The best in the country will descend on Birmingham this coming weekend as British titles and spots on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the IAAF World Championships are decided.
Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie; club: Blackheath & Bromley) headlines a weekend of incredible athletics at the Alexander Stadium where the top athletes in the country compete alongside the up-and-coming.
Triple European champion from 2018, Asher-Smith is fresh off the back of a second-place finish in the 200m at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham but will contest the 100m where she’ll look to defend her title after clocking a Championship record on the way to victory in 2018.
In the men’s equivalent, Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet) is huge favourite to claim his first British 100m title. Hughes’ time of 9.95 seconds at the Müller Anniversary Games makes him the fastest man in the field, with his presence in the 200m field as well an eye-catcher given no man has won both titles since Marlon Devonish in 2007.
In the women’s 200m, Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) will look to defend her title in the same stadium where she broke the Championship record last year, with closest competition likely to come from Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix) and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka; City of Stoke) among others.
In field action, European indoor silver medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) goes in search of a seventh British outdoor title in the women’s pole vault, while Commonwealth champion and world No.4 Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border) goes in the hammer throw. With both athletes already holding the world qualifying standards in their events respectively, they will look to secure a top-two finish to complete the job.
On the long jump runway – and having finally leapt the qualifying mark at last Sunday’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham at the Alexander Stadium – Abigail Irozuru (self-coached; Sale Harriers Manchester) will be seeking to confirm her place on the team in Doha as she continues a fine return to the sport.
Sure to be hot on Irozuru’s heels, though all in need of the qualifying mark themselves, are Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson; Thames Valley), Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield) and Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke), with the trio all playing starring roles in a memorable competition last time out.
Leading the charge in the men’s 800m is European indoor silver medallist Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers), with his personal best of 1:44.52 set this year the quickest time produced by a Brit since 2013. With the event seeing eight athletes hold the world qualifying standard however, it is all to play for.
With only five of the eight qualifiers racing the 800m, the other three missing qualifiers have opted for the 1500m instead. Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh), Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey; Edinburgh) and Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix) all hold the standards over both events,three of five in total who have the world qualifier in the 1500m with all of them racing the distance this weekend.
The women’s 5000m sees international medallists Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill), Laura Weightman (Steve Cram; Morpeth) and Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark; Poole) as the leading trio coming into the event, with five out of the seven in total who have the standard racing.
Major Events Director, Cherry Alexander OBE said:
“The Müller British Athletics Championships is one of the stand-out fixtures in the calendar for our sport and holds pivotal importance in the season.
“With places up for grabs in the team for the IAAF World Championships, and also several of the country’s leading para athletes competing here as a crucial part of their preparation for the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai later in the year, this is set to be a hotly-contested two days of domestic athletics action.
“In regards to engaging the local community, we are also playing host to another Couch to 5k for women only before the action begins on day two (Sunday 25 August) of the championships, with all of those who take part receiving a complimentary ticket to watch Sunday’s action.”
“Finally, we look forward to welcoming both fans and athletes to Birmingham for this bumper weekend of athletics, and once again we are delighted to have the support of BBC once again who are broadcasting the Championships across the network.”
Tickets for the Müller British Athletics Championships are on sale at www.theticketfactory.com/british-athletics