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double delight for johnson-thompson at sainsbury's british athletics indoor championships

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson
9 February 2014

The second day of action at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships proved a worthy finale to the weekend, which saw 417 athletes competing, 140 personal bests and number of national and international records as well as World Indoor Championship selection earning performances.

It was perhaps not surprising that day two continued with the same theme as yesterday, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson putting in a star turn with yet another notable performance for a second British Indoor Championship title.

Following on from Saturday’s national high jump record, Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) continued to demonstrate her dominance this time over the horizontal jumps and won the long jump competition ahead of a resurgent Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill).

Even in the absence of British record holder Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) there was a world class performer on show as Johnson-Thompson sprung to 6.75m – a second world indoor qualifier in as many days.

“It was definitely the best I could have imagined. I didn’t sleep last night so I feel really tired and didn’t expect to come out and do that!” she said.

“I skipped the hurdles because I wanted to be really cautious for next weekend, I really want to qualify for the World Indoor Championships in the pentathlon. It gives me great confidence, even if I can’t get to that standard I know I can get close to it and that’s what it’s about in pentathlon; being consistent.

On the track, the much anticipated men’s 1500m final did not disappoint with Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg), Lee Emmanuel (Ronnie Warhurst) and Chris O’Hare (Steve Gulley) all vying for the lead throughout leading to a burn up over the last 600m

Eventually it was an ecstatic Emmanuel who punched the air with delight as he crossed the line in 3:48.15 ahead of O’Hare, Grice and a fast finishing Kris Gauson (Craig Winrow) for fourth.

He said: “It’s huge for me, I’ve never done this before so it’s great. I’ve been second twice and third a couple of times so it’s great to come here, win, and finally be able to call myself a British champion.

“I feel great. I’ve done a lot of things in training that I didn’t do last year in terms of strength and weights stuff and it all seems to be clicking in to gear.”

Laura Muir (Andy Young) was crowned the women’s British Indoor 800m champion after a fascinating battle which saw the podium places completed by Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola) and Katie Kirk (Mark Kirk). After impressing in the early stages, four-time champion Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) faded on the home straight to just miss out on the podium places.

Muir who clocked 2:06.04 said:

“I’m really happy. Jenny is an amazing athlete and she’s very experienced so I knew I’d have to be at my best and run well tactically,” she said.

“I didn’t know what Jenny was going to do but I wanted to be in contention going into the last lap and then kick away. It’s really nice to have the time and to win and properly secure my place. It’s a relief to have my place secured and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The men’s 800m proved just as surprising with Andrew Osagie (Craig Winrow) crossing the line in first only to be later disqualified for a lane infringement, gifting the precious British Championship title to local star Mukhtar Mohammed (Jon Bigg).

The 2013 European Indoor medallist was more than happy with the win in 1:51.61, however it arrived:

“I’m really delighted to win here in Sheffield on home ground; I always had second and never had a gold so it’s a great feeling to win,” he said

“I’m really pleased to do it in front of a home crowd too. The race was really tough and my plan was just to win it and get selected for the World Indoors so I’m really pleased that I’ve done that.”

Charlene Thomas (Aaron Thomas) was a popular winner of the women’s 3000m final in 9:05.93, but missed out on the 9:02 qualifying time for the World Indoors after taking on the pace with 800m to go.

The Wakefield favourite said: “It feels wonderful. It was really special to do it here in front of this crowd; the atmosphere was great and I could hear them cheering me all the way round the last kilometre and they really wanted me to get the time for the World Indoors. It was great and I really enjoyed it.”

Another local hero, UK record holder Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox), took an expected men’s pole vault victory with 5.60m clearance ahead of second placer Max Eaves with 5.45m.

The Dearn athlete who has really come of age and is ranked second in the world this year in his event was pleased to do the business in front of the EIS crowd.

“It was alright, but I would have rather have jumped the qualifying height for the World Indoors, but you can’t always go out there and do that,” he said. “It’s been great competing in Yorkshire, the support they give you here is like no other so it’s good to get the victory.”

In the 200m races - which are no longer contested at world level – there was still a fantastic battle in both finals, with Dina Asher Smith (John Blackie) and Chris Clarke (Steve Fudge) the respective victors.

Asher Smith took the title ahead of her fast-closing  training partner Shannon Hylton (Blackie) in 23.20 to 23.24. She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon especially with my 60m time because I didn’t think I could do something like that. To then do a stadium record in the 200m, I’m so happy. That was also an amazing race for Shannon – she was with me all the way and it’s a huge PB for her.”

“The World Indoors is something I want to do without shadow of a doubt because the experience I’ve got from here and the World Juniors will give me that basis to compete in a world-class environment.”

Meanwhile Clarke looked to be benefitting from training alongside the likes of 60m champion James Dasaolu (Fudge) and World 200m finalist Adam Gemili (Fudge) as he  dominated his final to coast to a personal best 20.68 victory.

He said:  “I think I’m more happy about the time, but I’m grateful to have retained my British title too. I had a tough year last year and I didn’t really peak until way after the championships in August or September so to run 20.68 indoors I’m chuffed.

“I’d have been happy to dip under 21 seconds that would have been an alright training session. This shows the programme I’m in with Steve Fudge is working.”

The 400m races proved just as competitive, with Linford Christie coached athletes Margaret Adeoye and Nigel Levine taking the championship titles. Adeoye looked impressive as the women’s winner in 52.77 and Nigel Levine benefitted following Luke Lennon Ford’s disqualification in the men’s final with his eventual winning time of 46.82secs.

Adeoye who led from gun to tape said: “It felt good – I had to get a few wise words from my coach because 400m is so different from 200m. I know my pace for 200m and that’s to run as fast as I can, but you’ve got to be a bit more tactical in the 400m. “

“I was playing around with paces in the heats and the semis and then in the finals I thought forget trying to pace and run – whatever your legs give, give it your all!”

After his race Levine admitted: “I’m a bit tired right now. I’m still in heavy training. The race didn’t go according to plan but you’ve got to adapt.”

The women’s 60m hurdles British Championship title went to Gemma Bennett (Gladys Bird) in 8.20sec ahead of Serita Solomon (Lloyd Cowan). Bennett said: “It’s good to be back here competing. I’ve had a few bad years, so it’s good to win the title but I’m disappointed with the time. I could have gone faster, but I think the false start we had messed things up a little bit.”

In the field, Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed) won the men’s high jump crown with a best clearance of 2.24m, but the Olympic medallist was disappointed with the standard he put on show:

“I got the win but by default. 2.24m is like what I jumped as a child so it’s not good enough,” he said.

“I’ve got to work on my technique, I did a great warm up jump, I just didn’t do it in the competition. It’s in me, I’ve just got to find my feet – it’s frustrating that I’ve not crept up week by week. I just need to pull my finger out and do it.”

The first British Championship title of the day had been won by shot putter Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) whose 18.31m season’s best throw wasn’t as far as he had hoped to come away with.

The Shaftesbury Barnet man said: “I’m delighted with the win, but my performance was pretty poor in my opinion. I was expecting at least 19m, it just didn’t happen technically and I didn’t have the right feeling. To win my first British title is a huge positive, but I’m feeling rusty at the moment and I’m not sharp.”

The women’s triple jump winner was Laura Samuel (Aston Moore) with 13.32m. The Birchfield Harrier, just eclipsing Nadia Williams by 5cm for the British Championship title.

She said: “It was really good out there, the crowd were amazing today. I am a bit annoyed about my distance because I was getting big no jumps, which could have meant a big indoor personal best but sometimes that happens.

“It’s good to keep getting British titles, I just want to go outdoors and jump further.”

For full results follow this link: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-british-athletics-indoor-championships/event-schedule/

You can also see footage of the whole competition, as well as post race interviews by heading to BritishAthleticsTV: http://www.youtube.com/britishathleticstv