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UK Athletics

Craig Pickering is No.1 in the world!

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Craig Pickering Indoors

European Junior 100m Champion Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes AC) hit top speed on Saturday 21 January to thoroughly whet the appetite for next Saturday’s Norwich Union International at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall and for next Sunday’s UK Indoor City Challenge semi-final at the new Lee Valley Athletics Centre.


Warming-up for his appearance at the televised match in Glasgow, 20-year-old Pickering christened the Lee Valley track by winning the South of England 60m title in 6.56 seconds, the fastest time in the world so far this winter and within one-hundredth of a second of the fastest run by Jason Gardener throughout last winter.


“It shows I’m in very good shape at the moment,” said Pickering, who was persuaded 18 months ago by UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins to study at the University of Bath so that he could be coached by Gardener’s vastly experienced mentor, Malcolm Arnold.


“It’s all down to Malcolm,” added Pickering, who ran four rounds at Lee Valley to remind everyone what a fine championships performer he is. In round one he clocked 6.66 to knock a hundredth off the CBP clocked last year by Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers), who won the European Junior 100m silver medal behind him in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 2005. In round two, Pickering won his heat in 6.68. In the semi-finals, Pickering won again in 6.65. And then he struck gold in 6.56 with Williamson again in the silver medal position in 6.70 and Ryan Moseley (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) third in 6.74.


Pickering added: “My weakness is my start. Indoors, all the pressure is on the start. The theory is that an indoor season will stand me in good stead when we move outdoors for the summer.”


Pickering, who is due to face Gardener in the 60m at the Norwich Union International, added: “I think Jason will still run quite quick but hopefully I shall be pushing him all the way.”


Meanwhile, outdoors at Potchefstroom in South Africa, Laura Finucane (Pendle AC) clocked a storming PB of 2:02.4 in a race that she won by five seconds during a break from the warm weather training camp with other Great Britain & Northern Ireland athletes, organised by UK Athletics.


Here are some more highlights from this weekend as athletes prepare for the Norwich Union European Indoor Trials and UK Championships at Sheffield on 10-11 February and the SPAR European Indoor Championships at Birmingham on 2-4 March plus, of course, the summer season…


60m: World Junior 100m Champion Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton AC) won the Under 20 Men’s title at Lee Valley in 6.67 seconds, eight hundredths of a second faster than the CBP he ran last year. Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) followed her blistering 7.41 at the Scottish Closed Championships last weekend by winning the DM Hall Scottish title in 7.54 seconds. Laura Turner (Harrow AC) won the South of England title in 7.33, a hundredth faster than the CBP she ran 12 months ago. Kadi-Ann Thomas (Marshall Milton Keynes) was second in 7.39 and won the 200m in 24.37.


Meanwhile, Antonio Infantino (Enfield and Haringey AC) equalled Aikines-Aryeetey's CBP in winning the South Championships Under 17 title in 6.95 seconds.


400m: Steven Green (Newham and Essex Beagles) clocked 47.90 to become the first South of England Indoor Champion over the distance – because Lee Valley is the first 200m track in the territory. Chris Smith (Wirral) lowered the North of England Under 20 CBP to 49.03. Carmen Gedling (Liverpool Harriers) won the North of England Under 20 Women’s title in 57.88.


60m hurdles: Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet) sped to the Scottish title at the Kelvin Hall in 7.78, the fastest in the UK so far this winter. Richard Alleyne (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) won at Lee Valley in 7.94, a hundredth of a second quicker than the CBP run in 2003 by Duncan Malins (Newham and Essex Beagles), who was second this time in 7.98. Julie Pratt (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) won the women’s title in 8.58.


High jump: Samson Oni (Belgrave Harriers) cleared 2.25m at Lee Valley, an outright PB by 1cm and a South of England Indoor Championships Best. Adele Lassu (Sale) cleared 1.75m to win the North of England Under 20 Women’s title at the EIS Sheffield; her clubmate Stephanie Pywell cleared 1.78m while guesting at the UK Indoor City Challenge at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.


Pole vault: Ellie Spain (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) soared over 4.20m at the first attempt at Lee Valley to erase Janine Whitlock’s South of England Indoors CBP of 4.06 and get within 1cm of her outright PB. Luke Cutts (Dearnside) won the North of England Under 20 Men’s title by clearing 5.20m, within 10cm of his PB.


Triple jump: Phillips Idowu’s very first competitive leap of 2007 took him out to 16.48m, adding 20cm to the South of England CBP set by John Herbert in 1995. Julian Golley (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow) struck silver with 16.00m. Gillian Kerr (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) continued her great winter by registering a Scottish CBP of 12.85m.


  • If you are aware of any further outstanding performances, please email the details to tfrecknall@hotmail.com so that they can be added to this article.