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British Olympic trials



NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AND OLYMPIC TRIALS
Friday 11 July to Sunday 13 July

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Highlights: British Olympic trials

Greg Rutherford produced his best long jump of the season at the British Olympic trials to win the national title and book his place in Beijing.

The 21-year-old proved he was back to his best after injury by nailing the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.20m.

Michael Rimmer delivered a stunning sprint finish to capture a third national 800m title in a row ahead of in-form 1500m specialist Andy Baddeley. The bulk of Great Britain's Olympic squad will be announced on Monday.

"I've had a terrible week-and-a-half," said Rutherford, who recently found out his grandfather has terminal cancer.

"I thought I was going to be struggling but I just had to go for it and I'm glad I'm back.

"So here we go for the Olympics now and I easily believe I can go out and get an Olympic medal."

Chris Kirk finished second with a mark of 7.93m but 2004 Olympic finalist Chris Tomlinson, who jumped the Olympic standard last season, was down in fifth and must rely on the selectors' discretion.

606: DEBATE
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Rimmer became the first athlete since Steve Ovett in 1974, 1975 and 1976 to win a third straight 800m title.

The 22-year-old put his foot down over the final 100m to win in one minute 49.14 ahead of Baddeley with Richard Hill third.

"That's what I came here for, to do three in a row and equal Steve Ovett's record," Rimmer told BBC Sport.

"In a sadistic way I'm glad Andy was in the race as it added a bit of spice. I was confident but I also had self conflict - that's when I'm at my best."

Illness forced British number three Jenny Meadows out of the women's event but an exciting final is in prospect on Sunday with Marilyn Okoro, Jemma Simpson and Vicky Griffiths all advancing.

Griffiths was the fastest qualifer in two minutes 4.55 secs but is still chasing the Olympic qualifying mark of two minutes, which Okoro, Simpson and Meadows already have.

Jeanette Kwakye used her strength to claim the women's 100m final in a personal best 11.27 seconds ahead of Montell Douglas.

Emma Ania, the fastest woman in the field, stumbled just before the line and literally scraped across the line in fourth.

"I'm so excited," Essex sprinter Kwakye told the BBC. "All year we've been training to Beijing and now it's finally happening."

In the absence of Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell was a clear winner in the 400m, crossing the line in 52.31 secs.

World champion Ohuruogu has chosen to contest the 200m in Birmingham while Sanders pulled out before the heats with a slight quad strain.

Kelly Sotherton
Sotherton is testing her form and fitness on home soil in Birmingham

Both are expected to be selected for the Olympic Games ahead of Vicky Barr, who finished runner-up to McConnell, because they both have the Olympic qualifying standard of 51.55 secs.

Sanders, the world silver medallist, withdrew from the event as a precautionary measure but expects to return to full fitness soon.

"I felt a slight twinge in my left quadriceps, which worsened as I was warming up," she said.

"It's nothing serious but I have withdrawn as a precaution. I will certainly be fit for the London Grand Prix."

In the men's 400m flat, defending British champion Andrew Steele was the fastest qualifier for Sunday's final with a time of 45.73 secs.

But title favouriteMartyn Rooney also eased through (46.56) as did Rob Tobin (46.56).

Lisa Dobriskey unleashed a sprint finish to claim the 1500m in four minutes 15.84 secs ahead of Susan Scott and Hannah England.

All three already have the Olympic standard and will all expect to be Beijing bound.

Teenager Perri Shakes Drayton overtook Tasha Danvers coming off the final bend to claim the 400m hurdles title in a personal best of 56.09.

In the men's 100m hurdles, Andy Turner pulled away from Allan Scott to claim the British crown for a second time, winning in 13.58 secs.

Turner, who won Commonwealth and European bronze in 2006, already has the Olympic qualifying time of 13.55 secs.

Andy Vernon took the men's 5,000m title in 13.54:26 and with no British athlete, including European silver medallist Mo Farah, having the Olympic standard he could be named for Beijing.

Farah moved safely through the 1500m heats where Nick McCormick was the fastest qualifier with a time of 3.47:33.

In the field, heptathlete Kelly Sotherton is using the trials to warm up for her tilt at the Olympic heptathlon title.

The 31-year-old, who is recovering from a kidney infection, began with the shot put final, where she finished ninth after reaching 13.68m.

Jo Duncan, who works as a pastry chef, took the national title with a throw of 15.99m.

Sotherton then finished third in the high jump final, won by Stephanie Pywell, with a clearance of 1.78m.

"I've got a record of performing terribly at the national championships," said Sotherton. "So I'm not too bothered, though my shot was awful.

"I tore my quad three weeks ago so it's not ideal preparation for Beijing. But I'm not worried because my training's gone well."

Elsewhere, Emma Lyons took the pole vault title with a personal best leap of 4.12m while Emma Carpenter set a PB of 57.26m to win the discus.

Zoe Derham won the hammer title after launching hers 67.27m but is still short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 69.50m.

In the final field event of the day, Michael Allen claimed the men's javelin title with a throw of 75.07m. The Olympic standard is 81.80m.

On Friday, Mike Floyd won the men's hammer with a personal best throw of 69.68m, and Nadia Williams won the triple jump with an effort of 13.35m.

Phillips Idowu
Idowu is set to go to Beijing as one of Britain's best medal hopes

Under the governing body's selection criteria, athletes must finish first or second at the trials and have already achieved the qualifying standard for their event.

The guidelines also stipulate athletes must have a proven record of top-eight finishes at Olympic or World Championship level - or the potential to achieve that in the future.

UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins has set a target of winning five medals in Beijing next month and will select the athletes capable of delivering that haul on Monday.

UKA estimate they will announce around 60 athletes on Monday with the team finalised the following Saturday.

Paula Radcliffe has already been selected for Beijing but is waiting to make a last-minute decision on her participation in the Olympic marathon.

The world record-holder revealed she had suffered a low-grade stress fracture to her thigh in May and is facing a race against time to be fit for a fourth Olympic appearance.

Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi, Liz Yelling and Dan Robinson have all been pre-selected for the marathon while Johanna Jackson has been selected for the 20km walk.

Sotherton will expect to see her name on the team-sheet, despite not taking part in a heptathlon ahead of the Beijing Games.

Dean Macey, who has not competed since winning the 2006 Commonwealth decathlon trial, is competing in Hexham this weekend to try and prove his Olympic fitness.




see also
Team GB for Beijing
01 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Athletics on the BBC
28 May 08 |  Athletics
Chambers storms to 100m victory
12 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Macey on track for Olympic mark
12 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Benjamin unavailable for Olympics
10 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Sanders prepared for Birmingham
27 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe 'on schedule' for Games
20 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Edwards tips Idowu for Olympics
26 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Tomlinson upbeat on GB medal haul
13 Jun 08 |  Athletics


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