Tag Archive: Nicola Sanders


A mere day after the AVIVA Grand Prix, Robbie Grabarz, Nicola Sanders and Marilyn Okoro turned up again in the arena of the NIA in Birmingham on different purposes off the back of mixed results but all left with mission accomplished and at least a big grin on their face.

Grabarz in particular barely showed any signs of easing off his searing tempo into the season, having attempted a daunting would-be UK record of 2.39m on Saturday, as he climbed over a sound 2.30m in the high jump to display impressive consistency in this new-found territory in the top tiers of the event.

That was his third outing in that region this term as he is ever growing in confidence and looks well capable of something around the 2.35-2.36m, emerging as a genuine medal contender in Istanbul.

In the women’s contest, UK Trials find Emma Perkins cleared 1.85m, her second highest ever, to convincingly beat promising U23 Isobel Pooley, who had to do with 1.80m on the day.

Along similar lines with the AVIVA Grand Prix, the 400m races turned in a flurry of fast times in both women and men highlighted by a huge SB and world indoor qualifier of 52.48 secs by Nicola Sanders, who is slowly but steadily showing glimpses of her form of old.

Employing a short racing stint as a gauge of her build-up, she recovered quickly from another trip through a rough lactic patch in 53.21 secs the previous day as her body showed to have build in a sounder insulation and better adapted to knock well over half a second off her marker.

It is going to be intriguing to see who gets the selectors nod for the second spot in the 400m behind Shana Cox in Istanbul and whether she will be interested to at least boost a competitive shaping up long relay, considerably faster than Nadine Okyere(53.01) now but two down in their encounters.

Marilyn Okoro is never short on speed and offered a good account of herself in a swift 53.33 secs a place behind, rounding nicely into form, while Laura Langowski made a big leap into uncharted territories in a large PB of 53.54 secs, her first trip under 54 secs in any surroundings.

Emily Diamond, apparently moving up  distance, followed through on the latter’s heels into the same quarters in 53.67 secs, first time inside 54 secs too, as did also U23 Micah Nottingham in 53.85 secs in clinching the other heat ahead of Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (54.48).

James Forman finishes like a train from way behind to a massive PB of 46.74 secs

On the men’s side, a total screamer arrived in the guise of U23 James Forman who destroyed his total PB in a world indoor qualifier of 46.74 secs that could sneak him a late relay place, with Luke Smallwood runner-up in a huge PB of 46.98 secs.

That amounts to seven Britons under 47 secs already this winter which augurs well for the prospects of the event in summer.

Nathan Woodward, the European 400m hurdles silver medallist, embarked on a virtual time trial over a rare 800m to set an encouraging 1:51.20 (PB) while Luke Cutts comfortably got the better of Max Eaves in the pole vault, setting 5.40m to 5.20m respectively.

Manchester Open, Sportcity

Hayley Jones showed vivid signs of a timely return to form in view of London this summer as she toured round the track of the Sportcity in 23.96 secs over 200m, a best ever under a roof.

That was sufficient to carry the former European U23 champion up to third in the UK lists this term teed up by her second fastest ever dash of 7.38 secs in the 60m earlier on.

Overseas…

Dwain Chambers endured a rather uncharacteristic off-day as he came off a well-beaten third in the men’s 60m in Ghent (International Flanders Athletic Meeting) but even more baffling was a slowish 6.70 secs on the back of a trademark ‘deposit’ of 6.64 secs in the heats, fastest of the qualifiers.

Cuban Yunier Perez, a former 400m runner, was a surprise thorough winner in a fast PB of 6.55 secs ahead of Norwegian Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, who posted 6.64 secs (SB) in second place.

The other quality display of the day came from world U20 finalist Pavel Maslak (CZE) who broke ground to a total PB of 46.14 secs over 400m, third fastest in Europe and a national indoor record. Irishman Brian Gregan took the other heat in an indoor best of 46.66 secs.

Tiffany Porter opted for some low profile action as well, apparently inserting some valuable mid-season training to sustain her campaign, to easily notch a spint/hurdle double over 60m in 7.51 and 8.03 secs respectively at the Silverston Invitational in Ann Arbor, Michigan, looking ever consistent.

Interestingly, she faced both times younger sister Cindy Offili who set 7.75 and 8.76 secs in the above mentioned races.

At the Armory in New York, hosting the MAAC Championships, Mitch Goose stretched his fabulous break-ground form into the legendary sub 4 zone as he pursued a solo 3:59.26 to win the men’s mile by over a dozen seconds.

His previous best stood at only 4:09.4 from 2008, the previous leap year that is, to take the number of Britons inside that territory up to nine.

Kenyan Leonard Korir was another notable winner of the meet in a SB of 7:51.83 over 3000m, just outside his year-old PB of 7:51.40 in Boston.

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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/

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.

Phillips Idowu made light and slick work of the qualifying round in the men’s triple jump as Dai Greene‘s golden ride the previous night showed to rub off on the efforts of British athletes this morning.

The defending global champion was quick off the mark to sail out to 17.17m (0.5m/sec) despite totally missing the take-off board in his very first attempt and book his place on Sunday’s final, signalling the measure of the task awaiting anyone aspiring to take his throne. On this short glimpse into his form, he looks well capable of hopping beyond his PB of 17.81 and further closer to 18m.

Cuban Alexis Copello topped both groups with a second-round 17.31m (0.2m/sec) while current and former Olympic champions Nelson Evora (POR) and Christian Olsson (SWE) also both needed two attempts to seal their places by right out at 17.20m (0.6m/sec) and 17.16m (0.0) respectively, the former’s second best jump of the season.

Results

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=09-02-2011/sex=M/discCode=TJ/combCode=hash/roundCode=q/results.html#detM_TJ_hash_q

Tiffany Porter got off on the front foot in the women’s 100m hurdles as she breezed over the sticks to a comfortable win in 12.84 secs over Colombia’s Lina Flopez (12.98) into a strong headwind of -1.6m/sec in the third heat of the preliminary round where Aussie Sally Pearson demonstrated her gold medal favourite credentials in a sizzling opener of 12.53 secs (-0.6m/sec) to signal her intentions. Kellie Wells, Danielle Carruthers and Olympic champion Dawn Harper claimed three out of the five heats in 12.73 (1.0m/sec), 12.79 (0.0) and 12.89 secs (1.3m/sec) respectively for the Americans to announce their challenge.

Results

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=09-02-2011/sex=W/discCode=100H/combCode=hash/roundCode=h/results.html#detW_100H_hash_h

Skipper Christian Malcolm surprisingly failed to make the top three in a second heat easily dominated by Usain Bolt (20.30) and endured a long anxious wait over the remaining five rounds before he could get the green light to move through to the semifinals on his 20.66 secs (-0.3m/sec) for fourth, caught out by unlikely contender Pavel Maslak‘s (CZE) PB of 20.63 secs for third. Walter Dix (USA), Nickel Ashmeade (JAM), Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) and Alonso Edward (PAN) all eased through their heats in the driving seat in style.

Results

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=09-02-2011/sex=M/discCode=200/combCode=hash/roundCode=h/results.html#detM_200_hash_h

Sophie Hitchon could not get into her rhythm to bow out rather quietly in the qualification of the women’s hammer with a third round 64.93m as her best on the day, nevertheless the experience of such a high calibre event will serve her well even in the near future. Chinese Wenxiu Zhang was top qualifier among both pools at 74.17m as all major names including Betty Heidler (GER) and Anita Wlodarczyk (POL).

Results

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=09-02-2011/sex=W/discCode=HT/combCode=hash/roundCode=q/results.html#detW_HT_hash_q

Finally, a most welcome spectacle was a solid 3:23.05, fastest time by a British outfit since 2008, for runner-ups in the third semifinal of the women’s 4x400m relay by a full-strength quartet out of Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell and Perri Shakes-Drayton. Ohuruogu in particular showed plenty of hunger to redeem herself through a sound lead-off of 51.6 secs from the inside lane and McConnell was very impressive on the third. The team could well have ranged in the 3:22 province had they started from a better lane and they will be hoping to find a second or two to push Jamaica, who finished first in 3:22.01 despite resting a couple of key members, out of the medals.

Russia set a world-leading mark of 3:20.94 in winning the second heat and the US team claimed the opener in 3:23.57 without employing full-strength teams of the like of Sanya Richards-Ross or Allyson Felix to set up a hotly anticipated duel for the title.

Results

http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx?racedate=09-02-2011/sex=W/discCode=4X4/combCode=hash/roundCode=h/results.html#detW_4X4_hash_h

Eurosport Live streamline: http://linkupvideos.com/track2.html

Starting-lists & Results http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/ResultsByDate.aspx

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The Action

Very good work by the British sprinters as they all qualify to the semifinals of the men’s 100m the easier or the harder way. Dwain Chambers looks very smooth as he cruises through to runner-up over the second half of the last heat in 10.28 (-0.7m/sec) suggesting a strong contender for a place in the top eight, Usain Bolt looking back to his more familiar fluent version as he eases up way out and past the line in the fastest time out of the quarters in 10.10 secs.

Usain Bolt and Dwain Chambers in the 5th heat of the 100m

Harry Aikines-Ayreety seems to be coming of age on the international scene as he executes well out of his blocks to a strong start that he maintains nicely down the stretch to come second in 10.28 secs (-1.7m/sec) behind a frighteningly cruising Walter Dix who set 10.25 secs at the front where Marlon Devonish needs to wait but finally makes the cut as a fastest loser with 10.34 secs (-1.0m/sec) as fourth in the third section.

Yohan Blake (JAM, 10.12, -1.2m/sec), evergreen Kim Collins (SNK, 10.13, -1.7m/sec) and Nesta Carter are others to impress in these early days but Richard Thompson (TRI) and Justin Gatlin (USA) look rather stiff through the quarters. All heats were run into headwinds that don’t augur well for fast times in the top stages.

Shara Proctor crashed out of a rather scrappy long jump qualification after two fouls and a modest third attempt at 6.34m (-0.2m/sec) where even Britney Reese needed all three attempts to book her berth in the final, powering out to the top mark of the day at 6.79m nevertheless.

What a day for the Kenyan distance girls who move on to make a second clean sweep in a single day following the astounding triple triumph in the streets of Daegu over the marathon this morning. Vivian Cheruiyot always looked like the one to beat coming to the championships and asserts her authority on the 10000m final as she decisively picks it up over the last couple of laps, winds it up nicely up the back straight and unleashes a searing finish to pull away down the home straight from Sally Kipyego to a comprehensive victory in 3:48.98 to 30:50.04. I guess the Kenyans will be holding some wild party all night tonight after that, even if there was a fourth medal they would have won it!

Final heat, Nicola Sanders embarks on a strong first 300m from the inside and looks in control well into the home straight for that well saught-after fourth place but Swede Moa Hejmer is coming past strong late on the outside and push her outside the automatic spots. Thankfully, her 52.65 secs is good enough to scrape through but that will make it extremely hard to draw a decent lane in the semifinals later.

I don’t think that going out so hard really serves Sanders’s purposes to better advantage, she made that same mistake in the semifinals of Berlin two years ago, therefore I hope that she has taken that on board and employs a more measured approach round the lap in her next race.

Sanya Richards-Ross looks like back to her best to me, so very comfortable and flowing round the track. She is going to take something special to beat I feel! Allyson Felix was also easily through from the opening heat as runner-up in 51.45 secs as Osaka bronze medalist Novlene Williams-Mills (JAM) got first slightly ahead in 51.30 secs so there is a mouth-watering duel building up nicely on the way to the final.

Lee McConnell makes easy work of going through the fourth heat employing a swift first 200m to ease down the home straight in third across the line in 52.75 secs behind Amantle Montsho who unnecessarily keeps going hard all the way to the line in 50.76 secs – someone should tell her of saving up for the race that matters.

Christine Ohuruogu talks after her false-start

Unfortunately, we’re never going to get to know what sort of form Christine Ohuruogu arrived in Daegu as she falls into a rather naive for her class and experience false-start in that third 400m heat to receive her taking her marching orders off the track. That’s a shocking virtual end to her season from an individual point of view at least… Such a shame.

Christine Ohuruogu is the first Brit to engage the evening action at the Daegu stadium going in the third heat of that women’s preliminary round of the 400m in a few minutes, a chance to gain a first glimpse into her form and her prospects in these championships.

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Evening session build-up

The 400m girls get the action going for the British team as they go into the preliminary round looking for places in the semifinals. The first four of each of the five heats on schedule gain automatic qualification and there are going to be four fastest losers making it through as well, therefore the British girls should renew their date over the distance tomorrow the easy or the hard way.

Olympic champion Ohuruogu is the first to join the early skirmishes in the event as she is down in lane five in the third heat with Berlin bronze medalist Antonina Krivoshapka (RUS) the main other name going in three. She is third fastest on paper so shouldn’t encounter any problems to further her campaign.

Lee McConnell goes also in lane five in the next heat and looks well positioned to qualify as third fastest in the field behind Amantle Montsho (BOT), a 49.71 secs PB this term, in lane two and American rising prospect Francena McCorory a lane inside the Scot.

Former world championships silver medalist Nicola Sanders may have the toughest task of all as she will be called upon to tackle the tight inside lane in the fifth and strongest heat, featuring defending champion Sanya Richards-Ross in lane five, Denisa Rosolova (CZE) in lane two and Shericka Williams (JAM) in three. Nicola is fifth fastest on paper but she is in much better shape than her SB of 51.84 secs and should have the beating of Swedish girl Moa Hjelmer (51.58 PB) out in seventh.

Shara Proctor is lining up in the B qualifying group in the women’s long jump and will need to either better a sound standard of 6.75m or make the top 12 overall from both pools, something well within her powers as shown time and again this summer.

Fun times are over and it’s real and ruthless business in the men’s 100m for the spinters from this stage on. There are seven heats scheduled for the quarters where the three first past the post and three fastest times are going to see the light of the semifinals later on. First to go out is Harry Aikines-Ayreety who is marginally third fastest at 10.13 secs in the second run and has got the awkward inside lane although he won’t be away from the main action as Walter Dix (USA) will be right next to him in two. Keston Bledman (TRI) is the other sub 10 man of the field out in seven and Harry must ensure he finishes ahead of Andrew Hinds (BAR) who’s got 10.14 secs to his credit, backed up by a 10.03 secs PB.

Marlon Devonish isn’t faced with any easier task either as he goes in lane five in the next heat sandwiched between Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) on the left and ‘frostbitten’ Justin Gatlin (USA) on the right, while he will have to hold off Dutch now Churandy Martina for third and not have to gamble on a fastest loser place.

Dwain Chambers is the best positioned of the three, though isolated on the outside, as easily second fastest from the penultimate heat with Usain Bolt occupying the top lane (four).

So, as the new footy season has kicked off with Newcastle vs Arsenal starting shortly, let’s start picking up the action on the track and on the infield from around the UK and elsewhere over the weekend.

BAL Premiership, Manchester

As it would seem appropriate and on merit, we’re heading off first to Manchester though for neither United or City, the sides that swept all trophies between them on the domestic scene last season, but Brett Morse, a keen ‘Red Devil’ himself as it happens, who gained an excellent send-off confidence boost of a BAL record of 65.30m in the discus before he boards the plane to Daegu. That was his second furthest mark ever and in close succession to his new Welsh record of 66.06m a little over two weeks ago in Sweden to set up nicely ahead of the greatest challenge he’s ever been faced with so far.

Chris Scott, lying fifth in the UK on a precise 63m B standard, reached a best of 59.49m on the day while new Brittish javelin champion Lee Doran came atop his event with 75.58m.

“What if…?” I guess these words should be turning over in Luke Fagan‘s head having powered to a big PB of 20.60 secs over 200m (1.5m/sec), matching the A qualifying standard for Daegu but a week too late. Where he would have got a strong case to capture the remaining open third spot on the British team as he finished a surprise third, from lane eight at that, behind Christian Malcolm and James Ellington! It was an overall very prolific day at the office for the former European U20 bronze medalist as he also sneaked another PB of 10.36 secs (1.7m/sec), setting a marginally windy 10.26 secs (2.1m/sec) in a non-scoring race, to show that he is firmly back on track.

European U23 bronze medalist Andy Robertson was the victor of the scoring dash in 10.33 secs as Ricky Fifton, Nick Smith and Fagan come tied behind in a blanket finish in 10.36 secs, a SB for the Scot, while U20 Jordan Kirby-Polidore grabbed a second big PB in a row in 21.09 secs as runner-up over the furlong.

European silver medalist Rhys Williams kept showing almost pinpoint consistency but way off where he should have liked to range in 49.71 secs over 400m hurdles, his third ride in as many races in August in the 49.7s, to comfortably get the better of Ben Sumner (51.07), where European U23 bronze medalist Luke Lennon-Ford had to give way to Rabah Yusef in the 400m flat in 46.47 to 46.07  respectively.

Stuart Stokes drew the eye with a season debut solo 8:41.60 over the barriers to go straight fourth in the UK lists in an event where things are stirring again over the last couple weeks, dragging Glenn Watts to a substantial PB of 8:47.01. After a slow start into the season, there are seven runners under 8:50 and overall eighteen under 9 mins which is an encouraging improvement on previous seasons.

BAL National One, Gateshead

New European U23 champion Nigel Levine, also Daegu-bound with the long relay, ran a very solid 46.25 secs in windy conditions to win the 400m by miles where Richard Kilty ran 21.46 secs into a stiff headwind of -3.1m/sec over 200m…

Lappeenranta Games, Finland

Rick Yates won the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.04 secs from Cuba’s Yasmani Copello, second in 50.35 secs, which was just 0.03 secs outside his SB but Andy Baddeley was a late withdrawal from an apparent initiating race in a move up to 5000m.

WM-Testwettkampf, Mannheim, Germany

Nicola Sanders showed encouraging progress over two weeks out from Daegu as she convincingly won the women’s 400m in 51.92 secs in windy conditions to see off useful Germans Claudia Hoffman and Janin Lindenberg, 2nd and 3rd in 52.15 and 52.76 secs respectively. Judging by the wind-readings in either the flat or hurdles sprints, ranging between 0.8 to 3.7m/sec to translate into substantial to strong headwinds up the back straight, her run looks to merit something in the mid 51 secs and maybe even more – an estimation efficiently backed up by the fact that Lindenberg has run 51.97 secs this summer.

U20 Dutch heptathlon sensation Daphne Schippers stormed to a startling PB of 11.19 secs (1.2m/sec) over 100m to surge within a hundredth of a second of European U20 champion Jodie Williams. Superb stuff!

Meanwhile, Steve Lewis couldn’t get the outcome he was looking for and had to settle for only 5.43m in the pole vault in Germany on Friday, but off a shorter run-up due to the circumstances prevailing in the competition.

Atketiekmeeting voon Mor, Leuven, Belgium

Charlie Grice showed that he is shrugging off a blip of form lately as he set a new PB of 1:49.97, his first sight under 1:50 over the distance by implication to win his heat. Former UK indoor champion Ed Aston was fifth in another section in a SB of 1:48 sharp on the other hand.

Richard Buck ran 46.44 secs over 400m as a late tweak to his gear before flying off to Korea with the British team while U23 Jamie Bowie edged inside 47 secs again in 46.94 secs.

The performance of the meeting was arguably Jonathan Borlee‘s (BEL) impressive clocking of 32.10 secs over the rare 300m.

International scene

Richard Thompson, the Olympic silver medalist of Beijing, has shadowed legandary Ato Boldon‘s national record in a rather largely unexpected, even by his own admission, new mark of 9.85 secs to win the title at the Trinidadian championships, slicing a mere hundredth of a second off. Not that he is a new kid on the block in this region, a previous PB of 9.89 secs, but his form had hardly suggested anything of the like in the run-up. Semow Hackett won the women’s home dash in a slightly windy 11 secs dead (2.2m/sec).

Decathlon new star Ashton Eaton showed he is gearing up to a sensational showing in Daegu as he set a big PB of 10.26 secs over 100m (1.5m/sec), as well as a massive best ever of 47.36m in the discus competing over only four selected disciplines across the decathlon at the Jim Thorpe Cup, improving on his 10.33 (twice) and 43.71m previous figures.He also cleared an outdoor PB of 2.10m in the high jump and reached 13.96m in the shot.

Reigning world champion Trey Hardee tackled four disciplines likewise as he is preparing to defend his title against mainly the avalanche of Eaton and but didn’t make any waves, suffering a particularly poor long jump of just 6.95m, while Olympic champion Bryan Clay ran only the 100m in 10.83 secs (1.1m/sec).

The bad news for the US team to compete in Daegu is that sprinter Mike Rodgers is caught positive over a stimulant and faces a likely three-month ban if his second sample turns out the same way.

Last, the king of global javelin Andre Thorkildson (NOR) has returned to the halls of the mighty and the very great with a world-leading mark of 90.61m at the Norwegian championships at Byrgjelo, the furthest throw in the globe since 2009 and his eighth mark ever over 90m – hail him!

More results in the Quick Results & International News pages.

UK Athletics have announced a 67-strong side to contest the oncoming World Championships in Daegu at the end of the month a little earlier on which hardly contain any surprise, save Michael Bingham‘s missing in the men’s long relay, but do feature some very notable absences and gaps. Defending global champions Phillips Idowu and Jessica Ennis will lead the British charge for medals in Korea along with a rampant Mo Farah, doubling up in the men’s distances, Dai Greene, Lisa Dobriskey and Jenny Meadows.

Phillips Idowu will spearhead the British challenge in Daegu

Besides them, a flowing Perri Shakes-Drayton, rocketing high Holly Bleasdale, the male long jump duo of Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford, a surging Hannah England, Goldie Sayers and Tiffany Offili-Porter will be eyeing to blaze their way into the medals on a very promising run-up to the championships, while Olympic 400m Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders, Martin Rooney and Martyn Bernard will be dark horses heading towards the Far East. Look also for some revelations to emerge in the likes of James Shane, Jack Green, Emma Jackson, Nathan Woodward and Andie Osagie among others. Christian Malcolm, a dark horse himself in the 200m, will duly skipper the side on their venture to add to a very successful medal tally and overall presence in Berlin two years ago.

Nevertheless, there have been some notable late casualties like European 10000m silver medalist Chris Thompson, who has apparently opted out since short on fitness and missing the 5000m standard, Jemma Simpson, Lawrence Okoye, Charlene Thomas, Bingham, Hattie Dean, Andy Baddeley, Leon Baptiste, Rhys Williams and Kelly Sotherton which added to earlier withdrawals of the like of Paula Radcliffe, Nathan Douglas, James Dasaolu, Jodie Williams and Tasha Danvers take a considerable dent into the team’s potential.

Yamile Aldama has finally made the cut even in the 11th hour in the women’s triple jump, a nice surprise to see there, while Marlon Devonish deservedly got the nod over Mark Lewis-Francis over the remaining third slot in th men’s 100m, the European silver medalist making only the relay outfit. I think that there was enough convincing evidence towards that decision.

The third 200m spot is left vacant but I speculate that Charles van Commennee may leave it late to name either Danny Talbot or Devonish depending on form, as there could be a similar case in the men’s 400m alongside sole naming Martyn Rooney. James Shane has rightfully gained a discretionary selection over a lately wobblying Baddeley to be the sole representative in what used to be Britain’s flagship event in the 80s, the 1500m, but I reckon Muchtar Mohammed (800m) and Gunny Luke (3000mSC) should have been given a chance likewise.

Further, what with the late absences of the likes of Thompson and Baddeley and with earlier withdrawals or injuries, the cause of British distances has hardly been helped with the wide visible gaps in the distances from 5000m upwards that shape a picture that doesn’t render the actual landscape of these quarters.

On the other hand, the women field events strike far more favourably than any recent major championships with four jumpers and two throwers, which might as well have been three.

I’m a little baffled why Eden Francis hasn’t earned a place as a holder of two B standards in the discus while Conrad Williams could prove a costly omission following a solid late outing last Saturday. Last, despite the outcome of the last couple of counters between the two, I would still gamble on picking Lawrence Okoye in the discus. No offence to Brett Morse, who’s a talented thrower, but right now the former is the only one who could spring a medal in the event, erratic or not.

On the other hand, I reckon that Martyn Bernard’s pick was a smart and sensible move, you know that he relishes to rise to the occasion and most of the times you can get something really good out of him!

To be honest, I think that the season planning at this crucial late stage may have cost Britain a few athletes that could do well in Korea. For many athletes, a week may have been too short a time to pick themselves up from the UK Trials and perform again while several individuals had to seek competitions abroad since organisers at Crystal Palace didn’t provide for them. A two week span in between could have been more effective and efficient.

Overall, the team looks strong across the board and well capable of picking up even three to four golds and a total of eight to ten medals, where a strong start to the championships will be essential with the likes of Ennis and Idowu engaging their frays within the first few days.

MEN
100m
Harry Aikines Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers, Marlon Devonish

200m James Ellington, Christian Malcolm

400m Martyn Rooney

800m Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer

1500m James Shane

5000m Mo Farah

10000m Mo Farah

110mh Lawrence Clarke, William Sharman, Andy Turner

400mh Jack Green, Dai Greene, Nathan Woodward

HJ Martyn Bernard, Tom Parsons

PV Steve Lewis

LJ Greg Rutherford, Chris Tomlinson

TJ Phillips Idowu

DT Abdul Buhari, Brett Morse, Carl Myerscough

4x100m Harry Aikines Aryeetey, Marlon Devonish, James Ellington, Mark Lewis-Francis, Christian Malcolm, Craig Pickering, Danny Talbot

4x400m Richard Buck, Chris Clarke, Jack Green, Dai Greene, Luke Lennon-Ford, Nigel Levine, Martyn Rooney, Richard Strachan

Marathon (team) Andrew Lemoncello, Lee Merrien, Dave Webb
WOMEN

100m Jeanette Kwakye, Anyika Onuora, Laura Turner

200m Anyika Onuora

400m Lee McConnell, Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders

800m Emma Jackson, Jenny Meadows, Marilyn Okoro

1500m Lisa Dobriskey, Hannah England

5000m Helen Clitheroe

3000mSC Barbara Parker

100mh Tiffany Offili-Porter

400mh Eilidh Child, Perri Shakes-Drayton

PV Holly Bleasdale, Kate Dennison

LJ Shara Proctor

TJ Yamile Aldama

JT Goldie Sayers

HT Sophie Hitchon

Heptathlon Jessica Ennis, Louise Hazel

20kmRW Jo Jackson

4x100m Montell Douglas, Jeanette Kwakye, Anyika Onuora, Abi Oyepitan, Asha Philip, Tiffany Offili-Porter, Laura Turner

4x400m Eilidh Child, Lee McConnell, Jenny Meadows, Christine Ohuruogu, Marilyn Okoro, Nadine Okyere, Nicola Sanders, Perri Shakes-Drayton

Marathon (team) Alyson Dixon, Susan Partridge

Nicola Sanders has come to snatch a dramatic late individual place for Daegu as she won the women’s 400m in a SB of 51.84 secs at Nivone (Belgium) earlier on to secure that necessary second B standard.

Following a rather forced late start to the season, the former World silver medalist didn’t really get going into the season until the international meeting of Barcelona two weeks ago, where she carved out her first B standard of 51.94 secs for sixth behind winner Christine Ohuruogu to draw into contention in the qualifying battle.

However, her plans at the UK Trials didn’t come off last weekend which meant that she had to go for broke in a last-ditch attempt, with her cause made even more difficult since she was, along with relay hopeful Kelly Sotherton, forced to scrape a race abroad – London Grand Prix organisers didn’t think fit to afford her a lane in the women’s 400m affair, or even lay on a second national heat come to that. But, thankfully, everything came out well in the end and she is going to have the opportunity to re-establish herself on the big stage.

She owes much, however, to Lee McConnell who didn’t rest on her multible B marks to qualify but tore it up to a big SB of 51.01 secs a little earlier on at Crystal Palace, gaining the A standard and a big mental boost herself.

There was even more drama behind Sanders as Nadine Okyere carved out a crucial last-gasp big PB of 52.26 secs, her previous best of 52.66 set in Geneva earlier this season, that could steal her a relay place at the death ahead of Sotherton, who unfortunately had to pull up 100m out with a hamstring injury. Hopefully, it won’t turn a serious one for the former heptathlon Olympic medalist.

US-based Lennie Waite ‘chased a B qualifying standard of 9:49.67 for runner-up over the barriers but rather too late as Eilish McColgan had turned in a new Scottish and UK U23 record of 9:44.80 at the Palace, yet could still serve as a banker for the Olympic season, while James Campbell‘s bid for a second B in the javelin ended in frustration as he got injured in his third effort and had to pull out with a best of 71.95m on the day.

Results

http://servnetsport.be/2011/rasschaert/schedule.html

At the International EAP meeting in Amsterdam in neighbouring Holland, Conrad Williams comfortably won the 400m in a SB and meeting record of 45.63 secs from Frenchman Teddy Venel, second in 46.16 secs, that was also inside the B qualifying standard for Daegu to reignite his bid for a place in the British long relay.

Emily Diamond, a 200m finalist at the World U20 Championships in Moncton last summer, was second and third in the 200 and 100m in 11.92 (-0.3m/sec) and 23.94 (-0.9m/sec) respectively, both won by Jamaican Simone Facey, while Merwyn Luckwell never hit his rhythm to wind up below 70m in the men’s javelin.

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.

While most British eyes were set on Lisa Dobriskey‘s efforts in Monaco on Friday night, Hannah England stepped out of the shadow of the world silver medalist to turn in a stunning display that saw her storm down the home straight to third place from a qualify field in a world class PB of 4:01.89 in the 1500m in distant Barcelona.

Even the most enterprising script writers would have hardly come up with such a turn in the plot of the qualifying tussle for places in Daegu and maybe even Hannah herself may have not envisaged emerging as such a revelation at the far end of her venture, yet it was an assured and inspired performance every step of the way from a new-look athlete that asserted herself with confidence into the race.

Even the lack of tactical awareness of the past wasn’t there and in that stead was a performer who knew what she wanted all along, was getting into the right positions at the right times and built up beautifully round the last lap to set up that flowing finish past World U20 champion Mercy Cherono (KEN, 4:02.31) and Mimi Gelete (BRN, 4:03.16) in the late stages, also claiming the scalp of European champion Nuria Hernandez (ESP, 4:04.64).

Her new mark saw her storm the top of the British rankings this season, moving up to 12th in the respective all-time lists and 10th in the world on top, and she will be heading to Birmingham as favourite to clinch the UK title against mainly Dobriskey, who also grabbed the A qualifying standard in a SB of 4:04.76 on the same night. England’s previous best, incidentally, stood to 4:04.29 set in Monaco two years ago.

Winner of that fast affair in Barcelona was Russian Ekaterina Gorbunova, rather surprisingly missing from the concurrent Russian Championships, in a huge PB of 4:01.02 to edge out Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez, who set 4:01.50.

The women’s 400m turning-point…

Fate would have it that the race that may shape the turnround of fortunes in the heavily-decorated women’s 400m be staged in the Catalan capital rather than a British venue with all three top contenders out to make a point.

Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu on the back of a thin racing season without yet breaking even 53 secs on the way; former world silver medalist Nicola Sanders aiming to boost her footing on the track following a few lower-key races in the 52 secs province; and Lee McConnell hoping to return on the domestic top of the event after years.

The final outcome handed smiles all around as Ohuguogu edged victory in a huge SB of 51.49 secs, creeping inside the A standard, to make plenty of ground on her global rivals, McConnell came third in 51.70 secs just behind Olga Topilskaya (RUS), 51.68 secs, and Sanders knocked a chunk off her SB into 51.94 secs earning her a first B standard for Daegu – the look on her face at the end said it all.

And suddenly, with Shana Cox awaiting to test them at the Trials in Birmingham, the event comes alive again and hope of a return to the centre of affairs on the global scene is rekindled.

A new beginning…

The Catalonian meeting also turned a happy ground for Kate Dennison who soared over a new PB of 4.61m in the pole vault, at the first time of asking at that, to shrug off a long tough building-from-scratch spell and get back on track to fulfil her potential – her perseverance has paid off and she can now look up to greater heights.

Cuban Yarisley Silva prevailed with a second-time new national record of 4.66m while Nikol Kyriakopoulou (GRE) was third at 4.50m.

Turner comes out a surprise winner

European champion Andy Turner stretched his impressive string of results to stage an upset on world record holder Dayron Robles, who pulled up midway through as he went off balance to draw well inside the adjacent lane.

Relentless in his pursuit, Turner swiftly seized the lead and kept his form nicely all the way to cross the line top in 13.33 secs (-0.2m/sec) ahead of three Americans, Joel Brown (13.40), Omo Osaghae (13.58) and Daegu-bound Jason Richardson (13.65), to gain a substantial confidence boost.

On the downside…

The flurry of top quality British performances on Friday night unfortunately didn’t rub off on Andy Baddeley who suffered another below par outing and this time simply dragged home way behind in last in 3:46.56 to raise further questions over his form. Time is running out fast and the Beijing finalist doesn’t look like making any progress at all…

Turk Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, apparently of Kenyan origins, came away with a very notable narrowest win in a national record of 3:32.94 ahead of Kenyan Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, a mere hundredth behind, and Spaniard Diego Ruiz in 3:33.18, a PB.

Zersenay Tadesse (ERI) joined in the chorus of sub 13 mins timings led by Mo Farah in Monaco to edge inside in 12:59.32 in the 5000m, American Geena Gall snatched a shocking upset over new Cuban star Yuneisi Santiusti by a mere 0.02 secs in the women’s 800m (2:01.06 to 2:01.08) and Jamaican Steve Mullings powered to a runway victory in 20.17 secs into a -1.0m/sec headwind over the 200m in other highlights of the meeting.

Results

http://resultados.rfea.es/2011/resultados/airelibre/barcelona/ATS158A_ATXXXXXXXXXXXXCAT_date=2011-07-22.htm