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Ujah unstoppable on super sunday

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5 July 2015

There has been a lot of pressure on Chijindu Ujah (coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, club: Enfield & Haringey) since he broke that magical 10 second barrier last summer, but he delivered when it mattered this weekend to win his first British 100m title.

With no fewer than 22 finals on the third day of the Sainsbury's British Championships, Ujah remained focussed and got a great start, keeping his cool to move away from the field and take an impressive 10.10 (-0.6m/s) victory.

“The race was good, the preparation from all the British Athletics staff, my coach and family have helped me a lot. We focused more on preserving energy, getting to that final and executing the race well. Everyone has been telling me to keep my head. I’ve had a tough time – obviously false starting in Prague but I’ve learned from that and hopefully this will be a stepping stone towards the World Championships.

“I really wanted both the indoor and outdoor British titles this year and to come out and do both of them this year at the age of 21 is good and I can build on this now.”

James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge, Croydon) had to settle for silver with a 10.24 clocking whilst Ujah's training partner, 19 year old Ojie Edoburun (Tawiah-Dodoo, Enfield), finished like a train to get up for bronze.

Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie, Blackheath) continued to set the track alight as she has done all season, scorching to a new championship record of 11.08 (0.5m/s) as she took her first senior British title. The world junior 100m champion and British record holder looked dominant throughout the rounds, which will undoubtedly set her up well for Beijing in August.

"I am absolutely over the moon about being British Champion.  It is one of those things you always want to be but until you get out there and do it you can’t say you are.  In my first British outdoor season to get a British record is out of this world.  The sun even popped out for my final which lifted all the girls.  I have worked really really hard and am confident about my shape going forward.

"It is amazing to have booked my place on the plane.  It is a weight of my shoulders and I am happy to have done that.  I can now just enjoy the next races before the champs. I never know what I am capable of but I am just going to go out and execute my races and if that comes in the form of times that is great."  

Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan, Enfield) took her second silver medal of the championships with a 11.43 season's best, whilst bronze went to Desiree Henry (Reider, Enfield) who also clocked a season's best of 11.45 as she returns from injury.

Anyika Onuora (Reider, Liverpool Harriers) caused the upset of the day as she ran a brilliant race to take 400m glory in 51.87 ahead of Christine Ohuruogu (Christine Bowmaker, Newham & Essex Beagles). The reigning world champion could do nothing to stop Onoura, as she blasted through the first half of the race to take the lead, which she held all the way to the line.

“I’ve won the 100m, 200m and 400m British titles over the years now. It’s not been an easy transition in the past two years but I guess I’ve now found my niche. Beating the Olympic champion is amazing – I still look up to her. It’s a nice feeling to be the champion, it’s been an incredible journey and the lactic’s still a challenge for me. I think I can run 50-point soon – I can’t wait for Beijing.”

Another Olympic champion that put on a show for the crowd was Greg Rutherford (Tawiah-Dodoo, Marshall Milton Keynes) who always seems to perform under pressure. The Olympic, Commonwealth and European champion was trailing silver medallist Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh, Birchfield) at the halfway point, but produced a best jump of 8.11m in round four to win yet another British title.

“Recently, the Diamond Leagues have given me a lot of confidence – I’ve dealt with the pressure and come away with the win. I felt pretty flat out there and things weren’t going as I expected. I take my hat off to Dan Bramble because I thought he was going to beat me today. To jump and win today with another qualifying mark is great. Heading towards the World Championships I have to be a lot better and replicate what I was doing in Oslo – if I do that I think I will put myself in a position to finally win that title.”

Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed, Newham) continued his return from injury with an inspired performance to win the men's high jump. Despite a mid-competition pause due to lightning, the British record holder came back out all guns blazing to clear a season's best of 2.28m and take gold ahead of triple silver medallists Chris Kandu (Ahmed, Enfield), Mike Edwards (Ahmed, Birchfield) and David Smith (Ahmed, Shaftesbury).

“I so enjoyed jumping again closer to heights which I should be jumping. Some of the lads got put off by the weather but I was fortunate the sun came back out and I made the most of it. I’m getting close now and it is just really good fun to jump.”

It took just one jump for Shara Proctor (Reider, Birchfield) to take the women's long jump title, as she leapt to 6.86m to defeat a high quality line up. In the end the silver medal went to Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Blackheath & Bromley) who produced 6.69m with her final effort to edge out Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes, Liverpool Harriers), who managed 6.56m in her first long jump of the outdoor season.

Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold, Pitreavie) romped to victory in a two horse race against Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin, Birchfield) in the women's 400mH final. Fresh off the back of a 54.46 season's best at the European Team Championships in Russia, Child won with ease in 55.67, before commenting:

“I knew it wasn’t great conditions with the wind, so I thought if I can just execute a good solid, smooth stride pattern, I should come away with a victory, so I’m happy with that. I feel there’s a good time in there and hopefully I can drop somewhere close to my PB, if not a PB sometime soon.”

There was also success for Child's training partner Lawrence Clarke (Arnold, WSEH) as he clinched his second British title, four years after his first. Heading to Birmingham as red hot favourite, Clarke was a clear winner in 13.55.

The men's 400m was wide open coming into the final, but coming off the bend Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams, Newham) stamped his authority on proceedings, edging away to win in a hugely impressive lifetime best of 45.01 in far from perfect conditions. Silver went to the in-form Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt, Birchfield) whilst defending champion Martyn Rooney (Reider, Croydon) had to settle for bronze.

The battle of the Lauras took on a different format in 2015, unlike when it came right down to the wire in 2014. With 800m remaining the in-form Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee) sprung a surprise on the rest of the field as she threw in a huge change of pace, running a 60 second lap to break away from namesake Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth), who also moved well clear of the rest of the field. Weightman couldn't stop Muir though, with the Scot taking gold in 4.10.37 as Jess Judd (George Gandy, Chelmsford) got up for bronze. Afterwards a delighted Muir said:

“I knew Laura would be really strong over the last lap so I wanted to use my endurance. I knew that I would be only happy with winning and it’s my first British outdoor title. It’s only my third time competing here – I was last the first time and second last year so the win was really important today. I was confident but I know Laura is really strong so I couldn’t let my guard down; I want to be pushing the best in the world.”

Lynsey Sharp (Reider, Edinburgh) did exactly as she had to, securing a gun to tape 800m victory to book her spot on the plane to Beijing. Coming in as defending champion, the Scot knew she was the one to beat and she looked really strong in the closing stages, winning by a fair way in 2.02.40 from Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola, WSEH).

In the men's one lap hurdles, defending champion Niall Flannery (Dakin, Newham) did what he did last year, controlling the race all the way to take gold. No thanks to the wind, his winning time was a modest 50.16, but he won convincingly from Jack Houghton (Colin Bovell, Sheffield) and a returning Dai Greene (Blomkvist, Swansea).

There's a clear emergence of a new generation of middle distance stars at present and Kyle Langford (George Harrison, Shaftesbury) is definitely a name for the future after winning his first British senior title. He made his move with 200m to go in the 800m final and it turned out to be decisive, as he held off seven time champion Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg, Liverpool P&S), who won his 11th British championship medal in taking silver.

Meanwhile the men's 1500m came down to a last lap burn up, but defending champion Charlie Grice (Bigg, Brighton Phoenix) did what he set out to, taking gold ahead of European bronze medallist Chris O'Hare (Terrance Mahon, Edinburgh).

Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake, Tonbridge) really got the party started inside the Alexander Stadium as he walked his way into the record books. Leading from the gun, the charismatic 25 year old set a new British record of 19.00.73, which was also a championship best performance and a stadium record.

Steph Twell (Mick Woods, AFD) continued to take strides back towards her very best form as she ran a brilliant last lap to win the women's 5000m ahead of her Glasgow 2014 teammate Laura Whittle (George Gandy, Sutton Coldfield). With all other action suspended due to lightning striking the duo broke clear with 600m to go, but it was Twell who finished strongest to with by three seconds.

Commonwealth Games pole vault champion Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff, Newham) added another British title to his collection thanks to a first time clearance at 5.35m, whilst Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, York) produced a massive lifetime best of 18.54m to win the shot put.

Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson, Blackburn) produced a championship record of 71.10m to win the women's hammer from Sarah Holt (John Pearson, Sale) who threw a season's best of 66.68m for second. In the women's javelin the medallists were separated by just 24cm as Loughborough University student Izzy Jeffs (David Parker, North Devon) took gold in just her first competition of the year.

Kicking off the programme on the track and in the field, there were British titles for Brett Morse (Nigel Bevan, Cardiff) in the men's discus and Jo Atkinson (Maureen Jackson, Middlesborough) in the women's 5,000m race walk.

For full results please visit: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/results/20150703_Birmingham/timetable/index/index.html