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Jessica Ennis World Trials
Ennis in action - winning double at trials

 

12 July 2009

For full results please follow this link

On the final session of the Aviva World Trials and UK Championships, there were highs and lows, qualifying marks and near misses, and the usual set of surprise results to keep the spectators happy.

Multi-eventer Jessica Ennis had a constructive afternoon at the stadium, taking comprehensive high jump and 100m hurdles victories to further hone her preparations for next month’s World Championships in Berlin

Ennis had opened her high jump campaign with confidence clearing 1.74m and 1.78m on first attempts and the field of 14 athletes fell away quickly and disappeared by 1.82m. Ennis – used to lone high jump campaigns – continued on to take heights of 1.85m, 1.91m and made three strong attempts at 1.94m in front of the adoring crowd. Vicky Hubbard (Grantham) and Kelly Sotherton (Birchfield) completed the podium places both clearing 1.82m.

In the semi-finals of the hurdles, Ennis looked majestic in winning her race in 12.90 – once again peppering the 12.80-12.90 zone that has been her domain this season and threatening the UK record of 12.80  - but succeeding in further improving the UK Championship record.

She then bettered it with a 12.87 in winning the final ahead of Sarah Claxton (Woodford Green EL) with a season’s best of 13.16.

In the men’s triple jump, competing into a headwind, the distances looked certain to suffer as the flags were in full flow across the back straight of the Alexander stadium.

Idowu jumped just once in the competition, using the opening round to take the title with 17.05m, whilst Nathan Douglas (Oxford) worked his way through the distances with an opener of 16.57m and then to a best of 17.01m taking the silver.

“It was a comfortable jump,” said Idowu, “I’m jumping well and in good shape. I opened up the season really well with 17.60m and I’m looking forward to Berlin.”

Dai Greene (Swansea) was an expected winner of the men’s 400m hurdles final running a sound race in swirling windy conditions and powering across the line in 49.07. Former European bronze medallist and UK number one Rhys Williams took second in 50.20 with Dale Garland (Channel Islands) third with 50.92.

“I’ve been here a few times and got silver and bronze so it is nice to get gold,” said Greene. “I’ve had a great season and it’s because I’ve gone quite a while without injuries and had a good winter so the years of hard work are finally beginning to pay off.”

Wakefield athlete Emily Freeman once again confirmed her growing international class with a superlative victory in the women’s 200m. Freeman had appeared the most impressive of the semi-finallists with 23.26 despite easing down considerably before crossing the line. She then showed true class with a win in the final by .70 of a second ahead of the rest of the field, stopping the clock at 22.92. Joey Duck (Marshall Milton Keynes) was second with 23.62 ahead of club-mate Kadi Ann Thomas in 23.63.

It was even more impressive as it was later announced to be the biggest winning margin for 200m at the UK Championships, but Freeman was just grateful for the win: “The 200m is never easy,” she revealed, “and today it was as hard with the swirling wind. I could hear the crowd as I came off the bend and that really helped.”

The men’s 200m had Jeffrey Lawal Balogun (Kent), Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva) and Leon Baptiste all looking strong in their respective heats.

But it was Toby Sandeman (Thames Valley Harriers) with a PB of 20.69 who sprung the biggest surprise in the final passing all three over the final 50m to win the UK title. Having exited last year in the first round with injury it was a pleasing return for the TVH man.

“I’m so pleased to have come through here and it has been a joy to be running here at the championships today,” he said.  He heads off to the European Under 23 championships later this week in Kaunas.

In the women’s much anticipated 800m final, it was Jemma Simpson (Newquay) who was the victor ahead of Jenny Meadows (Wigan) and Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnett). All three approached the race in different ways and it was Simpson who made the right choices as she powered away over the last 200m only for the chasing Meadows and Okoro to be out of touch.

“Being top in Britain is as good as being top eight in the world,” said Simpson soon after, who finished her weekend with a 2.01.16 clocking. “It’s been great to do well here.”

The men’s 400m final suffered with the withdrawal of Michael Bingham who pulled out to protect a twinge leaving the way for Robert Tobin (Basingstoke) to take his first title with 45.85 ahead of Conrad Wiiliams (Kent).

Tobin turned on the heat at 250m, and leading into the straight looked strong after his weekend’s work.

“I’ve won indoors before but never outdoors so this feels great. This is what this weekend has been all about – qualifying for the worlds. We’ve timed my peak later this season for the World Championships, so we’ve only bought the speed-work in recently with a hope to being at my peak in four weeks time.” He said.

The men’s 800m final began with a swift first lap as Enfield’s Darren St Clair took out the early pace, But Michael Rimmer took over with 300m to go and was not headed as he took his fourth successive  title in a respectable 1.46.47. Damien Moss (Rugby) and Steven Fennell (Tonbridge) completed the podium places in second and third.

“I knew I was running well, so decided to take them at 600m,” he said. “I’ve not run that well all season but things are getting better and I feel I am in 1.44 shape.”

In the men’s 1500m there was a surprise win for Jermaine Mays but he truly deserved the title having run a tactically sound race and pushing on the pace over the final 300m before galloping away in the home straight. In second was Lee Emanuel (Sheffield) with Nick McCormick (Morpeth) striding home in third.

“They played into my hands by not going fast enough,” said Mays. “Luckily I had the strength to hold them off. That’s a steeplechase title three years ago and now I’m the 1500m champion – can’t be bad!”

Jo Jackson (Redcar) was a comprehensive winner of the women’s 5k race walk, bettering both men’s and women’s fields with both races taking place at the same time.

Jackson, who was a lone figure for much of the race had only her own stadium record to chase but set about the task with great focus and benefited from the crowd participation switching between her and Ennis’ high jump series. Her new record time was 21.21.67, a nine second improvement, with men’s winner Scott Davis (Ilford) finishing in 22.40.63.

“I won’t be racing now until the World Championships, so it’s just a question of more hard training,” she said. “I would like to get inside the top 20, I was just outside that in the Olympics and that was a phenomenal race.”

In the men’s steeplechase, Luke Gunn took a deserved win in 8.46.47 ahead of Bruce Raeside (Notts) with 8.51.05 but eyes were on under-20 athlete James Wilkinson in fourth position, who sprinted for the line, crossing it in a PB of 8.58.76, and finally achieving the qualifying for the European Junior Championships.

The women’s race was a demonstration event for Helen Clitheroe (Preston) who won in 9.48.24 after a fairly secluded solo effort ahead of Lenny Waite in 9.52.62 and Tina Brown (Coventry Godiva) with 9.57.64. Under 20 athlete Louise Webb achieved the European Junior standard with her fourth placed time of 10.15.92.

Another endurance athlete who sped towards the line in pursuit of a personal best was women’s 5000m winner Freya Murray (Chester Le Street), who missed out by just a second after a solo run tracked only by junior Charlotte Purdue (AFD).

Both athletes put on a determined show, and were deserving of their national medals with Murray clocking 15.45.07 to Purdue’s 15.57.18. Charnwood’s Juliet Doyle took bronze with 16.11.35.

The men’s 5000m saw victory for Scott Overall (Blackheath) ahead of Ryan McLeod (Tipton)and Lee Merrien (NEB). Overall was strongest in a tactical race, bring home his first UK title in 13.57.75.

In the field, Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green EL)continued his dominance of the discus event taking the UK title with 56.93 ahead of Brett Morse (Birchfield) 55.86m - and Abdul Buhari (Newham & Essex) with 55.39m.

Then in the shot put, Carl Myerscough (Blackpool and Fylde) won his seventh UK title, equalling Geoff Capes’ record with 19.87m, ahead of Newham’s Kieren Kelly and Udechuku in third.

Olympic fourth placer Goldie Sayers made a welcome return to competition after a stress fracture ruled out her early season build-up. She came through the javelin competition with another UK title relatively unscathed with a solid best throw of 55.33m.

“I am in great shape and my training has gone well. I hope to use my full run up at Crystal Palace and I’m sure I can add another ten metres by having that. It’ll be a race against time for the World Championships but we’ll see,” she said.

There was an intriguing dual in the pole vault with Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex) and Luke Cutts (Dearnside) with Cutts coming off best and deserving his title. In a cat and mouse game of clearances, Lewis looked to have the upper hand having entered at 5.30m, until he failed at 5.50 – a height Cutts managed on his first attempt.

In a brave attempt to hold his title, Lewis increased the height to 5.70m after failing at 5.65m but could not make the clearance.

Cutts on the other hand, buoyed by the scalp he was taking cleared 5.55m and had two strong attempts at 5.70m before exiting the competition as the new UK Champion after taking bronze with a lesser 5.20m just 12 months before.

“It was good to win but I’m disappointed really because I didn’t get that last height,” revealed Cutts. “I came to win of course but it was the 5.70m I’m after to qualify for the Worlds.”

On the other side of the track, Chris Tomlinson was the only athlete to exceed 8m in taking the long jump title, his fourth round 8.03m enough to secure a third UK championship gold.