SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships: Round-up of the action

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Cameron Chalmers on his victory lap after winning the 400m. Photo: Melissa Gresswell.

Action at the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships saw the best display of British women’s shot putting since 2000.

It was Sophie McKinna who rose to the occasion and after numerous bronze and silver medals at these championships, the 24-year-old finally left the circle with a gold and a huge new PB of 17.97m.

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More records were smashed in the women’s 400m final. 18-year-old Amber Anning shattered the U20 women’s record which stood since 1970, clocking 53.00. She finished second behind Scotswoman Zoe Clark (52.85) and the pair now have the qualifying standard for Glasgow European Championships next month.

The men’s 400m final was a real thriller, with Guernsey athlete Cameron Chalmers stealing the show in a lifetime best of 46.26, ahead of Welshman Owen Smith (46.37) and yet another teenager, Alex Haydock-Wilson who took the bronze (47.27).

There were mixed emotions in the pole vault, as favourite Luke Cutts failed to make a clearance, leaving Charlie Myers to snatch the gold quite rightly with a clearance of 5.45m. The crowd really got behind both pole vault finals, and 2018 European outdoor bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw flew to a championship best performance of 4.80m, showing great elation and emotion.

More world class clearances were seen in the high jump, as Morgan Lake went clear at 1.94 and attempted 1.99 which would have been a new British record, to the delight of the crowd eagerly anticipating the action. But a record wasn’t meant to be, and she settled for just the medal on this occasion.

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Katrina Johnson Thompson leaped to 6.46m in the women’s long jump final with a delighted Jahisha Thomas who took the silver in 6.36m. The men’s event was a real nail biter, as both Feron Sayers and Reynold Banigo fed off each other’s energy and continued to respond round after round with stunning jumps. But it was the local Birchfield Harrier, Sayers, who came out on top with 7.72m.

It seemed to be all about the youths this weekend too. 19-year-old Dominic Ashwell stole the show with his performance of 6.64 in the 60m, securing his first British senior title. It was the 17-year-old Welshman Jeremiah Azu who finished in the bronze medal position with 6.66m. The women’s event was equally entertaining, as favourite Asha Philip clocked 7.19, ahead pf Rachel Miller (7.20), with on-form teenager Kristal Awuah taking the bronze (7.35).

The distance races certainly weren’t short of drama, as Jamie Webb and Guy Learmonth battled it out in the finishing stages of the men’s 800m final. Webb kicked hard and cranked up the gears, cruising past Learmonth and crossing the line first in with once-400m-runner Joe Reid successfully transitioning to the 800m and taking the silver (1.48.41). It appeared that Learmonth had finished third (1.48.51), but later Webb was disqualified, and Reid was upgraded to the gold medal position.

Again, in the women’s 1500m final, it was 20-year-old Jemma Reekie who had a kick like no other, outsprinting Sarah McDonald and Katie Snowden with 150m to go, clocking 4.17.08 in a tactical final.

Laura Muir put on a real show and secured her place in Glasgow with ease in the 3000m final (8.48.03), closely followed by Melissa Courtney (8.50.61), who set a world lead time (8.43.36) just last week in the same event.

In the 5000m race walk, Britain’s fastest walker in history, Tom Bosworth played to the crowd in the closing laps and really showed true sportsmanship as he waited a further 6 mins for the final athlete, 56 year old Francisco Reis, to cross the line.

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For full results from this weekend’s action in Birmingham, see the British Athletics site.