Blue ribbon sprint titles go to James Dasaolu and Asha Philip on first day of the Indoor British Championships in Sheffield
British selectors for next month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland face a selection nightmare after James Dasaolu won a men’s 60m that saw world and European champion Richard Kilty disqualified in the semi-finals.
Croydon Harriers sprinter Dasaolu ran 6.53 to beat Andy Robertson by one hundredth of a second in the final after the Sale Manchester athlete produced an inspired performance to slice seven hundredths off his PB after a lightning-fast start.
Stunned by the speed of his rivals, Sean Safo-Antwi, the British No.1 this year until this weekend, finished third in 6.57, while former multiple national champion Dwain Chambers wound up seventh.
Yet with only two athletes per discipline picked for Portland – and with only the winner of the trials this weekend guaranteed selection if they have the qualifying standard – selectors will have to decide whether to leave Kilty at home.
“I am so pleased, honestly, it was so tight I didn’t know if I had got it. The win means so much to me after the season I had last year,” said Dasaolu. “I am happy to return to winning ways with a season’s best and cement my place in Portland.”
Kilty, who twitched in the blocks and was disqualified for a false start, said: “I’m absolutely gutted. It’s happened to me a couple of times now, such as the London Diamond League.”
He added: “When I go into my blocks I always put a lot of pressure on them, that’s what I’m told by my coach. I’ve got no reason to false start in a semi-final where I could have strolled through there.
“It’s heart-breaking. It probably looks like I won’t have a chance to defend my world title now.”
The day was marred by disqualifications. Earlier, Mike Rimmer was disqualified from his 800m for a lane violation despite being the only runner to break 1:50 as he won his heat by almost six seconds in 1:47.95.
Luke Lennon-Ford was also disqualified from his 400m heat after a rough-and-tumble race but he was later reinstated before, remarkably, being DQ’ed for the second time in the same day after finishing runner-up in his 400m semi-final behind Nigel Levine.
Asha Philip regained the women’s 60m title she last won in 2014 as she beat favourite Dina Asher-Smith in 7.10 to 7.15 with Louise Bloor third in 7.36.
The Newham runner was delighted with her victory and it will be a simple decision for selectors to pick these two athletes when they sit down to decide the team for Portland on Monday.
“I didn’t do indoors last year so I’m happy to be back and say that I can still do it,” said Philip. “I was a bit rusty, I’ve still got a bit to work on but all in all it’s going up – I’m not getting any slower, I’m getting faster, so that seems like it’s going well for the World Indoors. I came fourth last time so I’m hoping to get anything above that (in Portland).”
Andy Pozzi also bounced back to form as the injury-prone athlete beat Lawrence Clarke and David Omoregie in the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.61.
Lee Emanuel took the 3000m gold after out-kicking Tom Farrell in 7:55.61.
In the field, Morgan Lake took high jump gold after she cleared 1.90m on her first attempt. Isobel Pooley cleared the same height but it took her two tries, so she had to settle for silver.
Tosin Oke won the men’s triple jump with 16.48m but with Oke representing Nigeria it meant the British title went to runner-up Nathan Fox as the Shaftesbury Barnet athlete jumped 16.21m.
Sally Peake won the women’s pole vault with 4.20m and Dan Bramble won the men’s long jump with 7.94m.
In the final event of the day, Rachel Wallader took the women’s shot put with a stadium record of 17.23m.
» See the March 3 issue of AW for full coverage from Sheffield, plus much more in a 132-page bumper magazine