Blue ribbon 100m races at Olympic trials in Birmingham go to Steve Fudge-coached duo
James Dasaolu and Asha Philip have not been at their best so far this summer, but they came good when it mattered to win British 100m titles at the trials for the Rio Olympics.
Helped by a tailwind of 3.0m/sec, Dasaolu scorched to a 9.93 win ahead of James Ellington’s 9.96 and CJ Ujah’s 9.97.
“I knew that I had to definitely finish top two or top three or my dream of going to Rio will be in jeopardy so for me it was all about executing the race I could,” said a delighted Dasaolu, who was driven by the memory of finishing third in the Olympic trials four years earlier.
“I had to make sure I got a good start which I did. I knew once I did that my race would come together so it was all about maintaining form and crossing the line.”
Runner-up Ellington said: “I’ve always shied away from the 100s because I normally get the qualification for the 200m, and it’s been easier to fit into the 200m timetable and not mess myself up at the trials.
“This year it’s worked nicely with the 100m on the Friday and Saturday and Sunday for the 200m. I’m training really hard and in good shape for the 100m so I thought why not mix it with the rest of them.”
In an exciting, quality men’s 100m final, Ojie Edoburun finished fourth, with Harry Aikines-Aryeetey fifth, then Richard Kilty, Dwain Chambers – the former champion still providing a challenge aged 38 – and Andrew Robertson.
The women’s race was run into a slight headwind as Philip took gold in 11.17 from Darryl Neita’s 11.24 and Desiree Henry’s 11.26. Coming into the championships, Henry led the UK rankings for 2016 with 11.06 and was fastest in the heats, but Philip has a growing reputation as a championships performer and again came good.
It was also a good day for Steve Fudge, as the coach has both 100m winners in his Loughborough-based squad.
The day was interrupted by a couple of rain showers, but Birmingham enjoyed better weather than Ratingen, Germany, where Jessica Ennis-Hill was in heptathlon action (see end of this report for details).
There were near-perfect conditions, for example, during the women’s sprint hurdles at the Alexander Stadium with a 2.0m/sec tailwind. Here, the sister act of Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili capitalised as they finished one-two in 12.91 and 12.93 respectively, while bronze went to Lucy Hatton with 13.21. For Porter, it was her fourth successive British title.
Andy Butchart is one of the breakthrough athletes of 2016 and produced one of the most eye-catching runs of the day when he surged clear of his rivals in the last mile of the 5000m to win easily in 13:44.00. Having plenty of time to celebrate, Butchart coasted the final 150m as he became the first Scot to win the title since Ian Stewart in 1969. Three seconds behind, Tom Farrell out-kicked Andy Vernon for silver.
“I wanted to make it fast towards the end and see if these guys can hold on,” said Butchart. “I felt strong so went with four or five laps to go and I luckily got a jump on them and they didn’t really go (with me) so I was able to cruise the last lap.”
Nathan Douglas took his third British triple jump title and a record 10th medal with 16.58m as the early leader Julian Reid had to settle for silver with 16.45m and Ben Williams took bronze with 16.31m. The women’s triple jump gold went to Laura Samuel with a PB of 14.09m as Sineade Gutzmore was second and Yamile Aldama, now aged 43, was third.
Morgan Lake took the high jump with 1.90m before three failed attempts at a British junior record height of 1.95m.
A dramatic men’s 3000m steeplechase was won by Rob Mullett after Zak Seddon fell as he landed off the final water jump when leading narrowly from Mullett. This left Mullett free to stride home unchallenged in 8:41.67 as Tom Wade took silver and Seddon picked himself up to finish third.
Nick Percy became the first Scottish winner of a British discus title since 1993 when he threw with 60.43m to beat Dan Greaves and Brett Morse. The men’s shot put, meanwhile, saw Scott Lincoln dominate with 19.03m with Aled Davies throwing an IPC record of 16.38m.
Sophie Hitchon was one of the most dominant winners of the day when she took hammer gold by more than six metres with 69.99m. Holly Bradshaw was similarly in a different class to her rivals in the pole vault as cleared 4.60m to take the title with ease.
“Today was a big confidence booster for me,” said Bradshaw. “I felt like I was pole vaulting properly again and jumping better.”
The final event of the day, the men’s javelin, was worth waiting for as Matti Mortimore scored an exciting victory with a sixth round throw of 74.40m. Currently studying at North Dakota University in Fargo, Mortimore was a teenage prodigy who featured in AW many times as a youngster and has a mother who comes from Finland, the spiritual home of javelin throwing.
» In Ratingen, Ennis-Hill excelled in difficult weather conditions. The Olympic champion firstly clocked 13.13 for 100m hurdles into a 0.8m/sec headwind followed by a 1.84m high jump.
After this she put together a strong series of shot put efforts, the best of which was 14.29m – her best throw since London 2012 – and then concluded day one with a 23.36 (-0.3) 200m.
An injury forced Ennis-Hill to pull out of Gotzis last month, so this is her only chance to do a heptathlon before Rio.
» See the June 30 issue of Athletics Weekly for in-depth coverage from the British Championships