PREVIEW: Sainsbury’s British Championships – Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

PREVIEW: Sainsbury’s British Championships – Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

The nation’s best will battle it out for the coveted British title in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium this weekend, as the Sainsbury’s British Championships take place between Friday the 27th and Sunday the 29th of June in the West-Midlands city.

Incorporating the official trial for August’s European Championships in Zurich, the event will see the top two finishers from each discipline – providing they have reached the qualification standard this season – make the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad for the continental championships just less than seven weeks from now.

Here is a run-down on which athletes to watch out for over the three days of exhilarating action:

Men’s 100m –

Twenty-year-old Chijindu Ujah made waves in Hengelo earlier this month by storming to a swift 9.96 lifetime best and UK-lead.

The European junior champion from Enfield and Haringey has come on leaps and bounds since his previous 10.26 best from the 2012 season, and with close rivals Adam Gemili and James Dasaolu focusing on the 200m and missing the event entirely, Ujah could well be the man to beat despite his tender years.

Hoping to be hot on his heels, however will be 2013 runner-up, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey who has enjoyed a 10.08 personal best this summer in addition to world indoor 60m champion, Richard Kilty and 10.13 man, James Ellington.

Women’s 100m –

The women’s equivalent is likely to be an even closer affair with UK-leader, Bianca Williams taking on world indoor 60m fourth-placer, Asha Philip as well as Jodie Williams and Desiree Henry – all of whom are within 0.05 seconds of each other this season.

Enfield’s Williams sped to an impressive 11.17 lifetime best in Geneva earlier this month but the 20-year-old will be hard pushed by 23-year-old Philip – the 2013 gold medallist, who registered 11.19 in May.

Jodie Williams, meanwhile, has made a superb return to form this year following long-term injury with an 11.20 clocking, and 18-year-old Henry clocked an 11.23 personal best back in April.

Men’s 200m –

The men’s half-lap event will see world fifth placer, Adam Gemili make his seasonal debut over the distance.

The 20-year-old Blackheath and Bromley sprinter finished a fine third in both the Rome ad Oslo IAAF Diamond Leagues over 100m earlier this month, and has a 200m best of 19.98 from last summer.

Keen to assert his authority over the distance will be UK-leader and European bronze medallist, Danny Talbot who recorded a 20.36 lifetime best in Prague earlier this month.

Others to watch out for include two-time winner, James Ellington, Chris Clarke and Delano Williams.

Women’s 200m –

Jodie and Bianca Williams will clash once again, and the pair are evenly matched with 22.76 and 22.79 personal bests this season, respectively.

Herts Phoenix’s 20-year-old J Williams will start as the favourite following her surprise second place finish in Oslo behind Olympic champion, Allyson Felix of the USA, whilst her namesake is set to impress on the back of an impressive breakthrough year in which she went under the 23-second barrier for the first time.

2013 winner, Anyika Onuora, Margaret Adeoye and Henry should also feature prominently.

Men’s 400m –

Martyn Rooney will be seeking his fifth British outdoor crown and the 2008 Olympic sixth placer has a 45.03 season’s best to his name.

Behind the 27-year-old from Croydon is likely to be European indoor fifth placer, Michael Bingham and last year’s victor, Nigel Levine – the European indoor silver medallist.

Women’s 400m –

Having been forced to settle for the silver medal on the past three occasions, 2014 may well be the year in which Shana Cox finally stands atop of the medals podium.

The 29-year-old Woodford Green with Essex Ladies sprinter has a 52.11 season’s best and she will face, 52.29 athlete, Kelly Massey and Emily Diamond who failed to finish the first round twelve months ago.

Men’s 800m –

World indoor bronze medallist, Andrew Osagie will be looking to add a fourth title to his collection, and the 27-year-old from Harlow AC’s 1:45.22 season’s best places him as the favourite for glory.

Following his eighth place finishes in both the Doha and Eugene IAAF Diamond Leagues, Osagie will come up against two-time runner up, Mukhtar Mohammed – the European indoor bronze medallist – and five-time champion, Michael Rimmer.

Women’s 800m –

One of the brightest starlets of British Athletics, Jessica Judd will be determined to make amends for her 2013 runner up position.

The 19-year-old world junior silver medallist from Chelmsford scorched to an eye-catching 1:59.77 lifetime best UK-lead en route to third in Oslo, and her closest challenger may be Edinburgh’s Lynsey Sharp.

Four years her elder, 2012 winner Sharp is the European champion and ran a 2:00.09 personal best in Hengelo, whilst 33-year-old Jenny Meadows – the 2009 world bronze medallist and two-time champion – continues her return from long-term injury and should not be discounted to be in the medals mix.

Men’s 1500m –

Fifth in the European Team Championships in Braunschweig last weekend, 20-year-old Charlie Grice is the man to beat in the men’s metric mile.

The Bristol runner clocked a 3:36.31 lifetime best and UK-lead in May, and he will have Richard Peters and David Bishop for company.

Women’s 1500m –

In the battle of the Laura’s, Laura Weightman and Laura Muir will face-off in this highly-anticipated duel.

Twenty-two-year-old Weightman of Morpeth will seek to gain redemption following an unfortunate fall and subsequent injury in last year’s race, and after her 4:02.72 personal best and UK-lead with eighth place in May’s Eugene IAAF Diamond League, she will start as the marginal favourite.

Dundee’s 21-year-old Muir meanwhile, registered a 4:02.91 lifetime best in Hengelo and the European under 23 bronze medallist is a gutsy performer.

Other notable names expected to feature include three-time winner, Hannah England, Jemma Simpson and Melissa Courtney.

Men’s 5,000m –

European cross country bronze medallist, Andy Vernon will attempt to regain the title he last won in 2008 and following a strong 13:11.50 personal best and UK-lead last month, the 28-year-old Aldershot, Farnham and District runner lies in pole position going into the race.

Border Harrier’s Tom Farrell – with a 13:22.27 season’s best – is another to keep an eye out for.

Women’s 5,000m –

Having successfully return from having her second child, Exeter’s 40-year-old Jo Pavey continues to defy the age barrier and will start as the favourite for the women’s twelve and a half lap crown.

The 2004 Olympic fifth placer has won this event five times and recorded a fine 15:04.87 season’s best in Rome.

Twenty years her junior, Aldershot’s Emelia Gorecka – the European junior 3,000m champion – will look to consolidate her 15:07.45lifetime best from May, whilst Julia Blesdale, Helen Clitheroe and Kate Avery also contest.

Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase –

A fortnight after his surprise 8:22.76 personal best and UK-lead in Spain, James Wilkinson will defend his steeplechase title.

The 23-year-old from Leeds will face four-time champion, Luke Gunn and Scotland’s Stephen Lisgo.

Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase –

2013 bronze medallist, Lennie Waite may well improve to the gold medal position on this occasion following her 9:48.17 lifetime best in April.

Following the 28-year-old Aldershot runner in the chase for the medals is likely to be newcomer, Racheal Bamford and two-time winner, Eilish McColgan who has been in below-par form of late.

Men’s 110m Hurdles –

Defending champion, William Sharman comes into the competition fresh off a 13.21 personal best when placing second in Braunschweig and the two-time champion looks more than capable of notching up title number three this weekend.

The 29-year-old Belgrave Harrier and world fifth placer goes up against 2011 winner, Lawrence Clarke – who is quickly returning to his 2012 form when he placed fourth in the London Olympics.

Three-time champion, Andy Turner continues his return from Achilles surgery and has a 13.47 season’s best to put himself in contention for another medal.

Women’s 110m Hurdles –

World indoor and outdoor bronze medallist, Tiffany Porter has finished fifth in both the Rome and New York IAAF Diamond Leagues this summer, and the 26-year-old Woodford Green with Essex Ladies athlete is a near-cert to retain her title.

2013 runner up, Serita Solomon looks set to replicate her finishing position from twelve months ago.

Men’s 400m Hurdles –

Another to enjoy a breakthrough campaign this year is Newham and Essex Beagles’ Niall Flannery.

The 23-year-old has improved by almost a second this summer, clocking a swift 48.80 in Ostrava last week.

Behind the European under 23 fourth placer, will be 2006 champion Rhys Williams as well as Richard Yates and Sebastian Rodger

Women’s 400m Hurdles –

Scotland’s Eilidh Child will be gunning for gold following second place finishes in the last two editions of this event, and the 27-year-old world fifth placer is almost certain to get her wish on the back of her third place finish in both Rome and Oslo.

Two-time bronze medallist, Meghan Beesley is another athlete eager for a medal upgrade, and the 2011 European under 23 bronze medallist should do well.

Men’s 5,000m Walk –

Seventeen-year-old Callum Wilkinson finished only eighth last year but the Enfield walker registered a 22:27.4 personal best in May to set himself apart in this field.

Guy Thomas and Luc Legon are other names to watch.

Women’s 5,000m Walk –

Leicester pair, Emma Achurch and Jasmine Nicholls look set to dominate the women’s walk, with 16-year-old Achurch the favourite for glory.

With a 25:03.2 lifetime best in May, she is over two minutes quicker than 18-year-old Nicholls this summer.

Men’s High Jump –

Equal fifth in Braunschweig, Sale’s Chris Baker should be the one to watch in the men’s high jump contest.

The 23-year-old leapt a 2.27m season’s best last month but will have to battle two-time winner, Tom Parsons and 2.25m jumper, David Smith.

Women’s High Jump –

Multi-events starlets, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake are expected to put on an impressive show in the high jump and the competition may be set for an epic clash.

Liverpool’s 21-year-old Johnson-Thompson leapt a 1.96m personal best during the indoor season and a 1.90m lifetime best at the end of May, whilst 17-year-old Lake recorded a superb 1.93m British junior record last month.

The world heptathlon fifth placer versus the world under 18 heptathlon record holder is a tantalising prospect.

High jump specialist, Isobel Pooley will hope to cause an upset following her 1.91m equal personal best earlier this month.

Men’s Long Jump –

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford will be shooting for title number six and the 27-year-old from Milton Keynes should have no bother, following his eye-catching 8.51m British record in April.

Six-time champion, Chris Tomlinson has an 8.23m season’s best and another jumper who could spoil the proceedings is 2013 bronze medallist, JJ Jegede.

Women’s Long Jump –

Birchfield’s 25-year-old Shara Proctor will hope the home crowd support can cheer her on to her fourth consecutive title.

Second in Oslo, she has a 6.78m season’s best and will have her work cut out against Johnson-Thompson – the world indoor bronze medallist – who has leapt 6.70m this summer.

2011 runner up, Lorraine Ugen also contests.

Men’s Triple Jump –

Having emerged from semi-retirement this season, 2009 world champion Phillips Idowu will start as the favourite.

A six-time champion, the 35-year-old Belgrave Harrier registered 16.99m in May, and he will do battle against three-time winner, Nathan Douglas in addition to Julian Reid and Nathan Fox.

Women’s Triple Jump –

2012 world indoor champion, Yamile Aldama will be hoping her 41-years will not hold her back against four-time champion, Laura Samuel and Chioma Matthews.

Men’s Pole Vault –

Sheffield’s 2013 victor, Luke Cutts has only competed once this season but the 26-year-old cleared 5.83m during the winter, and he will have six-time champion, Steve Lewis to contend with.

The Olympic fifth placer recorded a 5.70m season’s best in April, whilst Glasgow’s Jax Thoirs should also be one to watch.

Women’s Pole Vault –

Having endured the misery of no-heighting in last year’s competition, Bristol’s 19-year-old Lucy Bryan will be out to seek revenge.

With a 4.35m season’s best, she will face Birchfield’s Sally Peake – a 4.31m vaulter so far this summer.

Men’s Javelin –

Three-time winner, Lee Doran has a season’s best almost two metres clear of the rest of the field at 76.61m and the 29-year-old’s nearest competition will come from Benji Pearson – who has set a 74.71m lifetime best this season.

Women’s Javelin –

Record-breaking ten-time winner, Goldie Sayers is back following her 2013 absence through shoulder surgery and the 31-year-old Belgrave Harrier has started her campaign well with a 62.03m season’s best in May.

The 2008 Olympic fourth placer should add title number eleven to her collection with ease ahead of North Devon’s Izzy Jeffs – who opened her summer with a big 58.53m personal best back in April.

Men’s Shot Put –

2012 champion, Zane Duquemin is the stand-out favourite in the men’s shot put, having thrown an 18.53m season’s best in Germany last month.

Behind the 22-year-old Shaftesbury Barnett Harrier is likely to be Ryan Spencer-Jones and Scott Rider.

Women’s Shot Put –

Home girl, Eden Francis will be aiming for title number five and the 25-year-old 2009 European under 23 champion should emerge victorious following her 17.07m season’s best.

Last year’s winner, Rachel Wallader set a 16.76m lifetime best earlier this month, whilst European junior runner up, Sophie McKinna took the England under 23 title with 16.47m in Bedford last weekend.

Men’s Discus –

With a 61.67m season’s best, Brett Morse looks set to retain his crown and the 25-year-old from Cardiff will face Duquemin, who has a 2014 best of 58.45m

Women’s Discus –

Three-time winner, Jade Lally has thrown 57.58m this season and the 27-year-old Shaftesbury athlete goes up against Kirsty Law, Francis and Shadine Duquemin.

Men’s Hammer –

Following his huge 74.38m lifetime best in May, Border’s 21-year-old Nick Miller will start as the favourite.

Alex Smith – the four-time champion and Commonwealth silver medallist – should put up a strong battle for the gold medal.

Women’s Hammer –

European under 23 champion, Sophie Hitchon has twice won this event before and the 22-year-old Blackburn Harrier boasts a 71.53m season’s best to outshine the rest of the field.

Having registered 66.85m and 66.30m personal bests this summer, respectively, Shaunagh Brown and Rachel Hunter will be in the hunt for the minor medals.



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