Olympic Trials preview – women’s track

A look ahead to the women’s track events at this weekend’s Olympic Trials in Birmingham

Marilyn Okoro (Mark Shearman)

Aviva 2012 Trials – Birmingham, June 22-24

BBC 2 & online, Saturday June 23: 16:45-18:30.
Sunday June 24: 17:00-19:00.
Timetable and live results


UK rankings. A standard – 11.29. B standard – 11.38.
Heats: Fri 18:00. Semis: Sat 15:05. Final: Sat 17:33.

The standard of this event has been disappointing as only three athletes have claimed the Olympic qualifying standards this year. Jeanette Kwakye’s early-season momentum has been stunted by an Achilles injury and the Olympic finalist has been forced to miss the Trials. European junior champion Jodie Williams has been preparing for A-Level exams this month while Asha Philip is injured.

Abi Oyepitan leads the 2012 UK rankings and she will be seeking to confirm Olympic selection this weekend with her first national title since 2004. Laura Turner also has the A standard but a recent injury could prevent her from producing her best form. Ashleigh Nelson and Sophie Papps both ran well in their age-group championships and could make a statement against senior competition this weekend.


UK rankings. A standard – 23.10. B standard – 23.30.
Heats: Sun 16:30. Final: Sun 18:29.

Abi Oyepitan ran a marginally wind-aided 22.57 in the USA last month but her most promising performance of the season came at the Olso Diamond League where she finished second in a high-calibre race in 22.71. After myriad injuries, this confirms she has regained the form which took her to the Olympic final in 2004.

Oyepitan, who won this title in 2003, will be pushed by Jessica Ennis, assuming she’s not too tired from what will be a typically frenetic weekend for the Olympic heptathlon hopeful, as well as Anyika Onuora who equalled her 22.93 PB earlier this month.


UK rankings. A standard – 51.55. B standard – 52.35.
Heats: Fri 19:30. Final: Sat 17:43.

Christine Ohuruogu has produced glimpses of the form which brought her back-to-back world and Olympic titles in 2007 and 2008. Ohuruogu ran an electric third leg in the relay at the World Indoor Championships and a 50.69 season’s best from New York is her fastest ever clocking ahead of a major championships.

Ohuruogu’s chances are heightened in the absence of 51.26 performer Perri Shakes-Drayton who will be running the hurdles this weekend, leaving Shana Cox as her closest challenger on paper. International one-lap stalwarts Lee McConnell and Nicola Sanders have both been found wanting for form this year.


UK rankings. A standard – 1:59.90. B standard – 2:01.30.
Heats: Fri 19:55. Final: Sat 17:23.

The leading aspirant is Marilyn Okoro who is regaining the form which made her the British No.1 in 2008, having ducked under the two-minute barrier in her last three races.

Meanwhile, Emma Jackson has stepped up a gear this year while former three-time champion Jemma Simpson, despite a somewhat modest season’s best, is another potential winner.

Former world bronze medallist Jenny Meadows – who suffered a vertical tear in her Achilles in March – had been hoping to be fit for the Trials, but she recently withdrew.


UK rankings. A standard – 4:06.00. B standard – 4:08.90.
Heats: Fri 18:55. Final: Sat 17:13.

The 1500m from Hengelo is a solid barometer for gauging the outcome of the trials as the fastest four women in Britain competed in this year’s FBK Games but Hannah England, who produced a sub-61 final lap to win, suffered a mid-race spike wound and will not line up at the trials.

Steve Cram-coached Laura Weightman is the likely beneficiary of England’s withdrawal as she’s run faster than Charlene Thomas and Steph Twell twice this summer. Former champion Lisa Dobriskey could tear up the form-guide. She’s missed a few early-season races but looked at ease en route to a solo 4:12.86 clocking in a recent low-key meet in Loughborough.


UK rankings. A standard – 15:20.00. B standard – 15:30.00.
Final: Sun 17:59.

Jo Pavey has made a sterling return to the shorter distances after her initial plan of qualifying for the marathon failed to materialise. After a brief hiatus from the track, the 38-year-old has claimed the Olympic ‘A’ standard in her three races this year which puts her in a secure position for selection for her fourth Olympic team.

Fellow veteran Helen Clitheroe is yet to race outdoors due to a foot injury but the world finalist will be vying for a place on the team if she can replicate her 2011 form.

Barbara Parker has said her training indicates she’s capable of a sub-15 5000m performance although her focus for the rest of the summer will be the steeplechase.


UK rankings. A standard – 31:45.00. B standard – 32:10.00.
Final: Sat 18:30.

While Kenenisa Bekele highlights the men’s 10,000m, the women’s race also includes some of Ethiopia’s finest distance runners looking to strengthen their selection credentials. On show will be sub-30 performer Meselech Melkamu – the second-fastest woman of all-time – and former world silver medallist Worknesh Kidane, who won this race last year in 31:08.92.

Hopefully more domestic athletes will make the effort to compete than last year when Sonia Samuels was the only Brit to toe the start-line. Charlotte Purdue has entered, but the 5000m might be a more realistic target which would leave Sarah Waldron as arguably the best Brit in the field.

3000m steeplechase

UK rankings. A standard – 9:43.00. B standard – 9:48.00.
Final: Sun 17:33.

Barbara Parker smashed the UK record earlier this month with 9:24.24 in Eugene, but she will contest the 5000m this weekend.

Her absence could actually lead to a more competitive race, with Eilish McColgan taking up the mantle as favourite. European Championships fourth-place Hatti Archer has not competed at all this summer, but has accepted her entry for this weekend. She would need to get within 13 seconds of her PB and finish in the top two to book her place on the team.

US-based Lennie Waite is just outside the ‘B’ standard this year, but will need to achieve an ‘A’ standard should she wish to make it to the Games. Watch out for youngsters Emily Stewart and Pippa Woolven.

100m hurdles

UK rankings. A standard – 12.96. B standard – 13.15.
Heats: Sat 16:00. Final: Sat 17:54.

British record-holder Tiffany Porter is one of the country’s top medal hopes for the 2012 Games, but there is a chance that she could be beaten in her specialist event this weekend by a heptathlete.

Jessica Ennis last faced Porter at this competition last year, where the former American came out on top, bringing their career head-to-head record to 2-2. But Ennis will be fired up to run fast following her recent false-start DQ in Oslo.

400m hurdles

UK rankings. A standard – 55.50. B standard – 56.65.
Heats: Sat 13:30. Final: Sun 17:11.

European bronze medallist Perri Shakes-Drayton was the star of the show at last year’s National Championships, winning an historic 400m flat and hurdles double. She knows what it’s like to win the Olympic Trials too, having caused an upset in 2008 to defeat Tasha Danvers.

But Shakes-Drayton is only the second-fastest on paper this year behind Eilidh Child, who recently improved her PB to 54.96. Child has only once before defeated Shakes-Drayton – at the 2007 Loughborough International – but this could be a very close clash between the pair.

Following the recent retirement of Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers, Meghan Beesley looks on course to make the podium.

» The latest issue of Athletics Weekly, out today, features an in-depth preview to this weekend’s Aviva 2012 Trials.

3 Responses to “Olympic Trials preview – women’s track”

  1. Kevin O'Neill says:

    A lot of women missing from the trials, which is a worry, and others seem to have hardly competed yet this season. I hope my concerns are not justified and we get plenty of qualifiers. As usual, the middle distances look the most competitive.

  2. Guest says:

    Great previews, I love AW ! Its gonna be an intense weekend

  3. Ray Eaton says:

    According to the excellent Olympic Trials preview, in the latest edition of Athletics Weekly, the women's high jump is the only event in which Great Britain, doesn't have anyone with the Olympic "A" or "B" qualifying mark. Would be great if one of our girls could jump a lifetime best, and ensure every event at the Games, will have British participation.

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