Tag Archive: Helen Clitheroe

There have been mixed feelings on the road for the British girls as Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue battled it out for the top honours in the streets of Dublin to underline their promise whereas Paula Radcliffe suffered a serious blow to her hopes of eventually claiming that elusive Olympic medal in London as she faltered well off her target in Vienna.

On the track, Martyn Rooney opened his account to winning ways in style in Los Angeles and Abi Oyepitan evoked robust glimpses of the form that paved the way to the 200m final in Athens, with young Sophie Papps illustrating a glittering future in the women’s sprints at the Lee Valley.

OMV Half Marathon, Vienna

The much hyped “Emperor vs the Queen” virtual handicap race against great Haile Gebrselassie never really waltzed round the streets of the city of Johan Strauss as Radcliffe faded away over the back end of the half marathon course despite an encouraging start.

On a specially arranged format, the Briton was afforded a headstart of 7:52 on the differential between the lifetime bests of the two legends of distance running and showed purpose in the early stages to move past the opening 5k on schedule in 16:13.

But it turned all uphill from there on as the effects of a recent bout of bronchitis and pleurisy caught up with her and her strength started to waver in a test of mentality rather than an intended gauge of form and sharpener that reared up.

In due consideration, that was a race the world marathon record holder should have never run but she may have fallen for that false feeling of full recovery so many times when strength hasn’t actually settled back in yet, meddled with the anxiety of slipping behind her Olympic agenda.

By stark contrast, the ’emperor’ showed rejuvenated again, as if holding a charm of making, so much so that he soon released his rabbits of their duties to follow his own preferred tempo and breezed past Radcliffe slightly after the 15km mark, extending a shout of encouragement to his credit, on the way to wrapping up both contests in a time of 60.52.

Topping the women in a final time of 72:03, the slowest she has ever returned over the distance, will hardly offer any consolation for the Brit who, as Steve Cram wisely points out, will have to pick her way and races up to London very carefully henceforth, without any margin for mistakes.

SPAR Great Ireland Run, Dublin

The spell of the Olympics in London looks to work wonders on almost every department of home athletics and the spectacle of season revelation Gemma Steel and returning-to-action Charlotte Purdue pulling away from the field into a commanding British one-two in the women’s 10km race stirred life into hope of a revival over a distance that has been deep in the shades in recent years on the track.

Steel worked up a decisive four second gap on her domestic rival over the final kilometre of the course to collect the spoils in a huge best of  32:06, moving ninth in the UK all-time lists, and built on a sound run on all surfaces since autumn but Purdue won’t feel hard done by either with runner-up in a big new lifetime mark of 32:10 to slot into eleventh fastest ever herself.

Even more so when the young AFD runner came into the race still feeling a swift 15:29 long leg at the National Women’s 6-stager at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the previous day in her legs to show that form is falling in nicely down the way. Both times, without a doubt, indicate that the two Brits could pull the A standard of 31:45.00 on the track in the following several weeks and a place on the British team to London, an exciting prospect.

On the other hand, Helen Clitheroe endured a bad day at the office on her comeback from a training spell in Portugal as she looked rather uncomfortable midway through and trailed a long way behind the main action in fourth in 33:02 (SB), with Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay splitting the Brits in third in 32:27.

The men’s race could not bear the term contest by any means as great Kenenisa Bekele stormed to the front with the gun to force a searing pace, confident and flowing round the route, that saw him walk away with victory in a swift 27:49, a huge course record, as none survived on his tail even by the halfway mark.

A gap of almost a minute up on his nearest rival, as well as a few fleeting smiles looking round on the way, told the tale of a man back in serious business and feeling pleased with his form and fitness even though there was hardly a field to really test him over the distance. But time and races will tell whether he is back to his best once he swings onto the track next month with his showdown against Mo Farah over 5000m in Eugene looming large on the horizon.

Spaniard Ayam Lamdassam hung on to runner-up in 28:48 a mere second ahead of Italian Daniele Meucci, fourth and third behind Farah over 10000m in Barcelona, as they trailed a long way behind while Nick McCormick enjoyed another encouraging run to end up fifth in 29:04 and will take plenty of heart from a scalp like former European 5000m champion Jesus Espana.


New British sensation Holly Bleasdale is engaging a second joust with Yelena Isinbayeva for the right to the women’s pole vault summit in the skies of Stockholm tonight after the Russian ground out a narrow victory on countback in their opening encounter in Bydgoszcz.

The Briton has shown sound consistency to string together two straight wins on home soil over identical heights of 4.70m since while her great rival has risen higher over a winning SB of 4.81m in Lievin, France, and remains unbeaten so far this term.

With the World Indoor Championships just three  weeks away, the tie shapes a weighty dress rehearsal and Bleasdale will be eyeing to restore parity and a substantial mental boost before their crucial indoor showdown. So can she make it tonight or Isinbayeva will extend her lead to two up in their encounters?

Former world champion Anna Rogowska (POL) will be lurking behind poised to pounce on any potential opening that could appear, adding quality to the affair, while Cuban Yarisley Silva and also Pole Monica Pyrek are other names to note among the field.

Apart from the women’s pole vault, the third act of the Liu Xiang vs Dayron Robles saga in the men’s sprint hurdles also takes centre stage in the Swedish arena of the XL Galan although the Chinese former Olympic champion should extend his unbeaten run this season on current form all things equal.

The limelight will be equally on awesome Anna Chicherova (RUS) who is nonchalantly pulling together non-stop clearances over 2m in the high jump on the circuit, with Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut (BE) also falling in.

Joe Thomas is pitted against a top field that involves flying Pole Adam Kszczot, a hot favourite in fearsome form of late, Mohammed Aman (ETH), the youngster who brought David Rudisha‘s unbeaten streak to a halt last summer, European champion Marcin Lewandowski (POL) and Kenyan Boaz Lalang, looking for some good scalps and hopefully get drawn into the 1:45 region fresh from a 1:46.35 PB last weekend.

Andie Osagie goes in the B race where he ought to dominate with aplomb while Helen Clitheroe is out for a quality sharpener against the likes of Morgan Uceny, Anna Pierce (USA) and Btissam Lakhouad (MAR) in the 1500m in view of Istanbul. Hannah England was also due to compete over the distance but has been a late withdrawal.

Shana Cox will be hoping to draw inside 52 secs in a nearly all-British women’s B 400m, with fast-improving Emily Diamond and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke late additions, and Yamile Aldama will be targeting a further SB is in a good quality women’s triple jump.

Last, but not least in any way, JJ Jegede is out in a stand or fall attempt to grab a last ditch qualifier for Istanbul and top out an excellent indoor campaing so far, having landed at a big equal total best of 8.04m to win in Birmingham last Saturday. His mission isn’t easy by any means, though, as he needs at least 8.15m to pull his task off.

Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Dwain Chambers will be leading a 39-strong British squad brimming with talent and promise for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, held between 9 to 11 March, as announced by UK Athletics earlier on.

New vault sensation Holly Bleasdale, Nigel Levine, Robbie Grabarz and Tiffany Porter are among other genuine medal contenders called up on the team but Doha silver medallist Jenny Meadows has lost her race against time to make the championships, with Jeanette Kwakye apparently a late casualty as well.

The arena that will host the World Indoor Championships between 9 and 11 March

If there have been any surprises, in what must have been one of the easiest ever sessions of the selection panel, that has got to be the announcement of Christine Ohuruogu and Perri Shakes-Drayton in the women’s long relay, having not raced indoors at all this term, while Nicola Sanders has also opted to pull her weight into a strong medal-bidding team.

New UK U20 record holder Katie Byres will be blooded in top senior action in the pole vault, looking to gather priceless experience ahead of London, where Jodie Williams doubles the presence of U20s on the side as she comes in late to snatch a berth in the stead of Kwakye.

Andrew Robertson, JJ Jegede and Andrew Sutcliffe have also been provisionally picked subject to obtaining the required standard as late as February 27 – the IAAF deadline.

The British team has as follows:


60m Dwain Chambers, Andy Robertson*
400m Nigel Levine, Richard Buck
800m Joe Thomas, Andrew Osagie
1500m Lewis Moses, James Brewer
3000m Mo Farah
60mh Andy Pozzi
HJ Samson Oni, Robbie Grabarz
PV Steve Lewis, Andrew Sutcliffe*
LJ JJ Jegede*
4x400m Nigel Levine, Richard Buck, Conrad Williams, Michael Bingham, James Forman, Luke Lennon Ford


60m Asha Philip, Jodie Williams
400m Shana Cox, Nadine Okyere
800m Marilyn Okoro
3000m Helen Clitheroe
60mh Tiffany Porter
PV Holly Bleasdale, Katie Byres
LJ Shara Proctor
TJ Yamile Aldama
Pentathlon Jessica Ennis
4x400m Shana Cox, Nadine Okyere, Nicola Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Laura Langowski

*Subject to gaining qualifying standard

Mo Farah is headlining the first British outfit in action into the Olympic season at the AVIVA International Match on Saturday as he is stepping down for an opening sharpener over the odd 1500m on the track of Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.

He is faced with a stern challenge in the face of Augustine Choge, holding a PB of 3:29.47 outdoors (2009), and it will be interesting to see how he tackles the race and the pace of the Kenyan.

The world 5000m champion will be also lining up in the mile in Boston over further speedwork later on before he launches his attack on the British and European records in the 2-miler in Birmingham next month.

Deagu silver medallist Hannah England, European indoor 3000m champion Helen Clitheroe,  both returning from Kenya just prior to the meeting, Beijing finalist Jeanette Kwakye, European 100m runner-up Mark Lewis-Francis and Daegu finalist Yamile Aldama will be making their season premieres, as will birthday girl Shana Cox and Shara Proctor coming over from across the Pond.

Global bronze medallist Andy Turner, nursing a slight achilles niggle, will be out to move up a couple of gears on a low-key opener of 7.79 secs at Crystal Palace midway last week while high jump new star Robbie Grabarz is going to draw plenty of the spotlight, as well as hopefully new heights, in a battle against former world champion Donald Thomas (BAH) and top Russian Aleksandr Shustov.

Steve Lewis goes in the pole vault up against season’s top marker Dmitriy Starodubtsev (RUS, 5.90m) having got off to a decent opener of 5.50m off 16 strides in Cottbus, Germany, on Wednesday.

One should also keep an eye on Joe Thomas as the Welshman ran a solo Istanbul qualifier of 1:47.82 from the off in Cardiff last weekend and looks set for great improvements into the season, facing top Kenyan Boaz Lalang.

The British team, as follows, are facing line-ups from the USA, Russia, Germany and a Commonwealth Select side captained by evergreen Kim Collins (SKN) in what has been a long-time formal curtain-drawer for the indoor season.


60m Mark Lewis Francis
200m Danny Talbot
400m Richard Buck
800m Joe Thomas
1500m Mo Farah
60mh Andy Turner
HJ Robbie Grabarz
PV Steve Lewis


60m Jeanette Kwakye
200m Margaret Adeoye
400m Shana Cox
800m Claire Gibson
1500m Hannah England
3000m Helen Clitheroe
60mh Gemma Bennett
LJ Shara Proctor
TJ Yamile Aldama

Brits on the Commonwealth Select Team: Charlene Thomas (1500m), Lawrence Clarke (60mh), Andrew Sutcliffe (PV), Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (400m), Laura Samuel (TJ)

Timetable & Start-lists


On the Christmas run-in part V

In the fifth part of our Christmas run-up, just four days off now, European Indoor champion Helen Clitheroe picks some seasonal goodies mainly from American singer Mariah Carey, while her favourite movie of the time is the same as Jack Green‘s; “Miracle on 34th street”. Do enjoy them!

First, here is a very nice remake of “Santa Claus is coming to town”, with a little touch of Motown applied in.

“O holy night”, another fabuous Christmas classic performed by Mariah…

Last, but not least, a trailer of maybe the most favourite, as it turns out, Christmas film among British athletes; “Miracle on 34th street”! I do intend to watch it myself for the first time this Christmas.

The Great North City Games up in Gateshead, Tyneside, on Saturday followed by the Great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields (13.1 miles) today provide the main athletics attraction on British soil, while the international meeting Notturna di Milano in Milan (Italy), featuring some Britons in action, and the two-day multi-venture of Decastar in Talence headlined by Tatiana Chernova , trailing Olympic champion Natalya Dobrinska in the heptathon overnight, are the most important events around the continent this weekend. So let’s start picking up the action around:

Great North City Games, Newcastle Gateshead, Saturday 17 September

A large crowd turned out in the streets of a damp Gateshead to hail Daegu hero Mo Farah on his first outing since claiming gold over 5000m in Daegu and the world champion returned the welcome home by means of a romp to an easy victory over 2 miles in 8:37.72, pulling away from American Brian Olinger in the late stages to win by over four seconds. A household name after his heroics in Korea, the Briton is enjoying large acknowledgement and deep affections among people around the country and even received a standing ovasion when recently presented to the crowd during the interval of a game of his beloved Arsenal at the Emirates.

Mo Farah wins the 2 mile race in Gateshead

That was the one of only three wins of a depleted British team against seven of an always superior American outfit that boasted the likes of Carmelita Jeter, Jason Richardson, Dwight Phillips, Bernard Lagat and Walter Dix among their ranks as Hannah England employed her trademark kick to come away from a spirited Helen Clitheroe for a convincing victory over the women’s mile in 4:39.49 to 4:40.65 respectively, a fitting follow-up on her recent exploits on the international stage.

The global 1500m silver medalist has got a further race scheduled in a road rematch against Americans Jenny Simpson and Morgan Uceny in the 5th Avenue Mile in New York on Sunday before she calls time on her season.

Jenny Meadows, on a rare outing overdistance, came a decent fourth in 4:44.99 to split the American girls behind the top two but Emma Pallant could finish only last way adrift in 4:53.45, still looking to find her way.

Harry Aikines-Ayreety and Christian Malcolm made a second one-two for Britain in the men’s dash in 10.27 and 10.45 secs respectively (1.5m/sec) ahead of makeshift sprinters Jeff Porter (Tiffany‘s husband) and Omo Osaghae, over to the flat from the high hurdles. From there on, however, it was all USA across the board.

Fresh from an electrifying 19.53 over 200m behind Yohan Blake in Brussels the previous night, Walter Dix had bundles of pace in his legs to tear away to a sizzling 14.65 secs (1.4m/sec, 10.11 through 100m) for a striking victory over the rare ‘straight’ 150m, as Marlon Devonish set a British best ever in 14.87 secs (10.19 at 100m) well behind in second. Arguably, this looks to form the Briton’s best distance on the quality of his runs over the last couple of years but such a shame he cannot translate his times into the 200m, having lost that final third that could render him a real force on international level.

Rising young American Maurice Mitchell came third in 15.08 (10.22 at 100m) and James Ellington filled the last spot in a personal best of 15.18 (10.30 at 100m).

In the women’s version, new world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter made light work to dominate in 16.50 secs (1.5m/sec, 11.31 at 100m), a world best over a ‘straight’ 150m, as Anyika Onuora (16.90, 11.42 at 100m) and Abi Oyepitan (16.98, 11.48 at 100m) trailed a long way behind, with high hurdles Olympic champion Dawn Harper deputizing over the flat in 17.19 secs (11.62 at 100m).

Jason Richardson, the new world champion, demolished a field that involved last summer’s global topper David Oliver with aplomb in a fast 13.16 secs (0.7m/sec) to wrap up a sensational season in style, the latter setting 13.36 secs for runner-up – apparently carrying a complaint though. Britain’s Andy Turner hit a hurdle hard early into the race to stumble out of contention and eventually let up off the final flight in 14.08 secs for last as William Sharman swept past in 13.82 secs.

Elsewhere, Bernard Lagat romped to an easy victory over the men’s mile in 4:06.01, Andie Osagie third in an unfamiliar outing in 4:09.53, Dawn Harper and Danielle Carruthers were a couple of gears up on the British girls in fast 12.73 and 12.77 secs over the women’s sticks (0.3m/sec) while young Holly Bleasdale struggled once again at the end of a very long season to come second over 4.12m in the pole vault, American Becky Holliday getting the win at 4.27m.




Great North Run, Newcastle, Tyneside, Sunday 18 September

Jo Pavey has finished top Briton in fourth in 70:48 in the women’s race to set up nicely for marathon duty in a few weeks time as Helen Clitheroe followed closely home a place behind for an excellent debut of 70:57 over the distance, in particular coming on the back of a runner-up spot behind Hannah England in the mile yesterday.

Lucy Wangui Kabuu laid the ground for a Kenyan double as she totally dominated the field on the Newcastle to South Shields course to clinch victory in 67:06, shaping a well over two minures gap on following marker Jessica Augusto (POR) who posted 69:27. Another Portoguese, Marisa Barrios, was third in 70:29.

Martin Matathi (KEN) moved through the gears over the last third of the race to surge inside 59 mins for a new course record of 58:56 and thoroughly win the men’s affair from compatriot Jonathan Maiyo, who had broken away around the 5th mile but couldn’t hold on to his lead to eventually finish a distant second  in 59:27.

The Kenyans occupied all four top positions as pre-race favourite Emanuel Mutai wound up third in 59:52 and Micah Kogo was fourth in 60:03.

Keith Gerrard, 25, made a very promising debut of his own in 63:39 to move straight fourth in the UK charts this season and might as well start contemplating an earlier move up to the marathon on the evidence of this showing. The US-based runner has also made substantial headway over 10000m by means of a PB of 28:27.03 this term so a solid platform is already in place to mount a move up.

Among other Britons, Scot Freya Murray swang back into action after a long lay-off due to injury to make a strong debut of 72:44 for 10th in the women’s race while veteran Ian Hudspith ran his fastest time since 2007 in 64:14 in 15th place, former steeplechaser Matt O’Dowd (V35) drew his best time since 1999 in 64:32 for 17th, returning John Beattie ran a debut 64:50 following next and Darren Deed posted a personal best of 64:58 a further spot adrift in the men’s race.

Andy Vernon may have been slightly disappointed to come only 20th in 65:45 (SB).

Full Results




Decastar, Talence, France

Day I

Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska (UKR) is mounting a slight surprise at the moment as she is leading new global champion Tatiana Chernova (RUS) by a healthy 56pts overnight, 3867 to 3811pts respectively after four disciplines.

The Russian, as expected, got to the front after the hurdles running slightly outside her PB in a 13.37 secs (-0.7m/sec, 1069pts) against a familiar modest start from her main rival in 13.76 secs (-0.5m/sec, 1013pts) for the duo to come tied at 1.82m out of the high jump (1003pts).

But Dobrynska bided her time to strike back through a SB of 16.28m (947pts) in the shot that, combined with a poor effort of 12.90m by Chernova (721pts), propelled her to a sound lead of 170pts after the third stop of the heptathlon. However, another modest trip round 200m in 24.80 secs (0.0, 904pts) had her advantage curtailed down to just 56pts at the end of the first day as Chernova was substantially faster in 23.61 secs (-0.7m/sec, 1018) in her heat.

Rather surprisingly, Jessica Zelinka (CAN) is not that far off in third on 3752pts with Karolina Tyminska (POL) fourth on 3706pts.

In the decathlon, favourite Leonel Suarez (CUB) is stuttering way down in eighth on just 3925 after a horrid first day (11.43, 7.18, 13.24, 1.97, 49.39) and will need to call up on his deepest reserves if he is to turn around a nasty situation of a 290pts deficit on overnight leader Andres Raja (EST) on 4215pts.

Day I Results & Standings


Day II

Natalya Dobrynska‘s challenge and potential upset quickly fizzled out into the second day to open the way to Tatiana Chervona for a comfortable victory in the end on an eventual total of 6679pts, the Ukrainian still pulling together a SB of 6539pts.

The Russian actually didn’t even need to reach her best form as a 6.57m (1.8m/sec, 1030pts) leap proved enough to turn round a 56pts deficit into a 28pts advantage from the off since Dobrynska faltered at just 6.31m (1.8m/sec, 946pts) in the long jump.

And it was as good as game over when the world champion landed her spear at 50.62m (872pts) to settle matters in the javelin with her rival unable to go further than 47.40m (810pts), rendering the tail-end 800m a virtual lap of honour as Chernova sailed through in 2:09.92 to wrap up her third straight multi-eventer win – the Ukrainian crossing the line in 2:13.42.

Karolina Tyminska came third on 6301pts through a strong ending of a 2:06.51 over 800m and Canadian Jessica Zelinka was fourth on 6296pts.

Over to the decathlon, Leonel Suarez could make no ground nor improve on a dismal opening day to end up a mere seventh on a vastly disappointing 7889pts as Hans van Alphen (BEL) came through from behind to snatch victory by a mere 16pts out of the hands of Mikk Pahapill (EST) at the death, running narrowly outside his PB in 4:21.10 for 804 and a total of 8200pts against the latter’s much slower 4:38.43 (690pts) to a final tally of 8184pts.





Notturna di Milano, Milan, Italy, September 18

Luke Fagan and Leon Baptiste‘s hopes of fast times over the dash in Milan were blown away by a strong headwind of -3.4m/sec down the home straight, as well as pouring rain, to strive home in 10.57 and 10.65 secs for second and fifth respectively, although the former may be content enough to have placed runner-up behind new Jamaican star Nickel Ashmeade (9.96) who crossed the line in 10.42 secs.

Apparently, that was Fagan’s last piece of action to a breakthrough season while Baptiste will be likely running one more race over his specialty, the 200m, in Watford midweek.

Chris Clarke fared much better than in Brussels two days ago to come runner-up in 46.29 over 400m not far off winner Oscar Pistorius (RSA), who sneaked inside 46 secs to a time of 45.97.

In the men’s 1500m, Kenyan Silas Kiplagat was rampant to storm to a devastating victory by around four and a half seconds in 3:33.28 over a field that involved former world champion Yussuf Saad Kamel, the son of great Billy Konchellah (KEN), who is still working his way back and ended up fourth in a 3:39.05.

James Brewer came home in the middle of the field in eighth in a SB of 3:41.10 but will be satisfied to have claimed the scalp of Spaniard Arturo Casado who finished a place behind in 3:41.86.

Mohammed Amman stuns mighty David Rudisha down the home straight on a damp track

The highlight of the meeting belonged without a doubt to late season’s revelation Mohammed Amman (ETH) who forced mighty world record holder David Rudisha into his first defeat over 800m in two years, edging narrowly ahead in the dying stages to a fast 1:43.50 against the Kenyan’s 1:43.57. A massive win and confidence boost for the 17-year-old Ethiopian who emerges as a force to reckon with in view of the London Olympics next summer.

Olha Saladuha (UKR) carved out arguably the other top display of the meeting as she reached out to a slightly windy 14.94m (2.4m/sec) in the triple jump to comfortably hold off second-placed Olga Rypakova (KAZ), who achieved a best of 14.69 (2.8m/sec) on the day, while Anna Chicherova (RUS) cleared 1.96m to edge out home favourite Antonietta di Martino (1.93) in the women’s high jump.





Meeting International Tangier, Morocco, Sunday 18 September

Dwain Chambers edged out local record holder Ouhadi Aziz to a useful international win in the men’s 100m in 10.28 to 10.32 secs (-0.4m/sec), Lerone Clarke (JAM) last in a dismal 10.84 secs (injured?), and came back later to take third on a first, and probably last, showing over the longest sprint in 20.86 secs (-0.1m/sec) some way behind winner Ainsley Waugh‘s meet record of 20.71 secs, Aziz marginally second in 20.85 secs.

Jemma Simpson was a convincing winner in the women’s 800m in 2:02.21 but had to wait for a while to learn of her time as the clock stopped at 1:52 during the last stages of the race – that would have been an awesome world record!

The overall outlook of displays on the track and the infield ranged on a moderate trail apart from Canadian Dylan Armstrong‘s 21.76m to win the men’s shot from Portoguese Fortes Marco (20.61) and former world champion Christian Cantwell (20.58), suggesting that conditions may have not been very performance conductive.





IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final, La Coruna, Spain, Saturday 17 September

Long-unbeaten Valerie Borchin and Olga Kaniskina (RUS), the world champions over the men and women’s 20km in Daegu, took their form to the streets of La Coruna in Spain and dominated the respective 10km races at the Race Walking Challenge Final with relative ease.

Borchin always maintained a firm hold on the men’s affair and was barely threatened at any point to claim a convincing win, along with a $30,000 prize, in a huge SB of 38:42 ahead of China’s Zhang Wang (38:49, SB), who finished just outside the medals in Daegu, and Wafei Chu (39:06, SB).

For her part, Kaniskina upped the ante in the late stages to pull well clear of Daegu’s silver medalist Hong Liu (CHN) to an eventual 42:37 (SB), placing a good 17 secs distance between herself and her rival.


Men 1.Valerie Borchin (RUS) 38:42 (SB), 2.Zhang Wang (CHN) 38:49 (SB), 3.Wafei Chu (CHN) 39:06 (SB), 4.Joao Vieira (POR) 39:09 (SB), 5.Eder Sanchez (MEX) 39:13 (SB), …, 10.Jared Tallent (AUS) 39:48

Women 1.Olga Kaniskina (RUS) 42:37 (SB), 2.Hong Liu (CHN) 42:54 (SB), 3.Melanie Seeger (GER) 43:06 (SB), 4.Ana Capacinha (POR) 43:12 (PB), 5.Susana Feitor (POR) 43:37 (SB)



BAL Qualifier, Abingdon, Saturday 17 September

Merwyn Luckwell has returned to the top of the British javelin after two years as he released an Olympic B qualifier of 80.60m in Abingdon, showing that he is totally over the long-term injury problems that blighted him since 2009. That mark was the farthest by a Brit since his own PB of 81.05m two years ago to move past James Campbell, a SB of 80.18 back in May, to the top of the UK rankings in the process.

There was further good news from the javelin quarters at the bow-out of the season as U20 Richard Shuttleworth improved to a PB of 71.61m behind Luckwell, scratching his former figure of 70.73m in qualification at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn (Estonia). Both throwers are coached by Esa Utriainen.

Mick Woods-coached Charlie Purdue continued her tentative return to action in a 10:04.1 low-key race over 3000m having missed the bulk of the summer following surgery in May.


English Schools Combined Events Championships, Exeter, September 17-18

18-year-old Liam Ramsey worked up a new U20 best total ever of 7308 pts during a two-day adventure in the decathlon across the weekend in Exeter, to move up from his previous figure of 7233pts in Doncaster back in June. His card read 11.46w (4.6m/sec) in the 100m, 6.94m (2.6m/sec) in the long jump, 13.74m in the shot (6kgr), 1.96m in the high jump (ePB), 49.26 secs over 400m, 14.46 over the junior sticks (PB, 1.2m/sec), 37.66m in the discus, 4.03m in the pole vault, 43.75m in the javelin and rounded out in 4:33.44 in the 1500m.

Veteran new British asset Yamile Aldama provides a silver lining at the end of what has been a dismal morning for the British team. She shows glimpses of her old form to sail beautifully out to a first-round 14.35m (0.7m/sec), a SB and a UK leading mark this summer, despite missing an awful lot on the board. That’s lovely stuff by the 39-year-old who books her slot in the final in style (14.35, 14.20, x) and looks capable of at least a top six placing as things look after qualification. Incidentally, that was the farthest jump by a Brit since Ashia Hansen‘s 14.47m indoors in February 2004 as well as improving Aldama’s already runner-up position in the UK all-time rankings.




Disastrous blow in the javelin, the penultimate discipline, and effectively a knock-out out of the blue for Jessica Ennis and her gold medal chances in the heptathlon as she astonishingly can’t beat what would be a routine 40m in all three efforts of hers, a modest 39.95m her best of the day – shades of Kelly Sotherton‘s sufferings in the recent past spring to mind! Her worst outing this season was 42.93m and the last time she ranged below 40m in a competition can be traced down to 2007! Compared to a superb SB of 52.95m by Tatiana Chernova in the previous group that very much means game over as she is going to need to find some nine seconds up on the Russian in the 800m and there is very little to spare between the two therein.

Louise Hazell fares much better with 41.75m but has slighly slipped off pace for an overall PB although she could still pull it round with a PB in the closing event. Nonetheless, it has been a very good championships for her.

It has to be mentioned that Tony Minichiello, Ennis’s coach, wasn’t happy from the beginning with the javelin taking place in the morning rather than more typical afternoon session.



Standings after 6 disciplines



More disappointment for the British team this morning as both Tom Parsons and Martyn Bernard fail to make the final end of the men’s high jump as nine athletes clear the tough qualifying standard of 2.31m, with three making up the remaining places on countback on 2.28m, to set up a appetite-whetting tussle for the medals.

Parsons could not go higher than a second-time 2.25m, also needing as many to put away 2.21m, in the A group while European bronze medalist Bernard struggles with third-time clearances over both 2.16 and 2.21m before he crashes out at 2.25m – I don’t know whether there was any late injury or other setback involved.

Jesse Williams (USA) soars well over 2.31m at the second attempt to confirm his favourite status while Dimitris Hondrokoukis (GRE) hands in a perfect sheet of first-time passes to suggest a serious medal contender, sailing over the same height with aplomb. On the other hand, Ivan Uknov doesn’t look as assured as during the indoor season and Aleksey Dmitrik (RUS) can make it as an also-jumped at 2.28m.




James Shane doesn’t look so flowing and sharp as his last race when he destroyed the field at the UK Trials, probably affected by a slight achilles injury early this month, to trail well behind in tenth in 3:41.17 in the opening preliminary heat of the men’s 1500m but eventually misses out on a place in the next phase by a mere 0.03 secs. Tough luck… Still a valuable learning curve that will stand him in good stead next season. Jeff Riseley (AUS) and Andrew Wheating (USA) are notable casualties while former double European champion Mendi Baala is rather surprisingly reinstated to go through as he was responsible for his own fall down the home straight.




Helen Clitheroe is struggling but keeps going to finish well behind in 15:37.73 in eighth place in the first heat of the women’s 5000m, holding little hope that she can make it through. However, the following run turns out even slower, an increasing familiar feature in middle/long distance running these championships, as none really decides to take it on and the European 3000m champion eventually scrapes through as the very last fastest loser. Phewwwwwwww!




The good news has come from the heptathlon’s long jump as Jessica Ennis has fended off successfully the anticipated attack of  Tatiana Chernova to take firm control of matters and heading safely to a second global title on the trot. Both opened with safe attempts stepping well off the take-off board at 6.38 and 6.27m respectively but the Russian ramped up her bid with a 6.61m (-0.7m/sec) in the second to threaten briefly with a sizeable cut off the deficit before  the Briton immediately responded with an equal PB of 6.51m (0.0) to take matters back in her hands. Nothing changed in the final round with Ennis still holding a healthy lead of 118pts on the Russian, 5088 to 4970pts, going into the javelin.

Louise Hazell has managed a best of 6.25m (0.3m/sec) on the day so remains on course to a PB of hers.



Helen Clitheroe has advanced to the final of the women’s 5000m even the hard way as she faced an anxious wait to make it as literally the last  fastest loser in 15:37.73, eighth in the first heat.




DAY IV morning session lead-up

Jessica Ennis begins the second and final day of the heptathlon holding a healthy lead of 151pts on pursuing Tatiana Chernova, 4078 to 3927pts respectively, and her first goal and care should be to protect that advantage under the anticipated counterattack by the Russian in what could turn the decisive battleground in the pit of the long jump. There will be blood and thunder in the full sense of the phrase, where no quarters will be given nor taken, and Ennis’s warrior insticts and prowess should rise to the occasion.

Chernova holds a substantially better PB of 6.82m (1.8m/sec) set at Gotzis but is generally an erratic performer in the discipline and could often be seen ranging in the 6.50s. On the other hand, this may not be among Ennis’s most prolific events but she is on a steady upward curve, a recent SB of 6.44 (-0.1m/sec), and combined with her sprint sharpness suggest that a breakthrough could be afoot and there could be no better time to draw it. In fact, if she can put in an early jump in the 6.50s first herself she could place her Russian rival under enormous pressure to produce a big jump to cover some ground, which in turn could lead to fouls. So, hopefully, she is going to take the script in her hands and direct the plot to her advantage.

Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell is lying in 16th place on 3634pts overnight after a fabulous first day and if she can maintain the trend and land in the 6.40s she is going to be well on the way to a score over 6200pts at the end of the day.

European bronze medalist Martyn Bernard and Tom Parsons will be contesting a tough qualification round in the men’s high jump where the qualifying standard is set at a daunting 2.31m, although arguably it should go down to the top 12. It’s just too tough a call to ask for twelve or more people to clear that height in the morning and not the final. Both have been there and done it time and again so hopefully they are going to force their way through.

The women’s 5000m heats see European indoor champion Helen Clitheroe enter the frame in the first out of the two virtual semifinals, with five going through by right and five fastest losers on offer. She is facing arguably the tougher of the line-ups that includes four runners well under 15mins, two Ethiopians involving Meseret Defar and two Kenyans, so her main and more realistic aim will be to get the better of fellow veteran Yelena Zadorozhnaya who is narrowly faster on paper. Of course, a fast pace could ensure her passage to the final anyway.

Young James Shane is thrown in at the deep end in his blooding in a major championships as he is facing a tough opening first round heat in the 1500m that features eight men with faster SBs than his and he will probably have to make one of the six automatic spots to make it through. Nevertheless, this is going to be mainly a tactical affair and the European U23 silver medalist has shown a shrewd tactician who knows to make the right moves at the right times, he is quite fast and versatile a runner while his PB of 3:36.22 secs doesn’t quite reflect the quality of his form. If he hasn’t been much affected by an achilles complaint early in the month, he is going to be a handful. Nick Willis (NZL) and Daniel Kipchirchir Komen (KEN) are the top names in this field.

Both Ennis and Hazell will be competing in the B group of the heptathlon’s javelin and by that time the former will have known what is required of her to remain on top as Chernova will have finished her own efforts. If she can match her best form around 46m, or even better improve by a metre or two, then she should be alright before the final act of the 800m later on.

Finally, Yamile Aldama goes in the second pool of the women’s triple jump with either a jump over 14.45m, the qualifying standard, or a top 12 position among both groups in her sights.

Picking up where I left off yesterday, I’m moving into the women’s events where the picture looks far clearer and the landscape on this side of the team has shaped up to a large extent save the distances from 400m through to the 1500m, where there is still much at stake and some knife-edge run-offs to decide places.

100m A resurgent Jeanette Kwakye and season’s revelation Anyika Onuora have bagged the two automatic places in the women’s dash while Laura Turner has effectively secured hers in a totally convincing third – unless Montell Douglas, who looks to have done enough to take her place in the short relay, has got different ideas and can spring some major upset at the very end.

Jeanette Kwakye post-race interview

Veteran Joice Maduaka and Asha Philip finished tied slightly behind, the former getting fifth on a photo-finish verdict, and at least one of them should fill one more slot in the relay team. Ashleigh Nelson didn’t look fit and I don’t know what her chances could be in that respect.

200m The only holder of an A standard, U20 sensation Jodie Williams, has long ruled herself out of the reckoning so it comes between those holding B standards to earn what looks like a sole place up for grabs. Out of whom, however, Jessica Ennis will be running the distance only at the end of the first day of the heptathlon in Daegu and World Youth champion Desiree Henry is ineligible due to the very young of her age.

Onuora was a thorough winner at the Trials on Sunday and has gained a tight grip on a place, having set a sound four B standards in the process. By contrast, former Olympic finalist Abi Oyepitan may now need to run inside the A benchmark (23.00) to rule her own fate and doesn’t look near that form at all despite her early season promise. Unless Onuora does it herself and grants her a favour.

Maduaka and season surprise Margaret Adeoye hold a B each but they don’t look like they could turn the tables.

Funnily enough, none of the top two in Birmingham will represent Britain in the event in Daegu on different grounds; Perri Shakes-Drayton will be running over the hurdles and Shana Cox is not eligible before November. However, Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu has virtually clinched her place as she came a clear third and has sneaked under the A standard, setting 51.49 secs in Barcelona the previous week.

Perri Shakes-Drayton in her post-race interview

Scot Lee McConnell has gathered together as many as six B standards, more than any other male or female athlete across events, but would like to finish the business off and will have that chance at Crystal Palace.

Nicola Sanders, on the other hand, still needs an additional B standard and even in that case her fate won’t be entirely in her hands and will most likely hang on McConnell to dip inside the A, a rather awkward situation. Further, she hasn’t got a lane in the women’s 400m at the London GP so she may need to seek a race elsewhere save there is a late B all-British heat lined up.

Kelly Sotherton should be named in the long relay as she came sixth and has got a SB of 52.51 secs as a banker.

800m Jenny Meadows confirmed her undisputed No1 status in the country with a convincing win to register her name in the books of the British team but beyond her a fierce battle royal is building up that involves four runners over potentially two places on offer, provided at least one of them dips under the A standard.

I’m going to give a slender edge to Emma Jackson who has impressed me this season and possesses a fiercesome kick down the home straight, which would stand her in good stead. She writes “sub 2” all over her and it’s been a matter of getting into the right race to commit it on the track and I think the race at Crystal Palace has got all the required ingredients.

Marilyn ‘Maz’ Okoro has shown signs of a return to good form and she will have to strike a good balance between her speed and her tactics as well as shunning any restless urge to pour forward early, while Jemma Simpson will be somewhat of an unknown quantity as she hasn’t raced since the Diamond League meeting in Eugene and has got to do it all in one race. But if she is fully fit then she should edge into a qualifying place.

European U23 bronze medalist Lyndsay Sharp will be the dark horse but her turn of pace over the last hundred can be a headache for everyone.

1500m Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey were a class apart, as expected, to comfortably claim two automatic spots on the team but Stacey Smith‘s audacious tactics didn’t pay off and she has got to fight it out with returning Charlene Thomas in a tussle with no tomorrow at the Palace.

Charlene’s fitness, however, will be a big question mark as she has been dogged by injury ever since her European Team Champs triumph in Stockholm and has missed plenty of training, therefore Stacey should start as favourite. But if it comes to a more tactical affair with a late burn-up Charlene’s chances should definitely increase as the latter has shown in trouble in such races.

Between the two, it’s Charlene that could do real damage if she arrived fully fit in Daegu but it is fair that she who finishes on top to take the third spot.

5000m Helen Clitheroe has been unlucky with weather conditions in her previous races but she should get a break this once. She has got to definitely grab at least the B standard, lying just four seconds away, and I reckon she’s got a good chance of getting even the A. Therefore, she should make Britain’s sole representative in the event given that Charlotte Purdue has been in effect out of the running.

10000m Britain will not be represented over this distance.

Marathon All three individual athletes named after the London Marathon in April have sadly withdrawn on grounds of injury or lack of fitness, namely Mara Yamauchi, Jo Pavey and Louise Damen. That leaves the British team with Eliz McColgan-coached Alyson Dixon and Susan Partridge who are down only for the team event.

Tiffany Porter post-race interview

100mh Tiffany Offili-Porter formally stamped her passport in style as her place was never in doubt whereas Jessica Ennis, the other A standard holder, will be hurdling only within her heptathlon duties in Daegu.

Gemma Bennett has got a B of 13.08 secs, which would have been double but for a 2.1m/sec tailwind in Crete, and ran 13.19 for third at the Trials on Sunday so she can hold solid hopes that she can make the squad too.

On the other hand, Angie Broadbelt-Blake sees her chances slipping away following a disappointing outing in Birmingham, with a PB of 13.18 secs this season and a marginally windy (2.1m/sec) 13.12 secs in Bedford. But she’s racing at Crystal Palace and could still hope she could turn things round at the end.

Sarah Claxton hasn’t shown anywhere over the last four weeks so her bid looks as good as over.

400mh Perri Shakes-Drayton sealed her place in spectacular manner as she accomplished a superb flat/hurdles 400m double over the weekend and Eilidh Child virtually booked hers as runner-up holding as many as four B standards.

Nonetheless, if the Scot tears round the track inside the A standard at the Palace, which she has shown very capable of, she will also open the door to European U23 bronze medalist Meghan Beesley who fulfils the criteria with two Bs.

Olympic bronze medalist Tasha Danvers has had to skip the current season due to injury concerns.

3000mSC Barbara Parker and Hattie Dean, if she has fully regained her fitness, are certain to be named on the team on their A standards while U23 Eilish McColgan looks very likely to pick up a second B standard at Crystal Palace and make it a full quota of athletes in the event for Britain.

Heptathlon Defending World champion Jessica Ennis goes by right of her title and Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell is certain to be named following her recent PB of 6166pts. I don’t know whether U20 Katarina Johnson-Thompson might plan a late bid as she has got certainly the potential to top 6000pts.

20km RaceWalking Commonwealth champion Jo Jackson has earned her place ever since her 1h31:50 in the streets of London in late May.

HJ Steph Pywell returned with an encouraging 1.88 clearance early last month but hasn’t shown around since, hence the event looks bound to remain out in the wilderness.

PV Rocketing-high new UK record-holder Holly Bleasdale and Kate Dennison have long earned their berths on the team but none else looks anywhere near of filling the remaining vacant spot.

LJ Shara Proctor holds the A standard with a PB of 6.81m and is bound to be named where it may be a tall task for 19-year-old Lorraine Ugen to make 11cm on the B standard, twice at that, following her PB of 6.54m at the weekend. Two-time Olympic top-eight finalist Jade Johnson hasn’t shown at all.

TJ Laura Samuel, the World U20 silver medalist, looks to rediscover her form and fighting insticts and has snatched a late chance to keep whatever hopes alive of pulling a stunner out of her hat in time. Can she do it?

SP The event will stay anonymous as usual in recent times.

DT Jade Nicholls and Eden Francis are going both for broke as they desperately need a second B both to make the trip although the former will have the edge in case both make it – she has got a considerably better SB and PB of 60.76 and has beaten her domestic rival every time out this season.

HT Sophie Hitchon has virtually booked her place having thrown two Bs, doubling as UK records both times, and won bronze at the European U23 Championships.

JT Goldie Sayers has been always a certainty now that she is injury-free again whereas Laura Whittingham needs to grind out a last-gasp B standard to join her on the plane to Korea.

Let’s have a quick look at the rest of the action during the past weekend to piece together a concise background before we fall into the full flow of the season, with the UK Trials looming large on the horizon.

Meeting Citta Di Padova , Padova, Italy, July 17

Martyn Rooney staged an encouraging return to 400m action after sitting several weeks out to tweak things in training although his time (46.36) may not reflect the merit of his performance as much as his place in the race. Conditions were poor and windy, Steve Lewis cursing his luck in that respect this season, to heavily affect performances all across the arena.

Rooney, actually, missed out on the win by a mere two hundredths of a second behind 45.46 performer this season Lansford Spence (JAM) where he gathered the scalps of Jamaal Torrance (USA, 45.11 SB) and Calvin Smith (USA, 45.26 SB), the son of former great two-time World 200m champion of the very same name.

Lewis, for his part, failed to register a single height in a ravaged pole vault competition where only three athletes managed to get over any height set and just a single one, winner Giovanni Lanaro (MEX), went higher than 5m with a best mark of 5.40m on the day.

Emma Jackson enjoyed another fabulous run on the circuit to come fifth in 2:00.26, a mere 0.02 secs shy of her recent PB, as new Cuban star Yuneisy Santiusti turned in a dominant display in 1:58.91 and William Sharman took the same place in the 110m hurdles in 13.63 secs into a -0.5m/sec headwind a long way behind great Dayron Robles (CUB) who crossed the line in 13.26 secs.



Hochsprung-Meeting, Eberstadt, Germany, July 17

Martyn Bernard and Tom Parsons‘s efforts to get hold of some sound heights were foiled by the rainy conditions that very much ruined what promised to be a high calibre high jump competition at Eberstadt, Germany. Bernard, very confident of something good on the eve of the men’s contest, ended up sixth at 2.20 (equal SB) on countback and Parsons ranged even lower at 2.15 as Ivan Ukhov was the eventual winner over 2.24m.



Scottish Senior Championships, Glasgow, July 16-17

European finalist Eilidh Child smashed her PB over the flat 400m in two acts at the Scottish Senior Championships in Glasgow to set up menacingly for a serious attack on the 55 secs barrier over her beloved lap of hurdles.

On Saturday, she swept inside her three-year-old mark of 53.71 down to a new figure of 53.38 secs in the heats before she returned on the track the following day to complete the rout in a massive new best of 52.28 secs in the final, creeping under the UKA B standard in the process. At the same time, she holds no intentions of contesting the flat save presenting an additional option for the women’s long relay in Korea.

Elsewhere, Lee McConnell showed useful speed in a slightly windy 23.49 secs as she comfortably got the better of Stacey Downie (23.88) over 200m (2.3m/sec), having run a SB of 23.48 secs (1.3m/sec) in the heats, while Lee Doran hit his second farthest ever throw of 76.85m a week on his lifetime figure of 77.54 to dominate over struggling lately UK No1 James Campbell, who had to settle for only 72.28m. Further, David Martin won the 400m hurdles in a PB of 51.37 secs and US-based Kris Gauson took the 800m in 1:50.73.

The previous day, Saturday, Susan McKelvie set another useful mark of 63.32m in her hammer itinenary as she is working her way nicely through the season and Andy Frost fell marginally shy of 70m at 69.98m to get the better of Mark Dry in the men’s version, the latter winding up a precise metre down.

Here is video with some of the highlights:


KBC Night Of Athletics, Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, July 16

Helen Clitheroe‘s hopes of gaining hold of the A qualifying standard for Daegu ran into a wave of appalling rainy and windy conditions that virtually transformed her 5000m race into a cross-country contest, running on lengthy puddles and a soaked track all along. Try as she could, she still managed to draw a new PB of 15:29.37 but that was still short of even the B standard and now she is going to face a make or break situation at the Diamond League meeting at Crystal Palace on the brink of the deadline.

Ethiopia’s Almensh Belete edged out her compatriot Genet Ayalew in 15:09.71 to 15:10.45 for victory where Sonia Samuels wound up towards the end of the field in 16:10.44.

Jeanette Kwakye recovered from a relatively modest heat in 11.55 secs to put in a good fight from lane one in the final and grab a useful fifth place in 11.39 secs (0.0) well behind winner Debbie Ferguson (BAH) in 11.15 secs, whereas Joice Maduaka was content to come through her heat unscathed in 11.58 secs nursing a calf cramp.

Elsewhere, Nick McCormick came eighth in a ‘flooded’ 1500m in 3:40.71 as Kenyan-recruit William Biwott Tanui (TUR) prevailed in 3:35.93, while Rory Fraser and Luke Cragg ran 13:42.87 for third and 13:55.55 for ninth respectively in the B race of the men’s 5000m.

The highlight of the meet was great Yelena Isinbayeva‘s outdoor season debut to snatch a tight win on countback at 4.60m from Germany’s Carolin Hingst in tough conditions, as new Welsh record-holder Sally Peake inevitably stayed deep in the background at 4.10m.