Dasaolu gettting British sprinting back to its best

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UK Athletics performance director Neil Black believes British sprinting is in its best place for a long time, highlighted by James Dasaolu’s “incredible” sub-ten second performance on Saturday.

The 25-year-old produced the run of his life at the Sainsbury’s British Championships in Birmingham, blazing through his 100 metres semi-final in 9.91 seconds.

Dasaolu’s time is the second quickest of all time by a Briton, after Linford Christie, and is faster than any posted by Usain Bolt this year.

The veteran did not compete in the final, but is all but assured a place at next month’s World Championships, where he will join Dwain Chambers after he romped to victory in the final in a season best 10.04s.

Mark Lewis-Francis, Andrew Robertson and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey finished not far behind the veteran and will likely compete with Adam Gemili for the final of three spots in the side – a welcome problem for Black.

“It is incredible,” Black said of Dasaolu’s performance. “I think the thing about it was one of a series of really, really fast runs.

“It is the first time in some time actually we’ve had a choice in terms of the challenge of who do we actually select to take to the major championships of the year. We’re incredibly happy about it, incredibly happy for James, but backed up by Harry, backed up by Mark Lewis-Francis running fast again, by Andy Robertson, Adam Gemili running fast and winning out at the age-group championships. Sprinting is in a really great place.

“It’s now for the selectors to select and that’s what we’re there to do.

“We’re constantly in contact with all the athletes and their coaches and we’re fully updated to take that into selection meeting on Monday and do exactly what we’ve got to do – select the best team.”

Performance director Black will oversee head coach duties for the World Championships after Peter Eriksson stood down in May. He is confident heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill will be available to compete in Moscow after an ankle complaint, although he admits he still has concerns about long jumper Greg Rutherford’s hamstring injury.

“I think there’s a natural post-London Olympic and Paralympic set of circumstances where the timings are different, where athletes have had to deal with the fundamental high stresses of the success and the things that come with it,” Black told BBC Radio Five’s Sportsweek programme.

“Jess and Greg are a couple of those athletes where the timings hasn’t worked quite right. Jess is clearly on the way back and we’re really, really optimistic, but with Greg we have decisions to make over the next few days.

In yesterday’s action meanwhile, Michael Rimmer claimed his sixth national title with victory in the 800 metres. The 27-year-old kicked as he came off the back straight and pulled clear of the field, but only just managed to hold off the fast-finishing Mukhtar Mohammed as he ran out of gas as he approached the line.

The former European silver medallist finished in one minute 47.79 seconds and, with this event doubling up as the trials for next month’s World Championships in Moscow, sealed his place on the team. Mohammed came home just 0.07secs further back.

Rimmer, whose preparation has been disrupted by injury, said: “It was the worst possible race, scrappy, pushing, dodging and weaving.

“It was a tough last 50 metres. I was so scared. I could tell from the crowds that there was someone coming, but luckily I sneaked in on the line.

“Now I need to get some good training in before Moscow.”

Nigel Levine joined the Liverpool athlete on the plane as he claimed the 400m crown in 45.23s, giving him the ‘A’ qualifying standard he needed. Brett Morse booked his spot with a commanding victory in the discus, 62.05m his winning throw.

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