We highlight five events worth keeping an eye on at this weekend’s British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships in Sheffield
This weekend will see some of the country’s top track and field athletes in indoor action at the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships. The goal for many this year will be the European Indoors in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 1-3, with Holly Bleasdale and Robbie Grabarz (pictured) among the headliners in Sheffield.
The first and second eligible athletes at the trials will automatically be picked if they have attained the relevant standards since April 1, 2012, with a discretionary additional place in each event being available too (details of UKA’s selection criteria can be found here). The team will be announced following the British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix on February 16.
Here we pick out the five events we are most looking forward to following this weekend.
Former world and European indoor 60m champion Dwain Chambers has been forced to pull out of this weekend’s action due to a back problem. The 34-year-old would have been looking to build on his positive start to the season after clocking 6.58 in Glasgow, but although he would have started as favourite, recent PBs from James Dasaolu (6.60) and Sean Safo-Antwi (6.61) could still well result in a cutthroat race with some impressive times.
The women’s 60m is also set to be an exciting race. Having already produced a sub-7.3 performance in the 60m at the Birmingham Games earlier this month, Asha Philip, the fastest sprinter in the UK this winter, forms part of a strong and interesting field. The inclusion of Beijing 400m gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu and world indoor long jump bronze medallist Shara Proctor may well raise some eyebrows, with Ohuruogu also in action in the 200m on Sunday and Proctor in the field event.
British pole vault record-holder Holly Bleasdale has already made her intentions for 2013 very clear, with a vault of 4.62m in France in January followed up by a dominating clearance of 4.75m in Moscow earlier this month, the second highest jump of the year behind American Jenn Suhr’s clearance from the day before. But the 21-year-old knows consistency is key and will be eager to claim the UK title for the third successive year when she returns to the EIS Arena.
Olympic high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz is one of the stars of the weekend. The only male London 2012 medallist from Britain in action will be trying to gain the title he missed out on last year to Samson Oni. The defending champion is back too, while 2011 winner Tom Parsons is also in action.
A time of sub-7:50 will be the target in the 3000m where Andy Baddeley, Andy Vernon, Tom Humphries and James Wilkinson are among the contenders. Baddeley is one of the athletes who has met the criteria outlined above, so a first or second place finish will see him secure his spot on the GB & NI team.
Find a full list of who is in line for Gothenburg here.
» See this week’s edition of AW, out Feb 7, for a full preview of the UK Indoor Championships. For startlists and results, click here. See next week’s Athletics Weekly for full coverage of the weekend’s action.