trials in a big SB of 45.45 secs, a third B, in windy conditions so I’m feeling confident he is going to land the A standard at Crystal Palace to wrap his place up on the strength of that display.

Chris Clarke staged an astonishing return to form to get second in 45.61 secs carving out two Bs out of as many races, setting also a 45.65 secs in the heats, on only a month’s training and should come in line for a place if Rooney gets the A, although he might be coming in with a shout for that benchmark himself and take his fate in his own hands at this rate. What a talent!

Things may look bleak for Michael Bingham but he can take heart from his rally to win the B final in a well-improved 45.91 secs and hold still some hopes that he could bring off a dramatic turnround of the situation – a week is enough for much to happen and I wouldn’t write him off! An alternative, he has definitely got to be named in the relay and be named into the individual later if he runs inside 45.25 secs past the deadline.

I regard Richard Strachan has shown enough to be selected in the relay, where Dai Greene could figure as well, and from there on the remaining one or two places will be up for grabs between Nigel Levine, Richard Buck, Luke Lennon-Ford, Andrew Steele and Rob Tobin – he pulled up in the final, though, and seems to have withdrawn from the all-British B race at Crystal Palace.

800m Mike Rimmer needed a solid display to show he is firmly on his way back to form and got that, so I think he has ensured of his place holding an A of 1:45.12, while Andie Osagie ought to get at least that second B to book his place and to me he looks capable of a lot more than thattherefore I should expect both to be on the plane to Korea.

For the rest there is going to be a mountain to climb as none has got a single B yet though that fall in the heats could turn a blessing in disguise for Muchtar Mohammed, who is fresh and will be racing in Sweden tomorrow against a field that could draw him inside the targeted 1:46.30. Whereas the others will need until around Thursday to recover from three races back-to-back, with Joe Thomas and Gareth Warburton the other ones that look within calling distance of such a time on current form.

1500m James Shane, who totally destroyed the field in the final yesterday, needs one more B to qualify but has got to run the A standard on this sort of awesome form and seal his place in my view, even if it comes in a (Emsley Car) mile. Andy Baddeley is the only one that fulfils any criteria at the moment holding a B and being a top eight finalist in Beijing so should scrape in one way or another, where Nick McCormick has got an awful lot to do in the following days to stand a fair chance.

James Brewer has got plenty of ground to make in such a short space, Niall Brooks is still looking for some decent form and Colin McCourt looks totally off colour.

5000m Mo Farah has come out earlier today to clarify that he will be running both long distances in Daegu, contrary to the original misinterpreting report on BBC, as he only meant that he needs to take one event at a time. In particular, seeing off Bernard Lagat in a sprint finish equated to passing his ultimate test, with flying colours at that, and must have made up his mind on the double-up.

Chris Thompson has missed plenty of racing over the last couple of month and has got to go out and grab the A qualifier straight away although at the moment he is entered in the 3000m race at Crystal Palace. But it seems that there is a late 5000m lined up on the schedule so he could eventually switch there.

U23 Tom Farrell has got a B qualifier of 13:26.59 but hasn’t raced since the NCAA Champs and surprisingly requested not to be considered for the European U23 Champs where he would be favourite for gold, so a serious doubt, and Andy Vernon is probably the only other who could grind out a time inside 13:27.

10000m World No1 and unbeaten outdoors over any distance Mo Farah will be the only British entry as Chris Thompson wishes to focus on the 5000m instead this season.

Marathon There will be no individual but only team competitors for Britain in this event, namely Lee Merrien, Andrew Lemoncello, Thomas Abyu, Ben Whitby and Dave Webb.

Lawrence Clarke and Gianni Frankis top two finish in the 110m hurdles could blow the qualification battle open to many eventualities

110mh Andy Turner has long ensured of his own place on the team in effect but William Sharman‘s game could be on the line if either Lawrence Clarke or Gianni Frankis gets the A standard within the next few days. They both beat him convincingly as they fought neck and neck to the line in 13.58 and 13.59 secs, gaining a third and second B standard apiece, and that -0.8m/sec wind in the final suggests that they can make the higher grade.

400mh Jack Green found himself in no-man’s-land when forced to withdraw from the Trials through illness on Friday but late the following day was back in the driving seat for the third remaining place as European silver medalist Rhys Williams failed to place among the top two, getting off to a very poor start that let him terribly down.  On top of that, having got a lane for a third Diamond League appearance to cement his place so everything looks well back on track for the new European U23 champion.

A little clumsy at the end maybe bug Nathan Woodward holds on to his first senior UK title and an automatic place for Daegu

Dai Greene was always the owner of a place and Nathan Woodward secured his by winning the UK Trials so save some dramatic late twist owed to Williams, or lively-looking again Richard Davenport or Rick Yates, these three should be representing Britain in Daegu at the turn of the month.

3000mSC Luke Gunn and Rob Mullett line up at Crystal Palace and hopefully one of them could edge under the B standard of 8:32.00, but would that be enough? U23 James Wilkinson and, maybe, Mark Draper could also hold hope of getting there too.

20 & 50km Race Walking Britain will not be represented in both walking events.

Decathlon Daniel Awde needs 111 pts to reach the B standard of 8000pts and Sunday saw him run a huge PB of 46.04 secs over 400m, the fastest ever by a British decathlete, so will be hopefully having a last-ditch crack at it.

Long Jump Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford are certain to be named on the team next week following a superb season so far but new British champion Julian Reid needs desperately two Bs to qualify, lying an agonizing 2cm short (8.08m). He is jumping at Crystal Palace and hopefully can line up another competition to clinch that third place in dramatic fashion – or could JJ Jegede bounce on his PB of 8.04m on Saturday and complete the turn-up?

Triple Jump Phillips Idowu has clinched his place from the moment he took off the board to that winning jump of 17.73m in Berlin two years ago but Nathan Douglas is missing the entire season through injury.

Two-time Olympic finalist Larry Achike landed a mere 2cm short of the B standard at his very first attempt yesterday but pulled up after a foul in the second – hopefully there is nothing serious with him as I’ve picked up that he was stretchered off. Julian Reid isn’t lying far off the B standard either at 16.77m.

High Jump Tom Parsons won on countback to confirm his berth for Daegu while European bronze medalist Martyn Bernard and Rob Grabarz both rose over a B standard of 2.28m. The latter two need both a second B to be considered but if one of them betters the A on top of that all three could line up in Korea.

Pole Vault Steve Lewis hasn’t really got going this season but has done enough to secure his place. Neither Max Eaves nor Luke Cutts look like they could provide an upset as concerns qualification.

Shot Put On the face of it, none looks capable of landing the 20m mark twice, not even Carl Myerscough who has shifted his focus on the discus this season.

Discus Everything very much turned upside down as Abdul Buhari and Myerscough clinched the two automatic places and it is going to come down to an effective throw-off between new European U23 champion Lawrence Okoye and Brett Morse at Crystal Palace for that coveted third spot.

My view? I would have loved to see both there but if I had to pick one that would be rather Lawrence at the moment. He is technically erratic, but mentally very competitive, and while he could plunge below 60m he could also pull out something in the 66-67m anytime and snatch a medal at the same time. He is very unpredictable but that could go both ways and since there is a ‘banker’ like a very consistent Buhari to make a solid bid for the final I would gamble on him.

Brett is a more rounded and complete article but has yet to prove himself when it matters and needs work in that department. But he will come good eventually. I don’t think he could range lower than 61-62m in Daegu but at the same time I don’t think he could go over 64m – but I hope I’m wrong in that.

Hammer Alex Smith drew closer to the B standard courtesy of his new PB of 73.26m but sounded desperately short of competitions to achieve his aim – hopefully, something will come his way.

Javelin James Campbell doesn’t seem like getting back his early season form that saw him hurl a 80.18m and bound to miss out. On the other hand, could Lee Doran provide a last-gasp double strike and save the day for the event? He improved to 78.63m at the Trials to come within calling distance of the B standard and he should hope.