Tag Archive: Jessica Ennis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eaton marches on in the heptathlon

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

After a relatively slow start on Saturday, Jessica Ennis, Dwain Chambers, Holly Bleasdale and a searing Joe Thomas injected plenty of pace and quality for the UK Trials to finish full of running at the end of the second day, moulding a strong core to the British team for Istanbul that will be added to around after the Grand Prix in Birmingham.

Ennis enjoyed a superb three-stage weekend to send a strong message to Tatyana Chernova as concerns her menacing intentions ahead of their showdown in the pentathlon in the Turkish capital, even if she eventually skipped the long jump late – interestingly, the only event that the Russian holds an advantage out of the five.

Ennis sweeps over the hurdles to an equal PB of 7.95 secs

She didn’t have things all her own way, though, as she found herself in a tight corner from a very unexpected source in the high jump when an inspired Emma Perkins cleared a total PB of 1.89m first time, her third of the day improving from 1.83m, but displayed once again her vast wealth of mental resources to dig deep and go clear at the death to remain alive.

In a Mancherster United-esque manner, she completed the turnround next time out on the runway to climb over a UK-leading 1.91m, snatching the win, and return to a territory that could prove crucial in the battle for gold in the arena of London in summer.

But the emergence of Perkins, along with 19-year-old Isobel Pooley who couldn’t match the heights of the previous weekend (1.88), means that things are starting stirring again in an event that that has been deep in the shadows in recent years – and both are going to have still an extra chance to make the final cut.

Next stop was the shot put ring where Ennis opened up with two SBs of 14.07 and 14.09 on the spin to sustain her pace as Eden Francis comfortably prevailed at a stadium record of 16.72m, not far off her recent PB of 16.92.

Yet, she reserved her best act over the sticks back on the second day as she pulled together two classy races of 7.95 secs apiece in quick succession, equalling her PB as many times, and wrap up a fabulous weekend and her message in style, leaving the arena with a big smile on her face as mission was accomplished in supreme fashion.

Which, in turn, would have topped the European lists in the discipline but for Tiffany Porter‘s 7.93 secs for runner-up at th Milrose Games in New York the previous night to offer a further measure of the brilliance of her performance.

Gemma Bennett could not built on a promising semifinal of 8.19 to scrape second just ahead of fast improving Louise Wood by a mere hundredth, the latter tying her new PB of 8.23 secs set in the semifinals, while Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton didn not show up in the final.

Chambers holds off Robertson to the title in the men’s 60m

Dwain Chambers demonstrated that he still remains the top sprint force in the country as he seared to a swift UK-leading 6.58 secs down the infield straight to retain his title in the 60m, fairly comfortably from a stout and very competitive Andrew Robertson who stepped up his game awesomely in these championships.

Even more importantly, maybe, the reigning world champion executed a superb race as he got off to strong start out of his blocks and made a sweet slick transition from the pick-up into the drive, something he sort of missed for a while, to suggest that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in Istanbul, with a few aces up his sleeve.

As fortune would have it, the CAS verdict over BOA’s Olympic by-law appeal comes out on the very next day after the end of the world indoor championships and what a bonus that would be if he could regain eligibility to compete in London on top of, hopefully gold, medal.

But for the time being, Chambers refuses to get carried away into anything and keeps on the grindstone so that he is poised to swing into action if the doors open to him.

Runner-up Robertson, the European U23 100m bronze medallist, built on a very consistent upward trend this season to hand Chambers a race for his money and never relinguished his efforts for a moment to cross the line in a big PB of 6.61 secs, eclipsing a 6.64 secs run only earlier on in the semifinals.

He has brought himself into a very good position and is going to come in with as good a shout as anyone at that coveted second spot in an effective run-off in Birmingham this weekend, missing out on the qualifying standard by an agonizing hundredth of a second.

The anticipated renewed clash between Chambers and Simeon Williamson failed to materialize for a second weekend in a row as the latter never recovered from a poor start to crash out of the semifinals, taking some gloss off the final, while Mark Lewis-Francis couldn’t do himself any justice on the back of a fresh slight hamstring injury to finish well down the line.

Harry Aikines-Ayreety didn’t really sparkle but finally worked into the medals in a SB of 6.65 secs ahead of Christian Malcolm who improved substantially through the rounds to a big SB of 6.68 secs, with young Greg Cackett making his first major domestic final in an equal PB of 6.69 secs.

The women’s version seemed to be heading to a mouth-watering showdown between a menacing Asha Philip, off to a 7.33 secs in the heats, and Jeanette Kwakye but was dealt a huge blow when the former got disqualified on a false-start in the semifinals as the two had shown a gear apart from the rest.

From there on, the Beijing dash finalist had little trouble dominating the final from the gun in a SB and UK-leading 7.20 secs to book her place on the British team nonchalantly where not-quite-looking-herself Jodie Williams crept under the qualifying benchmark in a SB of 7.29 secs for silver and Laura Turner got third in 7.31 secs.

Former Olympic 200m finalist Abi Oyepitan endured a disappointing last eight showing to trail behind a distant forth in 7.42 after a promising semifinal in a SB and equal qualifying standard of 7.30 secs, with Louise Bloor and U20 Sophie Papps running big PBs of 7.43 and 7.49 secs at that stage respectively.

It is going to go down to a make or break run-off for very much four girls in Birmingham although Philip ought to run away with that second spot on offer, save a second disaster, on current form.

A peek at the field events featuring Holly Bleasdale, Robbie Grabarz and Shara Proctor among others

Holly Bleasdale has really spoilt houses around Britain in so far as that every time she doesn’t deliver a new UK record there is a slight disappointment creeping around. She did lay down new markers, though, in that she set a new championships and venue landmark of 4.70m at the second attempt to demonstrate that she has settled well into world class territory and tackles such marks with aplomb.

Her subsequent crack at a potential British milestone of 4.89m may have not looked that convincing but it is more about some late technical tweaks bedding in before she clears that barrier and moves further beyond.

In this regard, however, spectators didn’t leave empty-handed as swiftly-rising training partner Katie Byres deputised to sneak over a new UK U20 of 4.37m, adding a centimetre on her own recent previous figure, and by the look of things she could be well on the way to clinch a place on Britain’s Olympic squad in summer.

Katie Byres vaults a new UK U20 record of 4.37m

She went on to attempt much higher at 4.52m later but it wasn’t to be on the day where Welsh record holder Sally Peake rounded out the podium at a decent 4.27m.

The highly anticipated men’s high jump never took off, maybe there being no reason to as they may have opted to save for greater battles looming ahead, and Samson Oni edged out Robbie Grabarz for the British indoor title over a decent 2.26 to 2.23m as both have effectively clinched their places for Istanbul.

But plenty of fireworks were worked out on the track as young Welshman Joe Thomas offered once again a glimpse of what is to come in a sizzling second 400m of 52.49 secs to sneak a fourth indoor best of 1:47.26 on the trot, suggesting that a big time lies in the works and quite possibly deep into the 1:45 territory as things look.

A time that may not take long to arrive as he is lining up in an anticipated fast race at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday and it is going to be intriguing to see what the clock will read for him, coming up against UK top half-miler last summer Andie Osagie besides.

Scot Guy Learmonth was runner-up a long way behind in 1:49.63 and could nick inside the qualifying marker too followed in third by former UK indoor champion Ed Aston in 1:49.73.

In the women’s edition, Marilyn ‘Maz’ Okoro embarked on a customary cobweb burnout opener through a searing solo 58.21 secs halfway through but the audacious pace caught up with her in the late stages to reduce her time to a final 2:04.01, ahead of Tara Bird (2:05.00, SB) and Charlotte Best (2:05.25, iPB). Next time out ought to be much faster though!

Andy Pozzi kept on pounding out runs in the low 7.6 secs region with astonishing consistency and precision as he saw off Gianni Frankis to a convincing British title, as well as securing his own place on the team, in an equal PB of 7.62 secs, having ranged narrowly shy in 7.63 secs in the heats earlier on.

The latter, however, could have run considerably faster than his 7.72 secs but for a hamstring tear that put paid to his indoor season, whereas Lawrence Clarke fell prey to a false-start to knock plenty of the suspense off the affair, with Julian Adeniran holding on to third in 7.84 secs after running a full tenth faster in the heats (PB).

Nicola Sanders survived by the skin of her teeth as a fastest loser out of the women’s 400m heats as her lack of speedwork, turning up merely to sample her preparations, saw her hit a ‘lactic’ wall down the home straight, slipping from first down to fourth in 55.22 secs in the fourth run.

But she improved substantially to qualify by right through the semis in 53.71 some way behind Shana Cox‘s 52.89 secs and gave an even better account of herself as she edged under the qualifying standard in 53.11 (SB) for third as her rival stamped her authority on the final to comfortably prevail in a UK-leading 52.38 secs, with Nadine Okyere slotting in between in second in an indoor PB of 53.01 secs.

In fact, the last could have grabbed herself an individual place for Turkey next month while it remains to be seen whether Sanders could be interested to contribute in the relay.

Rather than an anticipated pitched battle, the men’s equivalent turned a one-man show as Nigel Levine employed his aggressive front-run tactics to awesome advantage to claim a far easier title than he would have thought in 46.58 secs (SB), sparing plenty of daylight on the field by roughly half a second.

Although the most impressive in the heats, Richard Buck was caught up in a large group fight and found a way round only at the end to edge bronze in a slowish 47.10 behind David Bingham, who snatched second just ahead in 47.07 secs in a rare indoor appearance.

Hannah England confirmed her favourite status in winning convincingly in 9:06.04 (SB) over the women’s 3000m, the main challenge coming surprisingly from second-placed Katrina Wooton (9:06.99, SB) rather than Gemma Steel, while Margaret Adeoye carried her Glasgwegian thunder to stun the EIS by way of a huge PB of 23.36 secs in the 200m, having run an intermediate best of 23.50 in the heats.

There was plenty of interest in the pit as Yamile Aldama came away with top honours at a SB of 14.09m in the triple jump and Shara Proctor leapt to a last ditch indoor best of 6.68m to fall narrowly shy of the British record, co-held by Susan Henshaw and Jo Wise at 6.70m, while JJ Jegede landed at a surprising indoor best of 7.96m – but still quite a long way from the qualifying mark of 8.15m.

Finally, Lewis Moses edged out James Brewer in the late phases of the men’s metric mile in 3:45.58 to 3:45.66, but the latter could still hope of getting the second spot on the British team, while Andy Sutcliffe inflicted a second surprise defeat on Steve Lewis in the pole vault, clearing 5.55 (PB) to 5.45m, in an intriguing situation that unfolds in the event.

Full Results


Anticipation and tension is building up sharply as the indoor season picks up to the crunch for the majority of hopefuls to pull on a British vest at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, with a crucial last nine days up to the selection deadline marked with the UK Trials in Sheffield across the weekend.

Each athlete that tops an event over the next couple of days gains automatic selection provided they have achieved the qualifying standard set by UK Athletics as far as the cut-off, with the rest of the make-up of the team lying with the selectors.

There won’t be any such concerns on the mind of Jessica Ennis, though, as she has taken up the invitation extended by IAAF on the merit of her world ranking, the very holder of the global title in the pentathlon.

Britain’s golden girl is expected to dominate the limelight in an arena that feels like a second home to her as she is down for the high jump, the shot, the 60m hurdles and the long jump to effectively simulate a pentathlon but spread over two days.

So let’s have a look at how events look likely to shape up over the next two days in Sheffield, starting with the ladies.

60m (7.30/11.25 100m)

The women’s dash could have hardly turn any tighter and has got all the makings of a gripping thriller, likely to come down to a blanket finish between even up to five contenders. Apart from sheer speed, strength and composure may come in handy across three gruelling rounds back-to-back on Sunday.

Asha Philip has staged an astonishing comeback to form out of years in the shadows to storm to a UK-leading 7.24 secs at the London Games three weeks ago, looking fluent and powerful again, so is holding a slight edge going into the showdown.

As importantly, she maintained her nerve to cope brilliantly with the pressure of racing U20 sprint sensation Jodie Williams alongside, beating her twice on the same day – not many can boast that around!

Incidentally, she is rumoured to have left Mike McFarlane‘s group since summer although that will hardly have any bearing on the affair.

A silver medallist in Valencia four years ago, Jeanette Kwakye is back to her very best and literally demolished the field in a British runner-up mark of 7.26 secs at the AVIVA International but on the slower track of Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, therefore she should be regarded on an equal footing in the battle for top honours.

Laura Turner set 7.29 secs, her fastest ever leading up to a UK Trials, behind Ivet Lalova (BUL) in France last weekend so seems to be hitting form at the right time, having also tweaked her dynamics, while seasoned campaigner Abi Oyepitan has also returned on top of her game in 7.31 secs showing plenty of consistency into the bargain.

Williams, for her part, has raced sparingly and is lying slightly down on last year at this stage although that could turn round radically as soon as she settles in her blocks for her first round heat. She is a renowned fierce competitor and relishes rising to the occasion so none to take lightly.

Anyika Onuora showed race-rusty in her only showing so far, setting only 7.57 secs, and has got lots of ground to make where the distance may come a little too short for the strength of Margaret Adeoye, more suited to the 200m. Improving Annabelle Lewis and talented U20 Sophie Papps could surprise a few.

200m (non-major championship event)

Adeoye, a shock winner in Glasgow, is playing on her own ground here and stands head and shoulders above anyone else in the field so probably setting her eyes mainly on the clock and a new PB. Louise Bloor is a shade away from the sub 24 secs region and U23 now Jenny Batten could spring a surprise second.

400m (53.25i/51.25)

Nicola Sanders steps on an indoor track on racing terms for the first time since her sensational triumph at the European Indoor Champs in Birmingham 2007 in a UK record of 50.02 secs, fifth fastest all-time, and she will be raring to mark a new chapter to her career and haul back into top form.

She is held to have enjoyed a smooth winter build-up, spending a lengthy spell down in South Africa, which forms a solid platform to her campaign for starters. After all, talent has never been an issue with her, it is all about keeping in one piece.

Perri Shakes-Drayton has pulled out to take some gloss off what looked like a potential highlight of the Trials but Sanders still faces off with a worthy rival in Shana Cox, who has the potential to go places in the event.

However, she looked in deep waters round the tight bends of the Kelvin Hall recently, as though she hadn’t been on an indoor track for ages, so will have to pare down that margin on the curb to give herself a fair chance. Her SB of 53.08 secs in the heats of the Birmingham Games was a good sign in that respect.

Relay places will be up for grabs as well and Nadine Okyere comes in first in the shake-up on a recent indoor best of 53.43 secs behind Vania Stambolova (BUL) in Vienna, plus PBs in the sprints, while a burgeoning Emily Diamond could turn a revelation having smashed her PB into 54.19 secs last weekend.

From there on, Laura Langowski, Emma Pullen, Kirsten McAslan and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke could all dip inside 54 secs, Kim Wall an unknown quantity.

800m (2:03.50i/1:59.50)

Marilyn ‘Maz’ Okoro is the overwhelming favourite to dominate the event and clinch her berth on the British team to Turkey as she has got far too much for anyone else in the field to handle. Rowena Cole, the European U20 silver medallist, Charlotte Best, Tara Bird and Alison Leonard ought to fight it out for the minor top three places.

1500m (4:14.00i or 4:31.00i mile/4:03.50 or 4:22.00 mile)

Not a single name among Britain’s top 10 milers is about to tackle the distance and thus Scot Claire Gibson, along with Laura Kirk, rise as the most likely candidates to lift the title. Qualifying times chances don’t look good in this quarter though.

3000m (8:51.00i/8:38.00 or 15:02.00 5000m)

Having already shown enough to effectively ensure of selection, European Indoor champion Helen Clitheroe is skipping the affair leaving the field open to Hannah England and her lethal finishing kick to prevail.

It’s hard to see how the Daegu 1500m runner-up could possibly lose this race whether it be a slow tactical affair or paced hard from the front as she possesses the required equipment to cope with everything thrown at in the context of it.

Gemma Steel, on the back of a fabulous season on the country, might have an outside chance to shake her as long as she commits herself to a fast pace from the off and can take the race inside 9 minutes, while pacy Stacey Smith ought to come among the medals from the rest.

Interesting figures on show are Emily Pidgeon, Elle Baker, Abbey McGhee, Beth Potter and Katrina Wooton.

60m hurdles (8.10 or 12.95 100mh)

UK record holder Tiffany Porter is missing since racing at the centennial Milrose Games in New York so Jessica Ennis takes pole position to land yet another British title over the hurdles, with an eye on her PB of 7.95 secs. Her first sample of a 8.05 secs on the very same track at the opening leg of the McCain Indoor Challenge firmly points to that way.

Gemma Bennett has solid hopes of edging under the qualifying mark on a SB of 8.16 secs set in Glasgow whereas Beijing finalist Sarah Claxton has failed to build on an encouraging start as yet, with a SB of 8.25 secs.

Consequently, the likes of Louise Wood and U23 Ashley Helshby might fancy their chances of sneaking into the medals on the grounds of PBs of 8.31 and 8.34 secs respectively.

Commonwealth heptathlon champion Louise Hazell will be out in this one as well looking to challenge her own PB of 8.27 secs, slightly over a tenth down this season on 8.38 so far, as is Meghan Beesley over a speed workout on the back of a n indoor best of 53.74 secs over 400m in Birmingham midweek.

High Jump (1.92)

Young Isobel Pooley, fresh from a big PB of 1.88m last weekend in the same arena, is brimming with confidence and could push Ennis towards her PB and equal  UK record of 1.95m, as could herself be spurred on by her great opponent to reach the qualifying standard of 1.92m and book her ticket for Istanbul.  But, at length, there appears that it could be some light at the end of the tunnel in this event on the domestic front.

Interesting to see what Steph Pywell has to offer though she looks some way off her best at the moment.

Pole Vault (4.52)

This is no contest by any stretch of the imagination but more of a Holly Bleasdale vs the bar affair that will turn on the freshness of the new British sensation in athletics following her epic battle with Yelena Isinbayeva in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Wednesday. A new UK record is always a possibility whenever she turns up in a competition.

Britain’s No2 Kate Dennison will be missing to leave the gap on the opposition even larger but there is a potential separate duel between swiftly rising U20 record holder Katie Byres and Welsh top all-time marker Sally Peake shaping up that could spur either on to new standards.

Also U20 Lucy Bryan is an interesting character for the future in the field and Sally Scott could improve considerably.

Long Jump (6.65)

Shara Proctor has shown very consistent with two indoor bests of 6.59 and 6.60m in as many outings this season so ought to come on top with relative ease, with pressure off her shoulders since she holds a qualifying 6.81m from last summer. Hopefully, she is going to keep up the trend and improve even further towards the 6.70s to boost her chances of a good result in Turkey.

Tony Minichiello says that Jessica Ennis is gearing up to a leap in the discipline and that would be a good occasion to bring it about and shake the confidence of her major rival for gold, Tatyana Chernova.

Abigail Irozuru looks like a safe bet to make up the top three and is on a PB-ing streak lately.

Triple Jump (14.10)

Yamile Aldama could be on the verge of turning her 40 but has still plenty of spring left in her legs to deliver the goods on the big stage, having started the season on a winning note at 14.03m in Glasgow. Two weeks on, she should move up a gear and well capable of landing towards the 14.30-14.40s and announce herself as a potential medallist in Istanbul next month.

Nadia Williams will be out to add to her recent 13.52m in Vienna but if one is looking for a breakthrough then world U20 silver medallist Laura Samuel fits the description, always relishing a championships environment.

Shot Put (17.50)

The spotlight will be on Jessica Ennis, again, eyeing to reach way beyond the 14m mark after a solid opener of 13.95m on this ground about three weeks ago. But spare a few glances on Eden Francis, the European U23 discus champion in 2009, who has made plenty of headway and is lying on the edge of 17m, setting a PB of 16.92m last week – the farthest by a Brit since 2006.

Louise Hazell goes in this one too and U20 Sophie McKinna is a good prospect for the future to follow.


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

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

Meeting Capitale Perche, Clermont Ferrand, France

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

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

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

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

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




Vault Manchester, Sportcity, Manchester

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

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

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

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




Texas 10 Team Invitational, College Station, Texas, USA

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

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

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




Northern Championships, Sheffield, Day I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Midland Counties Open, Birmingham, Day I

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

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

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

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

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

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




McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge, Cardiff

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

Results (Top 4)

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

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

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

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


SEAA Championships incorporating U17/U15 Pentathlon Championships, Lee Valley

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

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

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




Midland Counties Open, Birmingham, Day II

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

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




Northern Championships, Sheffield, Day II

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

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

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




Chevron Houston Marathon, Texas, US

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



(More later on…)

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

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

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

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

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

With the World Championships over now, who do you think was Britain’s top performer in Daegu? New distance king Mo Farah who conquered the men’s 5000m, along with a fine silver over 10000m? Dai Greene who battled to a gold of British steel in the 400m hurdles? Jessica Ennis, silver medalist in the heptathlon, or Phillips Idowu who had to yield to an astonishing jump of 17.96m by American Christian Taylor in the triple jump? Or maybe someone else? Vote for your favourite performer and discuss below!

The curtains have been drawn and the dust is settling in the arena of the Daegu stadium as the 13th World Championships passed into history so it is a good time to look into the particulars of the British team on show and reflect on the overall performance and results thereof. But let’s get the statistic lowdown of the team first:

Medals (7)

Golds (2): Mo Farah (5000m), Dai Greene (400mh)

Silvers (4): Mo Farah (10000m), Jessica Ennis (heptathlon), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Hannah England (1500m)

Bronzes (1): Andy Turner (110mh)

Top 8 places (12)

4th places (2): Tiffany Porter (100mh), Women’s 4×400 (Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell, Perri Shakes-Drayton)

5th places (2): William Sharman (110mh), Yamile Aldama (triple jump)

7th places (1): Men’s 4×400 (Richard Strachan, Chris Clarke, Nigel Levine, Martyn Rooney)

Also finalists (5): Steve Lewis (pole vault), Brett Morse (discus), Helen Clitheroe (5000m), Barbara Parker (3000mSC), Goldie Sayers (javelin)

DNF (1): Men’s 4x100m (Christian Malcolm,Craig Pickering, Marlon Devonish, Harry Aikines-Ayreety)

UK Records (1): Tiffany Porter (100mh)

PBs (3): Porter, Emma Jackson (800m), Anuika Onuora (200m)

SBs (5): Martyn Rooney (400m), David Webb (marathon), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Steve Lewis (pole vault), Yamile Aldama (triple jump)


Overall, there has been a mixed bag of goods and feelings over the display of the team as the best medal haul attained since Britain’s most successful world championships ever in Stuttgart 1993 was considerably contrasted by a low number of other top eight finalists, as well as subdued figures in PBs and SBs across the board, which could be a cause for concern. Of course, that doesn’t reflect the actual strength or landscape of British athletics as there was a wide spread sense that many athletes failed to arrive adequately prepared off the last stage of their build-up or/and were caught out by developments and turns of events. Furthermore, there were those who were either struck by misfortune, simply caught on a bad day at the office or could not do themselves justice on the grounds of injury.

It was a championships of stark contradictions as the number of individual medalists almost doubled  on Berlin two years ago, despite the fact that neither Lisa Dobriskey nor Jenny Meadows reached even their respective finals, to provide a phychological boost and a larger medal cushion in view of London next summer although the absence of any finalists from 100 through to 1500m in men and from 100 to 800 in women was admittedly disheartening and the controversial selections and failure of relay teams to pick up a single medal was anything but flattering.

Phillips Idowu is surprisingly beaten to silver by an astonishing 17.96m from Christian Taylor (USA)

Nevertheless, there is more upside rather than downside to the whole affair so arguably a lot more ground to take heart from than meets the eye. Mo Farah, Dai Greene, Hannah England and Andy Turner have come to substantially extend the range of recent global medalists while Tiffany Porter and Yamile Aldama moved onto the fringes of that territory, the former Cuban returning to a familiar place for her after years. Whereas at first sight it appears that Britain have moved up by a single medal on Berlin, 7 to 6, the effective gains have been considerably larger since individual medals rose by a sound three, 7 to 4, which carries considerably greater weight.

An encouraging thought that could come to mind is that a relatively underperforming team still yielded seven medals, a figure that could be interpreted as a near floor of performance, so one could well speculate what sort of numbers would have been feasible if a larger rate among athletes had performed to the mark.It’s a good feeling to know that you have reached your target and there was still plenty to spare on your potential.

There weren’t any relay hardware coming in which was frustrating, true, but it is much easier to sort out your relays and return stronger next year than lay out new medal contenders on the stage within the same amount of time. There are arguably some five, maybe six, sound gold medal shots for London next summer compared to only two at the beginning of the season, as well as a proportional rise in overall podium prospects during the same time.

In fact, formation and order of most relay outfits were badly misplaced and messed up by coaches in charge to the extend of considerably affecting their medals chances. It was crying out from the heats that the men’s 4x400m team needed more pace in the early stages to get out in front and enjoy freer runs rather than have to run around bodies and chase hard from well behind. The women’s long relay performed well in the heats only to see Perri Shakes-Drayton so poorly wasted on the lead-off leg, even if she led the team off to a swift 50.5 secs run, and Christine Ohuruogu thrown in deep waters outside lanes as usual after a solid first-round lead-off of 51.6 secs. With so much pumped into the relays, how can certain persons afford to fall into such blunders time and again really?

In a more favourable light, four out of the five minor medals claimed were silvers and arguably leaning closer to golds than bronzes by the manner they came by. Phillips Idowu managed a world-class 17.77m to be beaten by an astounding one-off of talented American Christian Taylor, Jessica Ennis endured a horrid javelin to concede her crown to Tatiana Chernova (RUS) who put together her virtual perfect heptathlon, something most unlikely to emulate again, Mo Farah was pipped in the dying stages of the 10000m by an athlete that very much ran out of his skin, Ibrahim Jeilah (ETH), and Hannah England was bearing down on winner Jennifer Simpson down the home straight of the women’s 1500m.

Hannah England formed the breakthrough package in Daegu

Among the disappointments, Dobriskey more of got ensnared into a race that didn’t suit her to crash out the same way as Olympic champion Nancy Lagat in an identical race a round on rather than was short of shape, having beaten England convincingly in her last outing leading up to Daegu. But she carries full responsibility in that she didn’t attempt to shift the shape of the race at any given moment and will hopefully take that on board. Further, she still needs to improve her response time to turns of pace around her so that she doesn’t slip instantly into poor positions and is left with too much to do.

Meadows was apparently doing everything right until 50m out when caught out by a vastly unpredictable Maggie Vessey (USA) for second place in the women’s 800m semifinals, Dwain Chambers was so unfortunate to be disqualified on a mere twitch in his blocks in the semifinals of the men’s 100m and young Holly Bleasdale may have had a very long season coming into these championships.

Along mystifying lines, Olympic champion Ohuruogu will probably like to forget this affair as soon as possible after an unwarranted false-start in the individual 400m and a very poor 52.0 secs contribution to the long relay in the final, while Goldie Sayers must have been groping around to find out what went so awfully wrong to crash out of the javelin final the way she did. Captain Christian Malcolm was well short of his best in the 200m and Harry ‘Hulk’ Aikines-Ayreety will have to learn to literally pull his weight more efficiently around in a relay – though he missed narrowly out on a place in the dash final.

Britain were substantially down in top eight places gathering only 12 compared to 20 in Berlin, a disappointing aspect, although they were unfortunate to lose Greg Rutherford and Kate Dennison through injuries while on their way to the long jump and pole vault finals, where Chris Tomlinson efforts were hampered by a knee injury, and Shakes-Drayton missed out by the narrowest of margins in the 400m hurdles, which would have reduced the deficit substantially.

On a different note, Nicola Sanders‘s 50.4 secs leg in the women’s 4x400m final could suggest that she is steadily getting back to reasonable form, Emma Jackson performed brilliantly on her first showing on the big stage to deliver a PB of 1:59.77 over 800m and the U23 duo of Jack Green and Nathan Woodward both reached the semifinals of the men’s 400m hurdles on the back of long seasons, an encouraging sign for the event behind Greene.


Phillips Idowu’s silver medal bolstered up triple jump’s place as Britain’s top event in the history of the championships having claimed three golds and seven medals overall (3-3-1) between him and Jonathan Edwards, with Andy Turner adding a bronze to sustain the 110m hurdles as the event that has won the most silverware with nine pieces between him, Colin Jackson, Tony Jarrett and Jon Ridgeon (2-5-2).

Jessica Ennis won Britain’s fifth medal in the heptathlon (1-3-1), Denise Lewis and Kelly Sotherton having a share, and Hannah England a third silver in the 1500m, the other two won by Kelly Holmes and Dobriskey – Hayley Tullett adding a bronze to the tally.

Dai Greene wins Britain’s first ever gold in the 400m hurdles

Mo Farah broke the duck to bring a first medal (silver) in the 10000m after Steve Binns and Richard Nerurkar had been the closest in fifths and also won Britain’s first gold in the 5000m, ending the medal drought since Jack Buckner‘s bronze in 1987, while Dai Greene also claimed a first gold and second medal ever apart from Kris Akabussi‘s bronze in 1991.

On the other hand, Britain remain without a male 800m finalist since Curtis Robb and Tom McKean in 1993 and without a medal in the 400m since Roger Black‘s silver in 1991. Moreover, Steve Cram‘s gold in the inaugural edition in Helsinki 1983 still remains Britain’s only silverware over the men’s 1500m in 28 years.


As concerns athletes that didn’t perform to their form, there should be taken into account that:

Mike Rimmer‘s summer training and racing had been seriously curtailed due to a pelvic injury after a superb start to his season.

James Shane late build-up was apparently affected by an achilles complaint picked up early last month.

Greg Rutherford sustained a hamstring injury during the long jump qualification and had to pull out.

Chris Tomlinson was competing on a troublesome knee out of a road accident.

Kate Dennison got injured towards the end of the pole vault qualification and missed out by a mere place despite withdrawing.

Jo Jackson was also carrying a knee complaint that reduced her to 23rd in the women’s 20km race walking.

The news of Jessica Ennis‘s shocking plunge in the javelin had somewhat started settling in and British fans still numb braced themselves for one more day short of a gold medal as the defending champion turned up in the final act of the heptathlon, the 800m, on a mission impossible rather than an anticipated effective double lap of honour. Her worst spear competition since 2007 spelled that she needed to conjure up a six second margin on Tatiana Chernova out of somewhere to overturn the situation, with the Russian holding a better PB over the distance as well.

A new thing that Ennis introduced to the athletics world in Daegu is her doing things wrong; even her! None will probably get to know what happened to her that morning. It’s beyond perception. Like none may comprehend why she pursued the impossible, or at least a slight consolation out of it all, the way she did. A frantic first 200m in 28.3 secs, a pace good enough for the likes of Jenny Meadows, followed by a 60.88 secs split through 400m meant that she had blown even that fighting chance of hers as she wasn’t ever going to sustain that pace round the second lap and Chernova had slotted in second holding a grip on the affair from a safe distance. On the off-possibility that she attempted to draw the Russian into a trap of following closely to falter bad in the later stages her plan had quickly fallen apart.

A better plan might have been to go out at a more even pace, say 30-61 rather than that 28-high 60 secs, that could set her up nicely for a faster time around 2:05 and with a, still remote but greater, chance to pose questions on Chernova and even trick her into a wrong move that could compromise her lead watching the Briton steadily pulling further away over the third 200m. That would be really interesting to see. At any rate, a final PB of 2:07.81 secs and a total of 6751pts for silver, a 121pts down on the Russian’s PB and world-leading mark, still represented a highy commendable performance and the smile restored on her face meant that she felt like herself again, knowing that she can strike back next summer in London. That first defeat after three years will burn inside and Ennis will be fired up to demonstrate that she is the finest.

Louise Hazell almost caught her PB in a 2:15.44, her second fastest ever, for sixth in the second heat to wrap up and excellent campaign that totalled 6149pts, slightly outside her PB and her third highest ever. With some pointed tweaks through the winter, she could be definitely emerge on the way to a top eight placing in London.

Final Standings


As fortune often has it, at the moment that a golden hope withered away another blossomed out in the shape of European champion Dai Greene who delivered an awesome display of impeccable and assured hurdling to cruise home a comprehensive winner ahead of great Felix Sanchez (DOM) in the second semifinal in 48.62 secs, trotting off the final hurdle to the line. On top of that, double world champion Kerron Clement failed to qualify trailing way off behind in last in just 52.11 secs to sum up a very poor season by his own standards while Olympic champion Angelo Taylor made it only as a fastest loser in 48.86 secs from the first heat and draw the inside lane in the final to substantially boost the Welshman’s stakes as a potential successor to the throne. Of course, Taylor has done it again from lane one but his form doesn’t quite recommend he can bring it off again this time – though that might change.

European U23 champion Jack Green came home fifth in 49.62 secs from lane two in the first semifinal and age group British champion Nathan Woodward put in a brave fight round the track before fading off to sixth in the closing stages of the last heat on the far end of a long season to underline the quality of the next British generation coming swiftly through on the international stage. All things equal, both could follow Greene’s trail to the final of the Olympics in London next summer.



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.