IAAF president Seb Coe describes the event as “one of the most successful of all time”
Tom Bosworth breaks British record in BirminghamFebruary 18, 2018
Olympian improves his own indoor 5000m race walk mark to 18:28.70, while crowds are also treated to top shot put and pole vault results
Tom Bosworth proved he is in superb shape ahead of the Commonwealth Games by breaking his own national indoor 5000m race walk record at the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Sunday.
Clocking 18:28.70, the Olympic 20km race walk sixth-placer improved on the 18:39.47 he recorded at this event last year for the fastest time in the world since 2014 – a mark which moves him to 16th on the world indoor all-time list.
From the opening stages it was clearly a battle between Bosworth – fresh from a training camp in South Africa – and the clock. The 28-year-old completed the first 1000m in 3:43.67 and continued with kilometre split times of 7:25.06, 11:07.47 and 14:51.52, urging the crowd on and waving to fans during the final couple of laps.
Bosworth’s fellow Andi Drake-coached walker Cameron Corbishley was second with 20:57.26 and Christopher Snook third with 22:42.76, while Callum Wilkinson was disqualified.
“I set off on PB pace and realised quite early on that I could hold it which was very encouraging,” said Bosworth, who recently wrote for AW about bouncing back after his disappointment of disqualification at the IAAF World Championships in London.
“They told me in the call room that I am the oldest starter at 28 – everyone else is 21 or below so it is very positive for the event over the next few years. They have a long career ahead and it is great to see so many in action today.”
A national best was also set by Bethan Davies in the 5000m race walk, as the distance was contested by British female athletes indoors for the first time.
The Welsh athlete dominated the race with her time of 21:25.37 ahead of silver medallist Gemma Bridge with 22:48.29 and bronze medallist Erika Kelly with 23:23.69.
Davies’ fellow Commonwealth Games-bound walker Heather Lewis initially looked to have achieved a podium place, but was shown a red card after the race and eventually disqualified.
“It’s the first time there has been a 5000m indoors so I’m so pleased to be the first person to win the title,” said Davies. “I am pretty confident over the distance outdoors but it was very different as the camber of the track does slightly affect your technique but it was nice to have a go at it and walk close to my outdoor PB.”
There was a dramatic end to an exciting women’s shot put competition as defending champion Rachel Wallader threw an indoor PB of 17.45m in the final round to move into gold medal position ahead of long-time leader Sophie McKinna.
McKinna, a multiple national medallist but not yet a winner of gold, responded with a personal best but her 17.42m was an agonising three centimetres off the top spot behind her friend and training partner.
The last time two British women threw over 17.40m in the same indoor competition was 1987.
“I managed to pull it out of the bag last year against Sophie so I knew I had that throw to deliver,” said Wallader. “I expect a lot of myself so I was delighted to throw a PB. But I really thought Sophie had got me on the last throw – it was a fantastic effort.”
After coming so close to regaining the lead with her final throw, McKinna said: “There’s elation and disappointment all in 10 seconds. To be in the lead all the way through is a position I’ve never been in before.
“It’s been a fantastic competition, great to be a part of and finally women’s shot is starting to raise the standard and we’re matching the Europeans.
“I’m pleased to come away with a medal and to throw a personal best but I don’t want silver, I want gold.”
Amelia Strickler claimed bronze with 16.67m, while Sarah Omoregie improved the Welsh indoor under-20 record by one centimetre with 14.88m in fourth.
Adam Hague impressed in the pole vault competition as the 20-year-old cleared an outright PB of 5.65m to claim gold ahead of 21-year-old Harry Coppell with a 5.35m indoor PB and Charlie Myers with the same height.
Defending champion Luke Cutts finished fourth with 5.20m.
“It was amazing – literally the perfect competition,” said Hague, who had a flawless series of clearances up to his winning height, which moves him to joint fourth on the UK all-time list.
“I don’t think it could possibly have gone better than that. It is great to win this British title, it really means a lot. I’ve put 10cm on my best which is a bigger improvement than I expected. I thought I would improve my best but I wasn’t sure this was possible.
“I go into the Commonwealth Games with so much confidence now – I am so excited to compete for England on the Gold Coast.”
After five first-time clearances all the way up to his winning 2.20m, Mike Edwards claimed his first national high jump victory ahead of Chris Baker and Chris Kandu.
Describing his win in Birmingham as a Birchfield athlete as “even more special”, Edwards added: “It has been a long time coming. I’ve had bronze and silver at these championships so to get my first gold is very special. I would have loved to have jumped a personal best with it but you can’t have everything.”
The competition had been missing Olympic and world indoor medallist Robbie Grabarz.
Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams secured success in the women’s triple jump with 14.16m, while the British title was claimed by Naomi Ogbeta with a UK under-23 record of 13.65m. Silver went to Sinead Gutzmore and bronze to Zara Asante.
» Further SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships day two coverage can be found here, while the February 22 edition of AW magazine will include in-depth reports, pictures and results