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hughes impresses on first day of sainsbury's british championships

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Zharnel Hughes
03 July 2015 

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In the first day of action at the Sainsbury’s British Championships, it was Zharnel Hughes (coach: Glen Mills club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) that produced the performance of the evening as he successfully navigated his way through to the 200m final.

Hughes, who eased down with 50 metres to go clocked an impressive 20.55 and will head into tomorrow’s final as one of the leading contenders for the British crown.

Afterwards the 19 year old said: “It was a great race for me. I just listened to what my coach told me – execute the race and have fun. That’s what I did and I stayed relaxed.

“Hopefully tomorrow and will go out and win that British title. I’m not so worried about winning but I want to execute my race well but bringing in the win would be great for me. This is the first time I have run in England and the experience has been great so far. Tomorrow the stands will be flooded with fans so I am really looking forward to that. I’ll go back home now to relax and just chill out.”  

James Ellington (Linford Christie, Newham & Essex Beagles), who like Hughes holds the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard took first place in heat one, while Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins, Birchfield Harriers) gave his home club a big cheer as he won the third and final heat in 20.74.

Five 400m heats were contested as the sun set on Alexander Stadium with many athletes booking their spots in the semi-finals.

European champion Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider, Croydon) faced a battle with Michael Bingham (George Williams, Birchfield Harriers) in the third heat of the evening before both qualified for tomorrow’s semi-final. After posting a time of 46.90, he was happy to be back out racing after a stint of training in the Netherlands.

Rooney said: “It was really nice to race against Bingham today, we’ve had some great battles over the years and he really put me under pressure at the start. It was a bit windier than I thought it would be, very strong on the top bend.

“It was nice to get it out of the way and get ready for tomorrow now. I want to get the win (this weekend) and get some more races in.”

The men’s 400m is one of the highlights of the Championships with many athletes setting personal bests this season as they battle for places on the plane to Beijing. Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt, Birchfield Harriers), Nigel Levine (Linford Christie, WSEH), Andrew Steele (Chris Zah, Trafford) and Conrad Williams (Linford Christie, Kent) were just some of the names to make it through with Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams, Newham & Essex Beagles) particularly confident as they prepare to battle it out to be crowned British champion this weekend.

Yousif commented: “This is the time to come and save as much energy as possible. It is all about making the team for Beijing. I’m in good shape, the shape of my life and I’m ready for the challenge. I’ve never run this quick at this time of the season before.”

On the strong field he will face this weekend, he said: “It is tough, I’m tough and this is an event for the tough people.”            

In the women’s 200m Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan, Enfield & Haringey) cruised through to the final clocking 23.45, while in the second heat it was Louise Bloor (Toni Minichiello, City of Sheffield) who pipped UK number two Margaret Adeoye (Christie, Enfield & Haringey) on the line by one hundredth of a second finishing in 23.65.

Club:Connect, the British Athletics initiative to reward and recognise the work of clubs, kicked off proceedings this evening with local club Birchfield Harriers and Halesowen AC each securing three victories each and £750, which will be invested back into their respective clubs.  

Day two of the Sainsbury's British Championships kick off tomorrow at 12pm and you can still purchase tickets on the day from the ticket office at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium