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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 13:41 UK

GB women show Berlin credentials

Mark Butler
By Mark Butler
BBC Sport's athletics statistician takes a look at the numbers behind the big races

GB women's past world medal hauls

Britain's women look likely to at least match their best ever medal tally at this year's World Championships, based on what we have seen in the early stages of the season.

The year has not been kind as yet for Kelly Sotherton or Paula Radcliffe, and Olympic javelin finalist Goldie Sayers has also been struck with injury.

But in Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu and Mara Yamauchi we have three solid prospects for medals in Berlin in August.

ENNIS IN WORLD-BEATING FORM

Ennis's re-emergence in Italy in May - 12 months after suffering a stress fracture in her right foot - with a heptathlon score of 6,587 has been the most exciting development.

Ennis
Ennis is arguably the best in the world on day one of the heptathlon

Such a total would have won a medal in 10 of the 11 past World Championships.

With Carolina Klüft still on holiday from the event, arguably only Hyleas Fountain of the USA is capable of producing a score of more than 4,000 on the first day, as Ennis did in Desenzano Del Garda.

Regardless of her heptathlon aspirations, the long-standing British records at 100m hurdles (12.80 seconds) and high jump (1.95m) are within range of the 23-year-old.

Already, she has managed 12.93 sec and 1.90m respectively in 2009.

Jess's second day is her weaker, especially in the long jump, where she has switched her take-off leg following the foot injury which robbed her of her Olympic opportunity last year.

She set another personal best at 800m in Italy and improved her javelin best last weekend in Bedford and there is much more to come from the Sheffield native.

Indeed the athlete who did take Olympic gold - Nataliya Dobrynska of the Ukraine - failed to better Ennis's world lead when winning the important Götzis heptathlon on 31 May.

OHURUOGU SETS PACE IN 400M

Ohuruogu has at last set a British record. No, not at 400m, but the rarely run distance of 150m in the rain at Manchester on 17 May.

In-depth interview - Christine Ohuruogu

While that was a useful outing, more significant is her form at 100m and 200m so far in 2009.

In Hengelo on 1 June she improved her best 200m to 22.85 sec.

By the same date last year she had clocked just 23.28, so things look well ahead of schedule as she attempts to become the first British athlete to successfully defend a world title.

No-one else seems to be setting the world alight in Ohuruogu's main event, where her arch-rival Sanya Richards has already suffered a loss.

World 200m champion Allyson Felix - her of the scorching 48.0 relay leg in Osaka 2007 - is saying that the shorter event will be her priority in Berlin.

606: DEBATE

But the timetable would allow her to double up and - as the defending 200m champion - Felix already has a wildcard entry for that event so could concentrate on the 400m at the tough US Trials.

Talking of which, Ohuruogu has the 400m wildcard so Britain are entitled to have three other women in that event in Berlin.

Nicola Sanders and Lee McConnell already have the 'A' standard of 51.50 seconds, so in theory UKA could select another woman provided she has at least reached the 'B' standard of 52.30.

YAMAUCHI SET TO STEP UP

Yamauchi
Yamauchi has finished in the top 10 at the last Worlds and the Olympics

Like Ennis and Ohuruogu, Mara Yamauchi is an athlete who need not provide any more evidence to prove she can be a contender in Berlin.

She has already been selected for the World Championships following her second place in the London Marathon.

There, she defeated all three Olympic medallists and matched strides with the Berlin favourite Irina Mikitenko for much of the race.

She was ninth at the Worlds in Osaka in 2007 and sixth in Beijing. Could this be her year?

OTHER GB CHALLENGERS

When you add in Tasha Danvers - who has just defeated Olympic champion Melaine Walker - and our relay squads to the mix, the record British woman's medal count of four from Osaka in 2007 seems perfectly possible.

Johanna Jackson
Jackson is Britain's best race walker by far

While perhaps not in line for Berlin medals, I would like to give honourable mentions to Johanna Jackson and Eilidh Child.

Jackson, 24, is far and away our best race walker and has improved her British 20km record already in 2009.

Twenty-two-year-old Child - whose first name is pronounced "A-lee" - clocked a stunning 55.52 sec to win the 400m hurdles at last month's Inter-County Championships.

That moved her from 26th to eighth on the British all-time list and took her to the brink of a World Championship 'A' qualifying standard.

With Danvers, Child, Perri Shakes-Drayton and world junior medallist Meghan Beesley, the women's 400m hurdles is going to be one of the most exciting events in Britain this year.

It is an event Britain will expect to dominate at the European Team Championships in Portugal - the first big test for UK athletes in this World Championship year.

STATISTICS

British women in 2009 World top 20 in World Championship events (as at June 1):

200 Metres

18 - Christine Ohuruogu 22.85

400 Metres

17 - Lee McConnell 51.52

800 Metres

7 - Jenny Meadows 2:00.15

9 - Marilyn Okroro 2:00.58

16 - Jemma Simpson 2:01.58

1500 Metres

10 - Hannah England 4:05.87

5000 Metres

12 - Stephanie Twell 15:18.47

Marathon

2 - Mara Yamauchi 2:23:12

100m Hurdles

16 - Jessica Ennis 12.93

400m Hurdles

4 - Tasha Danvers 55.19

9 - Eilidh Child 55.52

Heptathlon

1 - Jessica Ennis 6587

17 - Phyllis Agbo 5952



see also
Mara runs out from Paula's shadow
26 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Personal best secures Ennis win
10 May 09 |  Athletics
Sayers set for six week lay-off
01 Jun 09 |  Athletics
Radcliffe aiming for world glory
02 Jun 09 |  Athletics
Superb Bolt storms to 150m record
17 May 09 |  Athletics
Will Kenyans run wild in London?
22 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Reasons for cheer after Euros
12 Mar 09 |  Athletics
When is a record not a record?
19 Feb 09 |  Athletics
How Olympic finals were won and lost
28 Jan 09 |  Athletics


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