Sprinter Williams and 5000m champion McColgan among Doha-bound Brits after success on a scorching day in Birmingham
Jodie Williams and Eilish McColgan both delivered performances to remember as they stormed to victory and on to the team for Doha on day two of the Müller British Athletics Championships.
Both have experienced more than their fair share of setbacks over the past few years but on Sunday they proved that their perseverance and passion is paying off.
In the 200m, Williams did not only have to battle her rivals but also the wind as she surged off the bend and into a -4.3m/sec gale.
Her winning time was 23.06 as she pipped defending champion Beth Dobbin by 0.07, with both athletes securing their spots for the IAAF World Championships.
In a close finish, Ashleigh Nelson was third in 23.18 while Kristal Awuah was fourth in 23.36.
“It means so much,” Williams said after her win. “I was really hoping that was going to be the outcome of today and I really battled to that line and made sure that I was going to be on top of that podium and going to Doha. I couldn’t be happier.”
"I think that's the biggest thing I take from today, is eliminating all of those doubts from myself."@Jodiealicia27 speaks about her British 200m title win, the struggles she's experienced over the past few years & how this feels like the next chapter ➡️ https://t.co/yja33evWNH pic.twitter.com/m9cTM26UOn
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) August 28, 2019
Williams has been very open about the struggles she has experienced since a remarkable junior career which included a five-year and 151-race winning streak.
But now based in America in Phoenix, Arizona, she feels like this season has been the start of a new chapter.
“It’s been a long road for me,” she said. “I think it has definitely been no secret that there have been ups and downs. I’ve tried to be as open as I can with everyone, just how much of a struggle it has been, both mentally and physically.
“This season has been a bit of a blessing for me. Everything has gone to plan and things really feel like they are falling into place.”
For Dobbin, there came relief that she had made the world championships team after struggling with a knee injury.
“I’m really happy to have booked my place on the plane to Doha,” said the Scottish record-holder and 2018 British champion.
“I only got back into spikes last Saturday. It has been a really stressful three weeks thinking ‘am I going to be on the start line?’ It has been a tough year.”
Like Williams, the past few years for McColgan have also been full of ups and downs and her run in Birmingham was further proof of her determination to make it on the team bound for Doha.
Breaking away early, she solo-ran her way to 5000m success, clocking 15:21.38 for a dominant win ahead of World University Games champion Jess Judd, whose strong finish saw her secure silver and the second automatic place for Doha ahead of European and Commonwealth medallist Laura Weightman – 15:35.82 to 15:36.73.
.@EilishMccolgan reflects on her dominant run to win the British 5000m title and secure her spot for @IAAFDoha2019. "I thought 'this is it – run your own race, make the other girls hurt'." Read more here ➡️ https://t.co/yja33evWNH and in tomorrow's AW. @scotathletics pic.twitter.com/wtOAIJScvU
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) August 28, 2019
Blistering conditions at the Alexander Stadium saw the temperature reach about 30ºC during the race, with Melissa Courtney and Kate Avery among those not to finish.
“The last couple of years I’ve come in and been disappointed with my performance – I’ve come second or third and it has come down to a crazy sprint over the last 300m,” said European silver medallist McColgan. “I’m always jinxed at trials. This is the first one I’ve come into with no illnesses, no injuries.
“I’m healthy, I’m fit. I’m maybe not quite as sharp as I would like because I’ve had a big training block so the legs feel a bit sluggish but it’s the first time I’ve had a smooth build-up.
“I thought ‘this is it – run your own race, make the other girls hurt’. I wanted to make sure that I came here today and if I went off and I exploded and I came last then at least I gave it a pop, at least I tried.
“There were five girls with the qualifying time today so there could have been any two of us in that top two which makes it exciting. I’m obviously over the moon.”
The 800m also featured a strong field and the battle of the already-qualified athletes was won by European indoor champion Shelayna Oskan-Clarke as she pipped 2012 European winner Lynsey Sharp – 2:02.68 to 2:02.79 – with Alexandra Bell third in 2:02.87.
Sarah McDonald out-kicked double European under-23 champion Jemma Reekie to win the 1500m title in 4:22.95 and both were delighted to also make the team for Doha.
“I feel great,” said McDonald. “It feels good to come back here, after a few years of coming up short, to win the title.”
The 400m was won by Laviai Nielsen in 52.04 from Emily Diamond with 52.39 and Zoey Clark with 52.52, while Meghan Beesley retained her 400m hurdles title in 55.81 ahead of Jessica Turner in 56.06 as the top two in both races secured their world championships places.
The first track event of the day was the women’s 5000m race walk and that was won by Bethan Davies in 21:56.45 as she finished more than two and a half minutes ahead of the rest of the field.