21st June 2012
Aviva 2012 Trials Day 1
22 June 2012
Despite the unseasonal weather for June the Aviva 2012 Trials began in hot fashion with the men’s 100m heats at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
Man of the moment Adam Gemili (coach: Michael Afilaka) started off proceedings cruising to a comprehensive victory in the first heat – recording the fastest qualifying time 10.28.
“I’m happy that I’ve qualified,” he said.
“I’m happy with the time too. I’m not worried about times – I’m just looking to progress to the final.”
Fellow current Olympic A standard athlete James Dasaolu (Kevin Tyler) progressed into tomorrow’s semi-final after finishing second in his heat.
Stellar names aiming for the 10.18 qualifying standard as well as a top two final finish such as Dwain Chambers, Marlon Devonish (Dan Pfaff), Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Michael Khmel), Christian Malcolm (Dan Pfaff) and Simeon Williamson all entered their names into the semi-final reckonings.
“It’s always good to get the heat out of the way, now I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I want to run fast but I’ll just have to do the best I can with the resources I’ve got and just go for it,” said Chambers.
Aikines-Aryeetey was pleased with his evening’s work.
“I prayed that I’d win my heat and I won my heat. I’m fairly confident. It’s just about securing the right race at the right time and hopefully mine will come in the final.”
In the women’s 100m heats, season best times for youngsters Jodie Williams (Mike McFarlane) and Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) ensured their places in the semi-finals. Anyika Onuora’s (Christine Bowmaker) time of 11.47 was the fastest of the five heats and she will be joined tomorrow by the likes of current 100m Olympic A standard athlete Abi Oyepitan (Tony Lester) as well as Montell Douglas and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka).
“It was a good run,” said Onuora. “I just wanted to have fun and get the first one out of the way. I felt comfortable. I’m just looking forward to the next round now.”
Williams admitted her time of 11.70 was a welcome return to the track for her this season.
“It was good. I’ve been out all season, I’ve had exams and I’ve had quite a few problems this season. That was my first race of the season so I’m happy with it – I’ve just got to build myself up.”
The men’s 400m hurdles – one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the Aviva 2012 Trials – looks set to be a final to remember on Saturday evening. Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold), Rhys Williams (Dan Pfaff), Nathan Woodward (Nick Dakin) and Jack Green (Malcolm Arnold) – who all possess the current Olympic A standard – all qualified for the final with relative ease in their heats.
“Job done and ready for the final tomorrow,” said Greene. “Hopefully it’s nicer conditions because there are a lot of good people here. I’m looking forward to racing.
“It hasn’t been a perfect start to the season but things are getting better. I’m still on track for peaking in the summer.”
Williams is eyeing a place in the top two in the final to seal his London 2012 spot.
“I want to get in that team. I want to be on the Olympic team because that’s what it’s all about.”
Reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) had no problems sealing her place in the final along with Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins), Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) and Shana Cox (Lloyd Cowan).
McConnell admitted afterwards she was relieved to get the heat out of the way and of course emerge victorious.
“I find heats very nerve-wracking so I’m quite relieved,” she revealed.
“It was a good win. I wanted to win so that I get a good lane tomorrow and that’s what I’ve done, so quite happy for tomorrow’s final.
“The 400m is a really competitive event and I’ll have to run a season’s best in order to do that. It’s going to be really difficult but that’s what I’m going to be trying to do.”
The women’s 800m qualifying went according to the form book with pre-race favourites Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola), Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) and Emma Jackson (Alan Morris) all cementing their places in the final. Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman) was the surprise package of the heats, with the Chelmsford youngster pipping Jackson to the post in the final heat.
“I’m really happy with that, it was strong,” said the 17-year-old.
“I thought the first lap was faster than it was. I just wanted to get in, that’s all I wanted to do. I’ve always dreamed of getting into the Olympic trials final so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The men’s 1500m heats saw Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) do the ‘MoBot’ as he crossed the finish line in first place in heat one. The 5000m World Champion opted to run a shorter distance at the Aviva 2012 Trials to work on his speed and the Newham and Essex Beagle paid tribute to Friday evening’s crowd.
“That was nice and comfortable – it felt good,” said Farah.
“It’s nice to see people coming out on a Friday night after work with the kids. For me tonight was just about getting a good race in and that was it.”
“It was good,” reflected Murray. “I’m looking forward to the final tomorrow. Hopefully I can step it up and we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself.”
The chilly evening was rounded off with the men’s 10,000m with Kenenisa Bekele – the defending 5000m and 10,000m Olympic Champion – winning the race in a sensational time of 27:02.59 and certainly warmed up the remaining crowd.