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race is on to be crowned British champion

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James Dasaolu

12 reigning champions will compete in front of a record crowd at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield, on 8-9 February.

One of the contests of the weekend will see last year’s 60m winner James Dasaolu line up against five-time British indoor champion Dwain Chambers, who has not lost in 15 races at the EIS after missing out through injury in 2013.

There will also be a strong challenge from the likes of teenage prodigy Chijindu Ujah, Rion Pierre and Sean Safo-Antwi, who all set personal bests over the last month and may well put Jason Gardener’s ten year old stadium record of 6.49 at risk.

Dasaolu said: “2013 was a memorable year for me and my victory at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships gave my season a perfect platform in which to build from. Winning my first British indoor title is one I’ll never forget and I will be doing all I can to put my name on that trophy once again at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships.

“The competition within this event is really strong and I know that it’s going to take something special to cross the finish line first. However, I’ve had a good spell of training in South Africa and a strong start to the season at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match, which will set me up well for a big performance this weekend.”

In the men’s pole vault, Luke Cutts will be aiming to add the British Indoor title to the outdoor title he won last year, after four second place finishes in Sheffield. His appearance at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships comes after breaking the British record in January vaulting 5.83m, placing him only second behind Renaud Lavillenie in the world rankings for 2014. 

After producing a world-leading 2:00.94 over 800m at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match, Laura Muir, who won the British Indoor 1500m title last year will be keen to prove her world-class pedigree once again this weekend.

One of the most prolific winners at the Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships, Chris Tomlinson will be chasing his first victory since 2009. The 32 year old will be looking to win his seventh title and will be severely tested by JJ Jegede, who got the better of the Olympic finalist at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match last month.   

Nigel Levine and Holly Bleasdale will both be looking for their fourth successive titles in the 400m and pole vault respectively, with Levine looking to match Jim Aukett, who won four in a row between 1971 and 1974.

After a nail-biting conclusion to the men’s 800m last year won by Joe Thomas it will be Olympic finalist Andrew Osagie, Guy Learmonth and Mukhtar Mohammed who will look to challenge the track record of 1:47.26, set by Thomas in 2012.

Mo Farah’s 1500m and 3000m stadium records could also tumble at the weekend, with world 1500m finalist Chris O’Hare and European Cross Country bronze medallist Andy Vernon both starting 2014 with promise.  

2013 British 60m champion Asha Philip will look to replicate the form she showed when she clocked a 7.16 personal best at the EIS last year, while Robbie Grabarz will have to fend off training partners David Smith and Allan Smith, as well as 2011 winner Tom Parsons.

World Indoor gold medallist Yamile Aldama will make her first appearance since June last year in the triple jump, as the 41 year old bids to win her third successive title. 

World 100m hurdles bronze medallist Tiffany Porter will make her first ever appearance at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships and will look to add the British Indoor title to her list of accolades this weekend.

World fifth place finisher Katarina Johnson-Thompson will compete in her first senior indoors, as the 20 year old lines up in the 60m hurdles, high jump and long jump, where she will face British record holder Shara Proctor.

British Athletics’ Performance Director Neil Black said: “The Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships is a crucial part of any athlete’s development and claiming a British Championship title is important if they are to truly challenge on the world stage.

“The event enables the new generation to compare themselves against their national rivals, or even in some events – the best in the world, which is why it is important  that we preserve the prestige of being a British Champion even if it does result in a ticket to Poland in a few weeks.”

Councillor Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Sainsbury's British Athletics Indoor Championships back to Sheffield - a city which is known as a City of Sport and for having a wealth of talented sportsmen and women.

“It will be an exciting competition as our best athletes compete in the country’s biggest domestic competition for the British champion crown, which is a huge honour in the world of athletics.

“Athletes will also be able to compete for team places for the World Indoor Championships in Poland later this year and we wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”

Live streaming of the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships and Adam Gemili’s post-race interviews will be available at www.youtube.com/britishathleticsTV, from 15:30–19:00 on Saturday 8 February and 12:00–16:30 on Sunday 9 February.

Join in the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships conversation by tweeting @BritAthletics using the hashtag #IndoorChamps