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Norwich Union World Trials & UK Championships

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A thrilling victory by Marlon Devonish, a splendid double from Jessica Ennis and World Championships B qualifying guideline marks by Dale Garland, Steve Lewis and Katrina Wootton were the highlights of the second day’s action at the Norwich Union World Trials and UK Championships at the Manchester Regional Arena on Saturday.


Perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated event of the day was the men’s 100m.  Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva) took the gold after a race-long duel with Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes). Devonish clocked 10.31 (-2.0m/s) in chilly conditions, with Pickering just 0.01 behind.


Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers) burst through to take bronze in 10.39 ahead of Jason Gardener (Wessex & Bath) and Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies).


Afterwards, Devonish said: “It was all about positions today. The times were silly, but that was the wind. I defended my title so I am extremely happy with that.” Pickering commented: “I’m really happy to be in the top two. If I don’t go now (to Osaka) I’ll be really disappointed after that.”   


Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) season continues to gather momentum. The 21-year-old heptathlete recorded a superb 100m hurdles/high jump double.


She won the 100m hurdles in 13.25 (-2.7m/s) from Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) and Gemma Bennett (Shaftesbury Barnet), before going on to win the high jump with 1.87m from Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) and Stephanie Pywell (Sale Harriers Manchester), who both recorded bests of 1.80m.


Afterwards, she said: “Everything is going well and – for the World Championships, it will be about a PB. It will be a very tough competition but if that happens who knows?” 


A brilliant PB from Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex) grabbed him gold in the men’s pole vault. His second-attempt clearance of 5.61m was also a new stadium record and most important of all, 1cm above the B standard for IAAF World Championships.


Afterwards, he said: “That was a fantastic day at the office, it felt really good. I concentrated on making less jumps but more quality and trying not to waste jumps. The wind was a bit blustery but I had good support off the rest of the guys at Loughborough and that gave me a good result.


“For the first time this season I am really happy with the way I have jumped, which I don’t get to say very often. I knew I had a big jump in me. Hopefully I’ll get selection for the World Championships, you never know.


On collecting his bottle of Heidsieck & Co Monopole, given to every winner, he said: “My plan was to spray my bottle of champagne all over Jonathan Edwards as we were chatting in the in-field. But I thought I’d better not. I’ll save it for my friend’s wedding and celebrate then.”


In a remarkable men’s 400m hurdles final, the first five athletes all set brand new PBs.  For winner Dale Garland (Channel Islands), the timing could not have been better as he clocked 49.79, just 0.01 inside the B standard for the IAAF World Championships.


Silver and bronze went to Steve Green (Newham & Essex) and Francis Smith (Pitreavie) who clocked 50.17 and 51.02.


Katrina Wootton (Bedford & County) produced a timely PB of 4:09.56 to win the 1500m to go just 0.43 inside the World Championships B standard. Silver went to Charlene Thomas (Wakefield Harriers) who bravely stretched the field out by leading from the front, before being foiled by Wootton in the final 100m.


Bronze went to European U20 silver medallist Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District). 


There was a dramatic climax to the men’s long jump, where Chris Tomlinson (Newham & Essex) won with a final round leap of 7.99m (0.0m/s). Nathan Morgan (Birchfield Harriers) led from the first round until Tomlinson’s excellent closing effort, but was forced to settle for silver with 7.89m. Jonathan Moore (Birchfield Harriers) took bronze with 7.58m.


Tomlinson said: “I was so tired. I’ve been competing on the circuit quite a bit. But I realise I have to come here and perform and I just about did it.”


Looking to Osaka, he said: “I want to go there and do as well as I can. There are guys up there who are expected to win, but I can beat these guys.”


There was a stadium record set in the women’s javelin by the in-form Goldie Sayers (Belgrave Harriers). She spiked the turf at 63.02m to virtually seal her place for Osaka. Laura Whittingham (Sale Harriers Manchester) and Lianne Clarke (Cardiff) took the minor medals with 52.88m and 52.42m, both PB performances.


Nicola Sanders (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) looks increasingly confident as the season unfolds and she won the women’s 400m in impressive style, clocking 51.33. The 25 year-old has the A standard for Osaka and will head to Japan in good heart.


The men’s 800m was won by pre-race favourite Michael Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton) who was never seriously-threatened as he cantered home in 1:47.06. Richard Hill (Notts AC) just pipped James Brewer (Cheltenham Harriers) for silver.


Andy Turner (Sale Harriers Manchester) defended his men’s 110m hurdles title in 13.54 from Allan Scott (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Will Sharman (Belgrave Harriers), who clocked 13.78 and 13.98 respectively.  Turner has the A standard for the World Championships and looks well set for Osaka.


Afterwards, he said. “It’s nice to win again. I am pleased to get the victory after tearing my hamstring at the European Cup. I know I’m in great shape. When I get to Osaka I’m confident I can do a lot better.”


Elsewhere, Andy Frost (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) won the men’s hammer for the third successive years with a season’s best of 71.02m. Mike Floyd (Sale Harriers Manchester) and Simon Bown (Newham & Essex) took the silver and bronze medals with 67.16m and 66.82m respectively.


In the women’s hammer, Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers) took gold with 64.99m, Shirley Webb (Trafford) produced a season’s best of 63.46m for silver, with Laura Douglas (Sale Harriers Manchester) taking bronze with 61.88m.   


In the men’s discus, Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green & Esses Ladies) also completed a hat-trick of titles, winning with a third-round throw of 60.83m.  Abdul Buhan (Newham & Essex) and Matthew Brown (Enfield & Haringey) took silver and bronze with 56.87m and 53.41m respectively.


Carl Myerscough (Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde) won the men’s shot with a best of 19.39m. Emeka Udechuku (Woodford green & Essex Ladies) took silver with 17.87m, with Kieren Kelly (Sale Harriers Manchester) grabbing bronze with 17.09m.


The tightest finish of the day came in the women’s 100m final, won by Jeanette Kwayke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) from Laura Turner (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) in a photo-finish after both were timed at 11.59. Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) took bronze with 11.68.


Also on the track, Andrew Steele (Trafford AC) and Richard Buck (City of York) were winners in the men’s 400m semi finals to lead the qualifiers into Sunday’s final.  In the women’s 800m heats, Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) qualified fastest for Sunday’s final with 2:02.03.


In the women’s 400m hurdles, Natasha Danvers-Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet) qualified fastest for Sunday’s final with 56.32. The men’s 1500m saw Andy Baddeley (Harrow AC) and Nick McCormick (Morpeth Harriers) progress as heat winners to Sunday’s final.


For full results, click here.