Local pop group Duran Duran sang about Rio in the 1980s but here at the Alexandra Stadium just north of Birmingham City Centre the cream of British athletes turned out for the final day of competition in the British Championships for the elusive title of being British Champion and for a spot on that all important plane to Rio in August.
Super Sunday as it was rightly billed contained a real mix of events and something for everyone who loves track and field.
Adam Gemili and Dina Asher-Smith both took the main events of the day in the Men’s and Women’s 200m but it was right to the wire in both races,Gemili just held off Danny Talbot and Asher-Smith had to hold off the attentions of Desiree Henry, The pair run for Blackheath and Bromley and will be in the shake up come Rio winning in times of 20.44s and 23.11s
In the Men’s and Women’s 400m races Matthew Hudson-Smith took the prize in 44.86s beating Rabah Yousif Bkheir whilst Emily Diamond got the better over favourite Seren Bundy-Davies to a good reception from the crowds.
For many the feature middle distance race was the Women’s 1500m with a stellar line up of whose who.
As expected the race did go to form albeit for a few nervous opening laps as Jo Moultrie set a solid pace but got reeled back in as they approached the business end and then Laura Muir took over on the last lap and from then on it was race over as she injected some energy to win in 4.10.14 ahead of Laura Weightman in 4.11.76.
Charlie Grice had to overcome a bit of trouble in running in the Men’s race to claim victory,stuck behind three, Lee Emanuel,Tom Lancashire and Chris O’Hare on the last lap he seemed to give Lancashire a tiny push which resulted in him taking a tumble inside the last 300m,Jake Wightman tried to kick on but Grice had the measure of him to score in 3.43.41.
Shelayna Oskan-Clarke took a classy Women’s 800m race in 2.01.80s from Lynsey Sharp who she grinded down in the last 60m as Sharp began to run out of steam with Alison Leonard in third spot whilst the local club Birchfield Harriers celebrated as their very own Elliot Giles came over the top to take the Men’s version in 1.48.00s just shy of half a second ahead from Liverpool duo Jamie Webb and Michael Rimmer.
The day began with the Men’s and Women’s 5000m Walking races and just like the British Indoors in February both Bethan Davies and Tom Bosworth were the champions, Bosworth was second here behind Austrlia’s Dane Bird-Smith but as he was as only a guest it meant Tom won the gold medal.
Steph Twell took a big 21 runner field apart in the Women’s 5000m in 15.53.35s although Eilish McColgan pushed her right to the end as her career from steeplechaser to flat continues to bring about much improvement,she is certainly destined for bigger things.
Rosie Clarke from Epsom & Ewell Harriers gave Lennie Waite a beating in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase,both were always prominent and sharing the lead but Clarke had more left in the tank winning in 9.52.20s
The biggest one sided performance came from Eilidh Doyle in the Women’s 400m hurdles as she pulverised her field in 54.93s clear from Jessica Turner the runner up.
Seb Rodger came out on top in a tight Men’s race from Jack Green and Tom Burton,all three were covered by less than half a second with a winning time of 44.45s
In the Men’s 110m hurdles final after some quality heats the title went to Andrew Pozzi in 13.31s ahead of Lawrence Clarke
Jade Lally won the Women’s Discus as her final throw of 59.25m proved to be the winning one over three meters ahead of Eden Francis’ fifth round throw of 56.24.
Luke Cutts easily had the Men’s Pole Vault with his third attempt at 5.40m being 15cm clear of joint runners up Steven Lewis and Jax Thoirs
A fascinating Women’s Javelin saw Joanna Blair’s second round throw of 57.44m being the winning throw,Goldie Sayers came second with 54.98m but she wasn’t helped by getting three fouls
The Men’s Long Jump was effectively won in the first round by Daniel Gardner with 7.67m being the best but he just held on as Ifeanyi Otuonye got 7.66m on his fifth throw before red flagging in the last round,sadly it wasn’t to be for Chris Tomlinson on his final day of competition but he came a respectable fifth place.
Robbie Grabarz won the Men’s High Jump on count back in 2.26m,the same as Sale’s Chris Baker but by one less attempt.
Rachel Wallander secured the Women’s Shot Put in round four as her 16.67m throw was never caught,Sophie McKinna got closest on her last throw with 16.16m which secured her the runners up spot.
In the Men’s Hammer 75.67m proved to be enough for Shaftesbury’s Chris Bennett,he was one of only two athletes in this twelve runner field to have a 100% completion record with every throw.
Finally in a nice looking Women’s Long Jump the ever popular Jazmin Sawyers wowed the crowd with her winning leap of 6.75 metres,ten centimetres ahead of Shara Proctor,also in the field was Paralympian Stef Reid, the F44 athlete came last with 5.43m but it was her seasonal best and will have been a good stepping stone for the Paralympics as this jump back in her own company would easily be a winning one.
So the Road to Rio is in full swing,some top quality athletics today enjoyed by an appreciative crowd,whoever gets selected will have the full support of the fans from TeamGB.
Next up on here we switch to four legs for the Lancashire Oaks on Saturday,of course with the weather being all sorts it’s a case of fingers crossed!
Performance of the day from here goes to Laura Muir in the Women’s 1500m,a fine turn of foot when it mattered obliterated a top quality field.
Till next time,Goodbye