Andrew Pozzi (coach: Benke Blomkvist) put on a show for the packed crowd on day one of the British Indoor Team Trials in Sheffield as he took the 60m hurdles crown, having equalled the world lead and broken the stadium record earlier in the day.
Having run 7.44 in the heats all eyes were on the Olympic Games fifth placer in the final, and he delivered when it mattered to cross the line in 7.51, a clear winner.
Post-race Pozzi said: “I was slow to get going in that final; I didn’t get into my stride until hurdle three – maybe that was down to being sat in the blocks for what seemed a little while after the DQ.
“I‘m really happy with the times I’ve put together today, now the main aim is to try and win the championships in Belgrade. I’ve got the quick times under my belt, so it’s about reproducing that type of form come the championships.”
Second fastest qualifier David Omoregie (Blomkvist) and Edirin Okoro (Jerzy Maciukiewicz) were both disqualified for false starts at the first time of asking. In the end David King (James Hillier) kept his composure to take silver in 7.76, with Jake Porter (Andy Paul) bagging a bronze medal and personal best of 7.86.
In the men’s 60m final Andrew Robertson (Blomkvist) surprised everyone but himself as he stormed to his first British title in a final that was full of drama. With a star-studded line-up Robertson was cool, calm and collected through each of the three rounds and was a deserved winner as he stopped the clock at 6.57.
“It was a tricky field out there for that final; obviously everyone has been on their game too, so the only thing I could do was make sure I controlled myself and delivered what I needed to. My confidence is high and I feel like I’m in a good place too, so hopefully there’s a lot more to come.
“The aim for European Indoors is to win it of course; I don’t want to be over there to make the numbers up and I think that time today has put me second or third on the rankings and I don’t even feel like that was me at my best. Hopefully I can continue to progress and show I have that bit more in the tank.”
Behind him there was an almighty battle for the minor medals, which was thrown wide open when Richard Kilty (Michael Khmel) was disqualified for a false start. In the end it was the diminutive but powerful Theo Etienne (Ryan Freckleton) who bagged silver in a European Championship qualifying mark of 6.59, which means he and Robertson are both guaranteed a place on the team for Belgrade.
Saving his best run of the season until the final, seasoned campaigner Dwain Chambers produced a 6.62 time to bag the bronze.
Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) secured her fourth British Indoor title with a silky smooth run in the women’s 60m, pulling well clear of her opposition to record a 7.19 time. The favourite on paper and through the rounds, Philip was marginally outside her season’s best in the final and will now head to the European Indoor Championships in pursuit of a medal.
“I am really pleased with my times today – I’ve hit everything that I wanted to do. Me and my coach discussed times which we wanted for each round and I hit every single one, so I am pleased with how I have raced throughout the day.
On her ambitions for the European Indoor Championships Philip added:
“I want a medal – I say I don’t care what colour I want but obviously I’d love the gold. No one wants to be second best. I’m good enough to do it so that will be my target.”
Silver medal went to youngster Shannon Hylton (Freckleton) in 7.38m, whilst Rachel Miller (Gary Telfer) got thebronze.
In a straight final, Shelyana Oskan-Clark (Jon Bigg) was rewarded for her front running efforts with her first British Indoor 800m title, having finished second on two previous occasions. Immediately taking up the running she was never ascended, crossing the line in 2.03.54, clear of Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow) the silver medallist.
“I’m really happy to add the indoor (British) title to the outdoor one from last year. I’m not too happy with the time but that will come in my next few races. I dug myself out of a hole because I wasn’t very happy with my performance last week so this was an improvement.”
After a thrilling contest in the field, the women’s high jump ended with joint gold medallists, as Morgan Lake (Aston Moore) and Bethan Partridge (Fuzz Caan) couldn’t be separated. The pair had first time clearances all the way up to the 1.86m, before both women took two attempts to get over 1.89m. That turned out to be as high as they went, as they agreed to share the spoils.
Lake said post-competition: “It is nice to share the podium with my training partner and I am fairly pleased with my series. I’m happy I got the qualifying standard last week, it took the pressure off today’s competition so I knew what I had to achieve on the day.”
Partridge added: “I am so happy – that is a PB indoor & outdoor so it couldn’t have gone much better. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get the next height as I was close. I think it was because my clearance for 1.89m was so good, I thought I could have made 1.92m. I obviously look at that because 1.92m would have qualified me for the Europeans! I’ve got another competition next week in Birmingham so hopefully next time I will clear it.”
The women’s 3000m turned out to be as close as some of the 60m races, with Eilish McColgan (Liz McColgan) passing her fellow Scot Steph Twell (Mick Woods) just metres before the line to take the British title.
After a pedestrian first kilometre the pace got gradually quicker and quicker, with Twell eventually taking up the running inside the final 800m. Twell’s brave effort looked as though it had done enough for victory, but McColgan had other ideas, digging deep over the final 200m to peg her back and squeeze through for victory just strides from the line.
“To be honest I thought the race was going to go off at three minutes steady, but it didn’t, which shocked me. It was a very slow first one kilometre but I was confident in my kick at the end and I felt strong over the course of the race. I have the qualifying time from outdoors so I knew in the back of my head that I just needed to finish in the top two. I’ve got another opportunity at the Indoor Grand Prix to run a fast time next week – that’s where I’ll go for a PB, but today was all about going for the win.”
“It was frustrating to lose first place in the final few metres but that is how it goes sometimes. I know I can put in the work between now in the Europeans to make improvements to that performance.”
There was perhaps a surprise winner in the women’s pole vault as Jade Ive won her first British title, getting the better of favourite Sally Peake (Scott Simpson). Ive, who came into the competition with a lifetime best of 4.20m set just last month, cleared 4.26m at the second time of asking to secure victory, before going on to clear further personal best heights of 4.31m and 4.35m and go sixth on the UK all-time list.
“I can’t believe what’s just happened; to get three PBs in one competition is just unbelievable – I’m ecstatic.”
Nathan Fox (Tosin Oke) wrapped up the first British title of the weekend, needing just one effort to win the men’s triple jump in 16.53m.
“It feels good to win here for the third time in a row. However, it is bittersweet. That was an indoor personal best but was 17cm off the European Indoor Championship qualification standard which I was hoping to jump. I felt like I had it in me today.”
Meanwhile in the other horizontal jump Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh) left it to his sixth and final jump to secure his third British title, a 7.80m leap stealing the title from decathlete Ashley Bryant (Moore) who finished on 7.71m. There was also a 7.70m from Dan Gardiner (John Crotty) in round six to make certain of bronze.
The last final of the day was the women’s shot put, a penultimate round 17.43m saw Rachel Wallader (Richard Woodhall) take the title ahead of Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch) who threw a personal best of 16.74m for silver.
In the 400m semi-finals Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) and Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt) advanced quickest for tomorrow’s finals, whilst Eilish McColgan also advanced to the 1500m final just 40 minutes after taking the 3,000m title.
A limited number of tickets are available for tomorrow, you can also watch the action live on both the BBC Sport website and the British Athletics Facebook page.
Full results can be found here: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/results/20170211_sheffield/timetable/index/index.html
You can also join in the conversation on Twitter at @BritAthletics using the hashtag #IndoorTeamTrials