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Final day action

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David Greene

 

27 June 2010

To view results from the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships follow this link

It was another sunny afternoon of action at the Alexander stadium for the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships, with a number of athletes addingto their count of UK titles and securing places on the Aviva GB & NI team for the Spar European Championships.

Highlights of the afternoon:

Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) took a historic fifth consecutive victory over the men’s 800m - the first athlete to achieve such a feat - and in some considerable style.

Moving ahead with ease and establishing a large gap, by 200m to go he was 15-20m clear of the battle for second and third taking place between Gareth Warburton (Daryl Maynard) and Darren St Clair.

It meant the Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton athlete achieved legendary status with his run of victories, and his win in 1:47.22 was another demonstration of his clear number one status over the two lap distance, despite suffering with illness earlier in the week:

“Five in a row is awesome; it was more relief than anything. It’s been a bit rough this week after competing in Norway so to come through that and not feel well, I’m over the moon,” he said.

“Barcelona is going to be massive! I’m in really good shape and I’m in the mix. I’m really looking forward to it and I wish it was now. I have a month to wait and a couple more races on the circuit in Lausanne and Paris then off to Barcelona.”  

In the women’s 800m final, the last event of the weekend, Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) retained her UK title with a strong performance where she took to the front at the bell and gradually pulled away down the home straight ahead of a fast finishing Vicky Griffiths - Jenny Meadows having pulled out to protect an ongoing calf niggle that had hampered her semi-final performance.

“It was a shame Jenny couldn’t be a part of the final – I hope she recovers soon,” said Simpson soon after.

“It was a little windy out there,  I wanted to run tactically and win. That was my plan. I’m off to do some speed preparation in Font Romeau now and and prepare for the European Championships”

The men’s 400m final was one of the most mouth watering prospects with a line up that shouted quality. With all eight finalists having represented the Aviva GB & NI team at some point in recent years, it was not only a battle for individual slots but a significant battle for much coveted 4x400m relay spots.

It did not disappoint with Michael Bingham (Ken Harnden) taking an early lead after taking the first 100m at short-sprint speed and leading through to 300m. It was then, however, that Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin) extended his stride and powered home for the UK National title and his second sub-45 second clocking of 2010 with 44.99.

Whilst Bingham held on for second, Kent’s Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) came through to take third in 45.76 ahead of Rob Tobin (Todd Bennett) in fourth on 45.84.

“I ran well. I think there are bits of it that weren’t amazing but I’m happy with the result,” revealed Rooney.

“I definitely think Bingham pushed me and I thought ‘Oh here we go, we’ve got a race,’ but I knew I was strong  and I just had to do my job.

“I’m pleased with sub 45 and looking forward to racing at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead.”

Another athlete who should also be considered in the mix for relay places is 400m hurdler Dave Greene (Malcolm Arnold). Against a strong UK field he was a class apart taking the national title and selection for the European Championships with a 48.77 victory against training partner Rhys Williams with 49.76. Despite his great form he revealed after he took nothing for granted when faced with such great depth of competition at his own national championship.

“The faster guys were in lanes three, four, and five so I had to make sure I got out there,” he said.

“When I got into the home straight I knew I had it but I wanted to maintain my rhythm.

“It’s always good to defend your title and I ran faster this year than last year and it’s a season best. It’s pretty windy out there but it was a very good performance, I’m very pleased.”

In the men’s 110m hurdles final, William Sharman (George Maciukiewicz) won the thrilling head to head between himself and Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) as the two could hardly be split over the ten flights of hurdles. However, Sharman took the final 20m in smooth form, and in the end, both crossed the line with A standards for Barcelona.

“I’m happy with my performance today. It’s lovely and warm but there was a headwind and that held us up a bit, but Andy and I didn’t let that get in the way of a great race,” said Sharman.

“Andy may have been second here but I still fancy him for the Europeans. I heard he was out for his fifth title and I just had to do something about that.”

Turner meanwhile was more frustrated with what he perceived as a technically bad race by his standards:

“It could’ve been anyone’s race today. William was always going to be a tough competitor and he was better today but there are a lot of good boys out there. The Europeans is the big prize and the main target. It would have been nice to win my fifth title but William came out on top.”

Another Turner had a more joyful day at the office as Laura Turner (Linford Christie) completed the sprint double having won the 100m during Saturday’s session, and then taking the win over the half lap distance this afternoon.

Turner won the race in 23.66 against a -2.5m/s headwind ahead of Elaine O Neill in second with 23.83 and the race winner was delighted with her double haul from the weekend:

“The double was the aim, but you can never expect anything, you always go in trying to win and I’m really happy I did it,” she said.

“It was too windy for the time, but I just wanted to execute the race and win it. I felt the competition coming off the bend and I really had to push hard.”

Less than an hour later, the men’s title fell to Christian Malcolm; in what was a closely fought race, the Welshman crossed the line in 20.77 ahead of Marlon Devonish (Tony Lester). Although the conditions hadn’t been conducive for fast 200m times all day, Malcolm was hoping his efforts would be noticed by selectors:

“I feel good, I’m disappointed I didn’t get the qualifying time but conditions weren’t perfect for it,” he said.

“I didn’t run a particularly good bend but I won the race.  A win is a win and I showed that I’m back now and everyone knows what happens from here on in. When I’m fit I make big steps so let’s see what happens with selections.”

The men’s 1500m race saw Andy Baddeley (Andy Hobdell) beat Colin McCourt (Craig Winrow) to the title with an impressive home straight sprint that saw race leader Tom Lancashire (Norman Poole) drop back.

“Thanks for everyone who stayed to see that race,” laughed Baddeley soon after, referencing the fact it was one of the last races of the weekend.

“I just wanted to show what I am worth today. I’m going to Barcelona now with confidence, to make the final and to challenge for medals.”

On the field, there was a great display of high-jump prowess with Martyn Bernard (Dan Pfaff) pipping Tom Parsons (Fuzz Ahmed) to the UK title, both clearing 2.28m.

With neither having achieved the A standard for the European Championships, the next week will prove essential in clearing that 2.31m guideline. And winner Bernard was eloquent in giving Parsons credit for his work:

“It’s a great event right now – there’s a lot of strength in the UK at the moment. Tom’s 2.28m was higher than mine and he’s in awesome shape. I’m looking into another competition to try and get another high bar. I just want to get on that plane for Barcelona!”

Phillips Idowu (Aston Moore) took an expected men’s triple jump victory with his only properly executed jump of the competition enough to take the title ahead of training partner Nathan Douglas in 17.10m to 17.03m.

“It’s nice to win those titles; it’s nice to confirm I’m at least one of the best in this country. I knew that one jump should be enough to get me through but we were really just working on technical aspects today, trying to get my run up right,” he revealed.

“It was really windy so it was difficult to perfect the run up when you were adjusting each round, but I came here today thinking it was another technical session and I got it done, I’m still on one piece so now onto my next competition.”

Jade Johnson (John Herbert) took the women’s long jump title with 6.48m demonstrating improving form with each competition. Still short of the qualifying standard that would see her qualify for Barcelona, she sounded upbeat after her afternoon’s work in the sunshine:

“It’s a bit up and down. It was quite fun but it was a bit windy. It blustering up and down and I kept getting tiny no jumps. The things I was working on were changing that,” she said.

“Hopefully next week will be good weather. It’s coming, it’s coming, and I’m getting better. It’s exciting being back after a year out.”

Behind her, Amy Harris, Abigail Irozuru (John Herbert) and Lorraine Ugen (Frank Attoh) all performed well with personal bests from their weekend’s work.

Chris Thompson (John Nuttall) won the men’s 5000m final in the early Sunday evening sunshine, with only Ryan McLeod and Andy Vernon (Nick Anderson) for company over the opening laps as he stretched the field out. By half way he was well clear however and gave the spectators a sight of the strength and composure that led him to a significant 10,000m time of 27:29.61 in May. His 13:48.15 looked easy as he had time to acknowledge his supporters before crossing the line over the final 100m.

“I loved every minute of that!” he beamed soon after.

“The plan was to go out , sit in for 3000m and then go at 2000m to go, but as soon as the gun went, all I can think about, was pushing the pace, it was not part of the plan but I enjoyed every minute of it.

“It feels surreal, I just wanted to come here and win it, I got in the groove and I enjoyed it.”

 

Luke Gunn (Bud Baldaro) was in superlative form taking a comprehensive win in the men’s 3000m steeplechase final. Leading straight from the gun he solo-ran his way to 8:37.35 to take the national title once again.

Another athlete who competed at last weekend’s Spar European Team Championships was Goldie Sayers  (Dan Pfaff) – and she did not disappoint, taking her eighth national title with 58.60 in swirling wind conditions on the in-field.

Apologising for not putting on a better show for the spectators, she looked almost disappointed with her historic eighth consecutive win:

“That wasn’t the way I wanted to win my eighth title. I was hoping to put on a better show than that,” she revealed.

“I jarred my hip on the second round and that was bothering me but I’ve only got myself to blame. That’s not where I’m at all. My hip is pretty sore now.

“I was hoping for something about 8m further than I managed today. It wasn’t the way I wanted to do it, I have to say.”

Other winners of UK National titles on Sunday included:

Jade Nicholls (Andy Neal) set a new personal best in the women’s discus final to take the national championship title with 57.81m. Eden Francis (Glynis Morton) who won bronze in that competition took to the field less than an hour later to take the women’s shot put title with a second round putt of 16.02m.

Belgrave’s Joe Ive showed promising form in taking the men’s pole vault title ahead of defending champion Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) with a clearance of 5.35m – beating Newham’s Max Eaves who also cleared 5.35m on countback.

In the race walk finals over 5000m, both men’s and women’s winners suffered in the stark sunshine. British record holder Jo Jackson (Andi Drake) was an expected winner of the women’s title, although last weekend’s efforts in breaking her own UK 20k walk record were felt as she finished in 21:52.95. Likewise men’s champion Alex Wright (Andi Drake) took his first ever UK title when clocking 20:11.09 for an Alexander Stadium record and made it two from two for the UKA National Race-walking Centre at Leeds Carnegie.

Freya Murray (Steve Jones) front-ran her way to a solid 5000m winning performance taking the line in 15:48.75 ahead of Laura Kenney (George Gandy) in second with 15:54.57; whilst Barbara Parker (Sean Burris) put in a good performance to take the UK 3000m steeplechase title with 9:37.77.