Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix,Birmingham,Saturday 21st February 2015

The roof of the newly renovated Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham was very nearly blown into the air and sent skywards scattering into pieces over Wolverhampton and Coventry from the huge roars of the crowd as the headline act Mo Farah brought the perfect ending to a top afternoon of International Indoor Athletics with plenty other British athletes getting on the scoreboard too.

In a time of 8.03.40 he was setting a new Indoor World Record in the Men’s Two Miles and finally giving him one of the few things missing from this stellar career on the track,Mo was over ten seconds ahead of Kenyan runner up Paul Kipsiele Koech in 8.13.46 and third was the veteran Bernard Lagat.

It was a solid piece of running here by Mo Farah,he looked supremely confident coming into this race and this will be a huge springboard for the year ahead

The performance diverted the attention from the online social media argument that Mo had been having with Andy Vernon,thankfully the crowd concentrated on the race and Mo should now be ready for the busy summer season.

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Other British success came from Wigan’s popular ‘Pocket Rocket’ Jenny Meadows who continues in fine form this winter in the 800m, taking over from halfway after pace setter Leah Barrow moved aside Jenny put them to the sword and never looked like being overtaken,winning in 2.01.25 as she heads off to Prague next month for the European Indoors.

Greg Rutherford produced an amazing final jump in an intriguing Men’s Long Jump, In the fifth round Chinese athlete Xinglong Gao took the lead when he lept 8.12m but on the last jump in the sixth and final round Rutherford with the aid of the crowd got the prize when going 8.17m to produce a real grandstand finish.

It was a weird event though,amazingly in the second round we had five jumps out of the eight that took part,Even Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have seen the red flag waved in the air that many times!

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In the Women’s Long Jump we saw the new star of track and field Katarina Johnson-Thompson fly through the air in round three to make the distance of 6.93m,A new national record,out of everybody else’s reach and she is going to be a force to be reckoned with even more this year in the Heptathlon.

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Nigel Levine won the Men’s 400m race with a seasons best of 46.43s, he just held off the late challenge of Jarryd Dunn and Bershawn Jackson then straight after that in the Men’s 800m an easy piece of running by Kenya’s Jeremiah Mutai saw him win in 1.45.93.

An intriguing Women’s 3000m race saw Laura Muir get the British qualifying time for next months European Indoors,despite coming in sixth place it was enough to secure her place on the plane to Prague, In a race which saw four set PB’s and two set SB’s the eventual victor was Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi in 8.46.61 who just hung on from Ethiopian Senbere Teferi in 8.46.84, Of the other British girls in this race Steph Twell,Jessica Judd and Emelia Gorecka were all in the rear group and struggled to land a blow, they are all much better than this given Jess Judd and Emelia Gorecka’s exploits out in the Cross Country this winter.

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Seren Bundy-Davies won the Women’s 400m, Her time of 51.72 was a PB and gives her every chance in Prague.

The Men’s 1500m was taken by Kenya’s Vincent Kibet although the judge needed to look at the photo to separate him from fellow Kenyan Bethwell Bergen as the both recorded times of 3.34.91, Lee Emanuel ran the best of the Brits in sixth spot but Charlie Grice and Chris O’Hare were always stuck in the rear of the field.

The other imperial race of the day,the Women’s Mile went to Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye, in a rousing finish she managed to hold off the American athlete Shannon Rowbury with times of 4.23.50 and 4.24.12, GB had a few in this, Adella Tracey was employed to set the pace and along with Hannah England who was always struggling,both didn’t finish and Melissa Courntey and Alison Leonard were always in the second group.

Allan Smith won the Men’s High Jump despite five all completing 2.26m he got the prize due to being the only one who cleared each height with his first attempt.

In the sprint races the USA’s Shakira Nelvis won the 60m hurdles in 7.87, Tiffany Porter could only get fourth while Kevin Craddock made it a USA double in the Men’s 60m hurdles in 7.58 which was also a SB.

On the 60m flat Murielle Ahoure landed the spoils in a race which was won in 7.10 but was so tight that the last placed athlete in eighth,Rachel Johncock recorded a time of 7.29 which booked her ticket to Prague too.

The Men’s race was full of incident as two blatantly obvious disqualifications went to both Daniel Bailey and Michael Rogers, when the race finally got off it was a case of Kim Collins rolling back the years,his 6.50s just got him the first prize from Britain’s Chijindu Ujah in 6.55s.

Before the main action we had a six race competition in the Club:Connect series with some 4x200m relay races for U13,15 and 17s both for Men and Women athletes, Halesowen won four of the race and Birchfield Harriers won the other two,both had athletes with plenty of promise on display although the first race for U13 boys went badly wrong when the second set of runners didn’t come out on to the track so we needed a restart after they had a chance to draw breath.

A well organised afternoon of top quality indoor athletics with a new World Record,and the present and future of British talent showed what a top stable Team GB has as the 2015 season kicks into gear.

Hopefully I shall get to a few more athletics events this year wether it be at the big event like this or at grassroots level.

Next Saturday all being well it will be some local football depending on what the weather decides to do in the are,Until then,thank you for reading.

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