Olympic bronze medallist set for Gothenburg after jumping 2.31m on day two of the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships
Robbie Grabarz booked his European indoors spot on Sunday and should head to Gothenburg full of confidence after a dominant display in the high jump at the EIS in Sheffield.
Having won the competition after only two jumps, the 25-year-old continued to equal the stadium record of 2.31m and, with the title secured, went on with records in mind.
Although close on his final attempt, the Olympic bronze medallist couldn’t clear the national record and world-leading height of 2.39m, however he was still a comfortable winner ahead of Allan Smith and 2011 winner Tom Parsons, who both cleared 2.22m.
Speaking afterward, Grabarz said: “I’ve never had the indoor title so that was my target today and then come in and try to get the world lead. It wasn’t too bad but I was just running too fast so it was the same story as always. It was only my second competition so to be jumping that high is pretty good.
“I’m ready to try and break the record. I’ve been training hard, I’ve not done too many competitions indoors so I know that when I come out I’m ready to go and today showed that.”
A total of 13 athletes have earned automatic places for next month’s European Indoor Championships over these two days of action, in which athletes placing in the first two with the UKA qualifying standard guarantee themselves a place on the team.
Olympic semi-finalist Nigel Levine dominated the final event of the day, the 2012 winner finishing ahead of Richard Strachan in the 400m to cross the line in 46.73, although both are set to join Grabarz in Sweden.
Eilidh Child (400m), Shana Cox (400m), Laura Muir (1500m), Steve Lewis (pole vault) and Yamile Aldama (triple jump) also join yesterday’s automatic qualifiers – Holly Bleasdale (pole vault), Asha Philip (60m), James Dasaolu (60m), Harry Aikines-Ayreetey (60m) and Chris Tomlinson (long jump).
Child’s comfortable victory in the 400m saw her secure her first UK indoor title, a feat she later admitted she was “over the moon” with.
“I’ve had so many silvers at UK Championships before so it’s great to finally get a gold,” said Child, who crossed the line in 52.13 ahead of Cox (52.97) and Meghan Beesley (53.15).
Muir demonstrated a superb change of pace over the last 400m to take the 1500m title in 4:13.59. The Dundee athlete, who has been showing a great deal of promise of late and went into today’s race off the back of a 4:12.39 PB set in Vienna at the end of January, was followed home by Rosie Clarke (4:17.09 PB) and Melissa Courtney (4:17.57 PB).
The men’s pole vault final saw Lewis attempt 5.70m but, despite failing to clear that, he claimed victory with 5.50m ahead of Luke Cutts (5.35m) and Matt Devereux, who cleared a PB of 5.20.
Aldama retained her triple jump title with 13.44m and, although she later admitted she wasn’t happy with the distance, it’s a promising result following the surgery she had at the end of September.
Elsewhere, Matt Fayers put himself forward as one to watch as he demonstrated a great final straight run to take the men’s 1500m in an indoor PB of 3:47.77. In the closing stages of the race it seemed as though the top spot would go to Lee Emanuel or Charlie Grice, with both athletes neck and neck as the line came into sight, but it was 18-year-old Fayers who made it home first.
Speaking afterwards, Fayers admitted his surprise at the victory, saying: “I wasn’t expecting that. I was just pleased to make the final.”
Scott Rider won the first gold of day two, his indoor PB of 18.59m enough to secure him the shot put title and equal the UK 2013 lead. Zane Duquemin’s PB of 18.50 saw him place second, while 18.36 from Rimantas Martisauskas was enough for third.
“I’m pleased to have thrown a PB in my first throw of the year,” said Rider “This is my third national (indoor) title in a row and my fourth overall.”
Margaret Adeoye won the women’s 200m in 23.22, while Christine Ohuruogu looked happy to cross the line second in 23.58, a time not too far outside her indoor PB of 23.41 set in 2008. Chris Clarke comfortably took top spot in the men’s 200m, securing a PB of 20.96 in the process.
A strong final 50m from Ireland’s Claire Tarplee in the women’s 800m secured her the win in a 2:03.66 PB. Alison Leonard followed in 2:03.88 while Dawn Hunt finished third in 2:05.39. Marilyn Okoro, who had set off powerfully, dropped out with the line in sight.
The men’s 800m was another tight affair, with Mukhtar Mohammed and Joe Thomas both stride for stride over the last 300m. Dipping for the line, Thomas took the win in 1:48.55 ahead of Mohammed who recorded the same time.
Lauren Howarth destroyed both the field and her PB in the 3000m, crossing the line in 8:56.46 to take almost 15 seconds off her personal best. Jess Judd led for much of the race, but had to settle for third after Howarth surged in the final 800m, knocking Stewart into second. Judd’s 9:14.71 is the fastest indoor performance by a British junior since 1985.
Irish Olympic 100m hurdles semi-finalist Derval O’Rourke claimed the 60m hurdles win as a guest with an 8.11 season’s best ahead of Sarah Claxton, who clocked 8.16 to win the UK title, while Yasmin Miller crossed the line in 8.25 for a British indoor age-17 best.
Dominique Blaize took the long jump win with a 6.29m season’s best ahead of Jade Surman who leapt to a 6.19m PB.
» Find full in-depth coverage of the action in Sheffield in this week’s AW, out Feb 14. Click here for full results.