Sunday, 02 July 2017 21:57

Laura Weightman among winners on day of thrills and spills at British trials

Weightman and Jess Judd among athletes to secure World Champs spots, while Bethan Davies breaks British record in 5000m race walk

On a day which featured a number of exciting battles for British titles and World Championships places it was a case of mission accomplished for Laura Weightman as she was among those to secure success in style.

Running a well-judged race, the two-time Olympic 1500m finalist eased away in the closing stages to clock 4:06.49 ahead of Jess Judd’s 4:07.09 as both booked their places to line up at London’s former Olympic Stadium next month along with Laura Muir, who already has her place secured as last year’s overall Diamond League winner.

“To win outright was the big aim today,” said Weightman. “We’ve seen the standard of girls in this event grow a lot, and that shows with there being five girls in that race with the time, without Laura (Muir) even here.

“I think it added pressure on me as the quickest so far, but I used that to my advantage. I think I raced strongly, and I got it right.”

Sarah McDonald, who also had the standard going into the event, secured third with 4:08.14 to put herself in line for the fourth spot on the team with Muir’s wild-card giving the British team an additional place.

Shannon Hylton timed her return to top form to perfection as she matched her PB to win the 200m title and secure an individual spot on the team for London.

Clocking 22.94, she beat Bianca Williams with 23.05 and Desiree Henry with 23.14 and was understandably delighted with her day’s work.

“I’m so thrilled,” said the 20-year-old. “I knew I had some really strong girls outside me so I had to get out well. When I got to the straight I started to tense up but I pushed on through the line.”

Henry had gone into the weekend with qualifying standards in both the 100m and 200m but after a niggle decided to concentrate on the longer sprint. After missing out on an automatic World Champs place, she remained hopeful of a discretionary individual spot in one of the events.

Competition was fierce in the 800m and the battle went right to the line as Shelayna Oskan-Clarke got the win and Adelle Tracey pipped Lynsey Sharp to the second automatic World Championships place. The race was won in 2:01.54 as Tracey clocked 2:01.80 to Sharp’s 2:01.81.

Steph Twell ran a fine 5000m to eventually win the British title by three seconds after a fast final 150 metres and she will be joined on the team for London by Eilish McColgan, who ran 15:38.57 to her fellow Scot’s 15:35.50. Charlotte Arter was third in 15:43.46, while Judd ran 15:49.05 for fifth after her runner-up finish in the 1500m. Early leader Katrina Wootton stepped off the track mid-way through the race.

With the 400m hurdles qualifying standard already in the bag, Eilidh Doyle was another needing to secure a top two finish to ensure her place for the World Championships and she dominated the final to clock 55.59.

Just over a second behind her with 56.68 was Meghan Beesley, who has made a comeback after injury problems and will now seek the standard of 56.10.

Zoey Clark leads the UK 400m rankings with her 51.84 PB from Geneva last month and she built on that breakthrough with a confident run which resulted in a time of 52.30 for victory. That books her on the GB team along with second-placed Emily Diamond, while Anyika Onuora will hope her 51.92 season’s best from April and third-place finish will be enough to see her join them.

The track action had got off to a record-breaking start as Bethan Davies clocked 21:21.52 to take more than 20 seconds off the British 5000m race walk record.

It was another fine performance by the Welsh walker as it followed the British mile best she clocked four days before and the 20km race walk PB of 93:04 she recorded to finish as second Briton at the British Grand Prix of Race Walking to book her place on the team for the IAAF World Championships.

“It’s been a tough week actually – three races in one week, we don’t very often do that,” said Davies. “I’m in good shape and I’m looking forward to competing in the World Champs.”

New Zealand’s Alana Barber clocked a 21:59.41 PB in second while Gemma Bridge, who won at the British Grand Prix of Race Walking with a 92:33 PB to go No.2 on the UK all-time rankings and also book her place for London, was disqualified.

The long jump had looked set to be one of the contests of the weekend, with heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson initially expected to compete along with world indoor medallist Lorraine Ugen, European champion Jazmin Sawyers and British record-holder and world medallist Shara Proctor.

But Proctor was forced to withdraw after suffering a concussion in a car accident the day before, while Johnson-Thompson missed the trials in order to focus on her heptathlon preparations. “Down but not out,” Proctor tweeted before the competition as she shared a statement explaining her absence.

Ugen went on to claim victory with a leap of 6.59m in the third round before passing her remaining attempts, but Sawyers was left gutted after three fouls saw her take an early exit from the competition. With the World Championships in mind, she later said there is still time for her to prove that she is in shape.

Rebecca Chapman stepped up to secure silver with a PB performance of 6.54m. Under-20 Holly Mills also jumped a personal best and her 6.31m leap bagged her the bronze.

Jade Lally was another to book her place on the team for London following her discus win with a throw of 58.14m together with her qualifying standard of 62.15m from earlier this year. Kirsty Law was second with 52.73m and Shadine Duquemin third with 51.31m.

UK leader Laura Whittingham lived up to her favourite status in the javelin as she won with a best throw of 52.07m from defending champion Jo Blair with 51.31m, while Rachel Wallader retained the shot put title with a throw of 16.70m to finish ahead of Amelia Strickler with 16.59m.

There was a surprise winner in the women’s 3000m steeplechase as Iona Lake, contesting the event for the first time this year after injury, came close to her PB with 9:57.53 to take the title ahead of Charlotte Taylor-Green and Katie Ingle.

Favourite Lennie Waite, who was second in the European Team Championships and close to the qualifying standard, had a bad day and finished fourth.