Tag Archive: Laura Turner


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

http://www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series/aviva-uk-trials-and-championships/timetable/

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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.

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

SEAA Championships, Lee Valley

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

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

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

Simeon Williamson eases up to a 6.70 secs quarterfinal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welsh Senior/U15/U13 Championships, Cardiff

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

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

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

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

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

Scottish National Open, Glasgow

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

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

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

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— Full results in the respective section —

(More later…)

SATURDAY

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.

Results

http://bases.athle.com/asp.net/liste.aspx?frmbase=resultats&frmmode=1&frmespace=0&frmcompetition=089728&frmposition=1

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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.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/60103_12658_15012012192921_VaultManchester%20Results%20Sat%2014%20jan%202012.zip

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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.

Results

http://www.flashresults.com/2012_Meets/indoor/01-14-TAMUChallenge/realtime/

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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.

Results

http://www.noeaa-athletics.org.uk/FileUploads/Inddor_Champs_Day_1_Results_2012.xls

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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.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/58244_6002_15012012131830_1st%20Open%2014-15%20jan%202012%20results.xls

SUNDAY

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

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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.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/56900_6002_16012012101839_New%20Compressed%20(zipped)%20Folder.zip

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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.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/58244_6002_16012012102110_New%20Compressed%20(zipped)%20Folder.zip

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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.

Results

http://www.noeaa-athletics.org.uk/FileUploads/Indoor_Champs_full_Results_2012.xls

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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.

Results

http://results.houstonmarathon.com/2012/

(More later on…)

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.


400m
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.