Two British records and one world record gave the capacity crowd plenty to cheer about on the final day of competition (Sunday 28 February) at the Indoor British Championships in Sheffield.
Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake, Tonbridge) smashed his own British record in the men’s 3,000m walk at the EIS venue, knocking 17 seconds off the mark he set just last month.
“The really serious stuff starts now,” said the 26-year-old, who clocked 10:58.21 to retain the title he won last year.
“I have got the 20km Olympic qualifying time and I want to get better and improve my PB. I want to go to the Olympics knowing that I can be up there with the best. I have been getting quicker and quicker over short distances and now I want to do it over 20km and show that I can do it internationally as well.”
There was a new British record too for Bethan Davies (Drake, Cardiff) in the women’s 3,000m walk. The 25-year-old took an impressive 26 seconds off the previous mark as she crossed the line in 12:44.99.
IPC world champion Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff) broke his own para-athletics world record with a throw of 16.14m in the men’s shot put.
Davies, who won the IPC Athletics world title in Qatar last year to add to the Paralympic shot put bronze he clinched at London 2012, added an impressive 15 centimetres on to his own mark set in Cardiff last month.
The 2015 outdoor shot put champion Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, York) saved his best until last to take the win with a personal best of 18.90m.
European champion Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider, Woodford Green) outclassed the rest of the field to take gold in the women’s 60m hurdles and secure her place on the GB & NI team bound for the IAAF World Championships in Portland, USA in March.
“I’m really happy to come away with the win but it was a bit sloppy – overall it was quite good though. I’m using Beijing (World Championships) disappointment as motivation this year. It all happened very quickly, I need to start quicker but my finish was okay.
“British hurdling is in phenomenal shape right now, I’m very happy to be pushed,” said the 2014 world bronze medallist, who beat Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell, Blackheath & Bromley) and Lucy Hatton (Jerzy Maciukiewicz, Corby) to the national title.
“Now I need to focus on the last bits of preparations for Portland – I’m racing in the Czech Republic next weekend and then I am going into the IAAF World Indoors hoping to win like I do ahead of every race.”
It was a superb day for 17-year-old Toby Harries (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix), who won the men’s 200m in 21.13, having set a new European junior indoor record of 21.12 in the semi-finals.
Harries was pushed hard all the way but a powerful finish by the teenager saw him cross the line just ahead of Ben Snaith (Graham Hedman, Enfield), who clocked 21.22, with Portugal’s David Lima in third.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be British champion, I came in to this competition as barely a junior but I thought ‘why not’ and went for it. I didn’t even think I would make the final so to get the gold medal is literally breath-taking,” said Harries.
In the women’s event Louise Bloor (Tony Minichiello, Trafford) added to her 60m bronze on Saturday with victory in the 200m, clocking an impressive 23.39 personal best in the process.
Nigel Levine (Linford Christie, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) notched up an impressive sixth consecutive indoor 400m title as he led from the gun and held on in a tight finish to take the win in a season’s best 48.00.
“It was very close out there today and I am very pleased to have won. The time wasn’t fast but you have to accept that a win is a win. It goes down as a record sixth win so another to add to the trophy cabinet at home,” said Levine.
Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin, Birchfield) won back the title she last held eight years ago in women’s 400m after speeding to the front on the final lap, finishing in a season’s best 53.15.
The shock of the day came as a superb final 50m by Adelle Tracey (Craig Winrow, Guildford & Godalming) meant she took the 800m title ahead of early leaders Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider, Edinburgh) and Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter, Wigan).
Sharp looked to have secured the win before fading in the final metres just as Tracey powered home, crossing the line in 2:02.99. The 22-year-old has secured automatic qualification for the World Indoor Championships – her first senior vest.
A final charge down the home straight gave Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb, Liverpool Harriers) victory in the men’s 800m in 1:51.25.
Hannah England (Bud Baldaro, Oxford) sealed her place on the GB & NI team for Portland with a win in the 1,500m – clocking 4:15.44 as she finished ahead of her training partner Alison Leonard (Baldaro, Blackburn).
“I’ve never actually won the 1,500m here in Sheffield. Every performance this year has been better than at this stage last season so am really happy and I’m enjoying my running,” said England.
“I think I’m guilty of overthinking a race plan so during this indoor season I’ve just been trying to run with my race instincts and using my experience. I thought about going earlier in the race but I felt it picking up. I thought it was a decent pace and Alison (Leonard) ran well.”
Victory in the men’s 1,500m went to Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg, Brighton Phoenix) in a season’s best 3:46.50. The defending champion hit the front with 300m to go and confirmed his automatic place on the GB & NI team having achieved the qualifying time last summer.
There was a Scottish one-two in the women’s 3,000m as Steph Twell (Mick Woods, Aldershot, Farnham & District) and Josephine Moultrie (William Parker, Victoria Park) finished first and second respectively – Twell confirming her automatic qualification for the World Indoor Championships as she finished in 8:54.99.
“I’m excited (about the prospect of racing in Portland), after my race in Glasgow (Indoor Grand Prix) I’m positive about looking towards the top 12. I want to be racing these girls which I will be coming up against in the summer and I’d like to mix it up with them. I’m confident in my training and routine at the moment so if I can execute that, I know we are going in the right direction,” said Twell.
In a thrilling high jump competition it was Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran, Sale Harriers) who came out on top, clearing 2.29m to finish ahead of reigning British outdoor champion Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan, Newham & Essex Beagles) for the first time ever, as Mike Edwards (Caan, Birchfield Harriers) took bronze.
Baker, who qualifies for the World Indoor Championships, said:
“Being British champion is a brilliant feeling and a great year to do it. I always knew it was going to be a tough competition with Robbie (Grabarz) so to come out here and do it is great.
“It will be good to get the experience of a big championships at Portland. It will be all about what happens on the day. I am jumping well and learning all the time.”
European Under 23 silver medallist Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill, Stoke) took the women’s long jump title with a personal best of 6.67m, getting the better of World Indoor Tour champion Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Blackheath & Bromley) – who qualifies for Portland thanks to that Tour win.
Sineade Gutzmore (Aston Moore, Birchfield) added to the outdoor title she won last year with victory in the triple jump courtesy of a personal best hop, skip and jump of 13.35m, while local man Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox, Sheffield & Dearne) picked up his third consecutive British indoor pole vault title as he cleared 5.60m.