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friday night at the Sainsbury's british championships

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The final event of the Friday evening programme was the only event with a national title on offer, and 13 men and one woman took to the start line. The men’s race went down to a last lap burn-up where Fife AC’s Andrew Lemoncello edged out Keith Gerrard (coach: Art Acevedo) and Scott Overall (Robert Chapman), to take victory in 29.28.72. Inevitably Alyson Dixon took the women’s title, and she put in a brave solo effort, recording a time of 34.46.75.

The men’s 100m heats kicked off Friday night’s proceedings at the Sainsbury’s British Championships, and the conditions couldn’t have been much better; warm with a legal following wind. James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) was the first man across the finish line, winning heat one at a canter in 10.31. There were no major upsets, with Aidan Syers, Joel Fearon (Michael Khmel), Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie), Harry Aikines-Areetey (Rana Reider)and Dwain Chambers (Reider) all winning their respective heats. It was Chambers who looked the most impressive though, powering to a 10.06 season’s best, which is also a British Athletics World Championship ‘A’ standard.

The women’s 100m followed on where the men’s event left off, with Annabelle Lewis (Roger Walters) running a big lifetime best of 11.36 to take victory in heat one. In fact the first four in that heat ran personal bests, including reigning IAAF World Youth 200m champion Desiree Henry (Stanley Madiri) who finished second in 11.55. Also progressing to tomorrow’s semi-finals were Montell Douglas (Daniel Naphtali) and Laura Turner who shared the same time (11.53), as well as Hayley Jones (Donald Moss) who won heat three. The round finished as it began, with Asha Phillip (Christine Bowmaker) clocking a new personal best of 11.34 to take the win.

The men’s 400mH was next on track, and World Champion Dai Greene (Malcom Arnold) made light work of heat two, as did Welsh compatriot Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) in heat one. Whilst in the flat 400m, the men with the World Championship B standard, Michael Bingham (George Harrison), Richard Strachan (Christie) and Nigel Levine (Christie) all progressed safely to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

The women’s 400m went very much to script, with Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) taking a convincing victory in heat one, clocking 51.47. She will be joined in the final by little sister Victoria (Cowan) who finished second in heat two, behind Margaret Adeoye (Christie), with both women setting personal bests of 52.21 and 53.98 respectively. Shana Cox (Harrison) rounded out the heats with another impressive victory clocking 52.20.

In the women’s 800m, Power of 10 leader Marilyn Okoro (Johnny Gray) and European Team Championship 800m champion Jessica Judd (Rob Denmark) both advanced comfortably from their heats, as did Blackburn Harrier Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro). They all go in tomorrow’s final.

The men’s 1500m heats proved to be incredibly exciting affairs, with some fast times and blanket finishes. David Bishop (James Thie) took the first heat in 3.42.92, and it was his training partner Tom Marshall (Thie) who stole the second heat on the line from Frank Baddick (George Gandy) and Lee Emmanuel (Ronnie Warhurst). All three men clocked 3.44, separated by just five hundredths of a second. Phil Hurst (Martin Crowe) took the final heat in 3.44.70 ahead of Chris O’Hare (Steve Gulley), who eased up in the last 30 metres. O’Hare and Emmanuel are the only two men to hold the World Championship B standard.

Full results here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/results/20130612_Birmingham/timetable/index/index.html

Live coverage of day two of the Sainsbury's British Championships starts on Saturday at 2pm on BBC1.