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Final Day of action from the Olympic Trials

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Helen Clitheroe and Barbara Parker
UK best - Clitheroe and Parker had fantastic steeplechase race

 13 July 2008


Latest results are available here


The final day of action saw some more excellent performances at the Aviva National Championships and Team GB Trials – as athletes achieved Olympic qualifying standards a-plenty and some world class performances were posted by Beijing hopefuls.



Helen Clitheroe (Preston) took the UK record with a popular victory in the women’s 3000m steeplechase – out sprinting Barbara Parker (Norwich) on the final lap for a 9.36.98 win. Parker – who took the UK record earlier this season whilst studying in the USA, competed well but could not stick with the strength of Clitheroe’s final 400m, but finished well with 9.40.10


Clitheroe, who claimed a $2500 prize for her record said: “my big improvement is my water jump – I’ve been working o that and it showed today as I made up so much time on that barrier – that’s the best I have done at that jump.”



Emily Freeman (Wakefield) nailed yet another Olympic A standard in winning the 200m ahead of Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex), but most impressive was her time of 22.92 on an afternoon of changeable wind making life difficult in the sprints. Ohuruogu came back strongly to clock 22.99 but Freeman was composed and showed the form that has taken her to repeated A standards this season.


Freeman said “It was a big relief – showed I could keep my head on in the big occasion – and winning here in Olympic year is amazing. – I need to thank my support team at Sheffield and Lea Valley for getting me here.”


There was an equally impressive men’s 200m final – with Christian Malcolm (Cardiff) taking the title ahead of Alex Nelson (Sale) in thrilling circumstances. Malcolm, who got a poor start worked the final straight in great style, overtaking Nelson to take the front spot and nail the Olympic A standard with excellent timing. His 20.52 eclipsing Nelsons 20.61 to take a popular victory.


Malcolm said: “I knew I was going to run well because I have had a good winter and I am injury free. I felt strong all weekend and it has come together at the right time – I have run a season’s best and to get the A standard is a great bonus.”


Nelson said – in reference to his sister Ashlee taking silver at the World Juniors this week: “Ashlee has been quite an inspiration this week. I thought if she’s outdone me there (he won bronze in 2006) I’m going to make sure I pull my finger out and do something about it.”


Emily Freeman and Christine Ohuruogu
Freeman triumphs in an exciting 200m battle


Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) displayed the type of form she hopes will take her to the Olympic Final this year with a superb performance in taking the 800m title ahead of Jemma Simpson. Okoro’s 1.59.81 yet another A standard was produced at the ideal moment in the Olympic Trials. Simpson’s 2.00.49 was a strong showing which might have taken the title any other year but Okoro was in superlative form.


Okoro admitted: “I’ve been dreaming of this for a long long time – it means so, so much – there have been some highs and lows but it all came together today. I had to be patient – it’s all about timing this year and I had to trust myself and my training.”


Long Jump

Jade Johnson (Herne Hill) took the long jump title in an unlucky competition where the wind changed direction almost as soon as the event started, and all competitors ended up leaping into a head wind. Her 6.30m took the title ahead of Kelly Sotherton with 6.28m


Pole Vault

Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex) was a dominant winner of the men’s pole vault, entering the competition late and progressing up to an attempt on the UK pole vault record, his first attempt of the three at 5.82m holding most promise. Although unsuccessful it looks probable that the national record will one day fall to the fearless youngster who clocked off with 5.60m ahead of Scott Simpson (Birchfield) and Luke Cutts (Dearnside) to take the national title.


Lewis said: “The plan was to go for 5.70m but that wouldn’t have proved anything so I thought it would be more exciting for the crowd if I went for the GB record – I didn’t quite get there but it’s a good sign!”



Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) won the discus with a final round throw of 59.35m to steal a last gasp victory from Abdul Buhari (Newham & Essex). Buhari took silver with his second round throw of 58.18m.



The much anticipated battle between Martyn Rooney (Croydon) and Andrew Steele (Trafford) did not materialise as Steele injured a hamstring in warm up and was forced to withdraw from the men’s 400m final. It was however still an impressive performance from Rooney in taking his first national title in 45.31 – way ahead of second placed Rob Tobin (Basingstoke) with 46.18 and the fast finishing Michael Bingham with 46.28.


Triple Jump

Phillips Idowu (Belgrave Harriers) put the triple jump title to bed with his first leap of the day – a massive 17.58 – just 1cm short of the stadium record held by Jonathan Edwards from 2001. He followed this up with a second round 17.57m to underline his world class presence to the Alexander stadium faithful lining the back straight.


He then withdrew after his third jump saying: “I just felt I had done enough today – and so I pulled out – there’s no problems.”


It did not spell the end of the competition however with a battle between Larry Achike and Nathan Douglas (Oxford) continuing to keep the crowd happy as they both managed best marks of 17.18m - Achike winning the silver medal on countback.


Tom Parsons
Local boy done good - Parsons leads the way with Olympic A standard

High Jump

There was a popular local winner in the men’s high jump – made all the more exciting by the attainment of an Olympic A standard. Tom Parsons (Birchfield Harriers) nailed 2.30m to win the national title ahead of Germaine Mason with 2.27m and Martyn Bernard (Wakefield) 2.23m. Parsons then progressed to make three decent attempts at 2.33m buoyed by the local support.


Parsons admitted: When I went over I was praying for the bar to stay on – I couldn’t get off the mat quick enough! That’s the most excited I’ve ever been – I almost got a sore throat I was shouting so hard.”



Jo Pavey (Exeter) once again was a class apart from the rest of the women’s 5000m field in winning with 15.12.55  However Hayley Yelling (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) and Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) performed strongly in taking silver and bronze with 15.38.60 and 15.54.11.


Pavey revealed she would aim for the 10,000m in Beijing stating: “the aim is to get a medal – I am still pushing out the fast times in training and enjoying my running very much.”



Tom Lancashire (Bolton) with 3.38.92 was an emphatic winner of the men’s 1500m in a race where the minor placings changed hands on several occasions in the last 50 metres.


In a race where Nick McCormick (Morpeth) did the best he could to drive on the pace, Mo Farah, Mike East, Chris Warburton and Neil Speaight all vied for contention in the closing stages. Farah finished second with 3.39.66 ahead of Chris Warburton (Notts) with 3.39.88.


Lancashire admitted: “It wasn’t the fastest race I’ve been involved with but today is about championship racing and it is all about winning.”



In the men’s 400m hurdles, Trafford’s Richard Yates set a new PB and grabbed an Olympic B standard of 49.50. Silver was won by Steve Green (Newham & Essex) in a season’s best of 50.26, and David Greene (Swansea) won bronze with 51.08.



Adam Bowden (Harrow) scored a surprise victory in the 3000m steeplechase outsprinting Andrew Lemoncello in the final 100m to clock 8.36.17. Lemoncello lost concentration and was further pipped by Luke Gunn (Derby) with 8.36.52 leaving him in an agonising third position – his time 8.36.56.


Ambulant races

In the men’s ambulant 100m, on his comeback from injury, Ben Rushgrove (City of Bath) en route to Beijing recorded a European Record (subject to ratification) in the T36 category, with a time of 12.44.  Neil Fachie (Aberdeen) took victory in the 100m, the first event for disabled athletes on Sunday afternoon, clocking 11.63. Cardiff sprinter John McFall recorded a season best of 12.81, showing great form ahead of the Paralympic Games. Whilst 17 year old Jamie Harding (Blackheath & Bromley) set a PB in 13.18.


Neil Fachie had a dominant run over the 200m to win in 23.34, with Ian Jones in second with 24.06. Paralympic Bronze medallist over 200m in Athens, Graeme Ballard (Chorley AC) clocked 25.91 seconds.


In the women’s 100m, Libby Clegg (Border Harriers/Edinburgh AC), a T12 category athlete recorded 12.80 to dominate proceedings ahead of Tracey Hinton (Cardiff), in the T11 category with 13.42. Former GB swimmer Kate Arnold (in the T46 category) finished in a time of 14.01.


5000m walk

Jo Jackson (Redcar) set a new UK best of 21.30.75 in the mixed 5000m walk. Race winner Daniel King was rewarded with a PB of 21.06.37 after taking on the pace from twin brother Dominic in the early stages of the race.



In the women’s 100m hurdles, Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) beat Sara McGreavy (Sale) and Tasha Danvers (Shaftesbury) to the title with a winning time of 13.12.



Goldie Sayers (Belgrave) took the women’s javelin title with a 14 metre victory margin – throwing 62.62m. Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield Harriers) finished her weekend’s work with 34.31 – for last place – but a decent throw for the multi eventer who has shown excellent progress this season.



Carl Myerscough (Blackpool) took his sixth successive men’s shot title with 20.15m ahead of Mark Edwards (Birchfield Harriers) 18.55m.