SCOTLAND’s Andrew Lemoncello became the first winner of a title at this year’s Sainsbury’s British Championships in Birmingham last night when he claimed the 10,000 metres with a storming sprint down the home straight.
The 30-year-old from St Andrews was originally on schedule for a Commonwealth Games qualifying mark of 29 minutes, but the race became a cagey affair and in the end he crossed the line in 29min 28.72sec, ahead of English pair Scott Overall and Keith Gerrard. The three-day event doubles up as the trials for next month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, but no Briton is close to the qualifying time for that.
Lemoncello’s race was the only final of day one, and incorporated the women’s 10,000, which had just one entrant – Alyson Dixon from Sunderland. Dixon had to run most of the 25 laps in isolation, but stayed the course to cross the line in 34: 46.75 to become the second champion of the weekend.
Meanwhile, Chris O’Hare’s dream of being selected for Moscow moved a step closer to real when he qualified in comfort for today’s final of the 1,500 metres. The Scot, one of only two Britons to have recorded a B standard, stayed out of trouble in his heat at the Sainsbury’s British Championships to go through in second place. O’Hare’s time of 3mins 44.93 sec was almost ten seconds down on the personal best he set in Belgium last weekend, but, in humid conditions, the Tulsa University student knew he needed to conserve energy.
O’Hare’s fellow-Scot David Bishop timed his strike for home well to win the first heat, while both Kris Gauson and 2010 Commonwealth Games competitor Alistair Hay went through as fastest losers. However, in the second heat, Edinburgh’s Jake Wightman paid the price for trying to stay with the pace early on and was run out of the qualifying places. Sheffield’s Lee Emanuel, the other man to have a B standard, was third in his heat and also went through.
In the heats of the men’s 400m hurdles there was a nasty fall for Nathan Woodward, who was only just returning to action after an Achilles tendon tear in February. Rhys Williams was the fastest qualifier for today’s final when he won the first heat in 50.37sec, while his fellow-Welshman, Dai Greene, took the third heat in 50.51.
Greene, who, as a defending world champion, has been selected automatically for Moscow, is, in fact, the only world or Olympic champion on show this weekend following the withdrawals of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford. “ Greene will be favourite to win the final, but Williams looks on better form this year than he was last, and is confident he has more in the tank
Inverness Harriers’ Jamie Bowie ran a personal best of 46.32 to win his heat of the 400m, closing down Richard Strachan, of Trafford, in the home straight. Only heat-one winner Michael Bingham (46.28) ran faster. “Ten days ago I ran a personal best, so I’m really happy to improve it,” Bowie said. “I’m just coming into good form. I’m going to have to go faster if I want to get from the semis into the final.”
Bowie’s training partner Gemma Nicol came third in her heat, behind former world champion Christine Ohuruogu and Kelly Massey. That was enough for Nicol to go through to today’s final as a fastest loser, while her fellow-Scot, Kirsten McAslan, qualified by right, coming second in her heat, which was won by Shana Cox.
Emily Dudgeon, from Edinburgh, came second behind Marilyn Okoro in the heats of the 800, and that was also enough to progress to the final today. English teenager Jessica Judd gave further evidence of her substantial promise by winning her heat, and former Scotland captain Claire Gibson qualified behind Judd as a fastest loser.
The first event of the meeting, the heats of the men’s 100m, saw some familiar names come to the fore, with Dwain Chambers the oldest and most well-known of them. Now 35, Chambers clocked the fastest time of the night in winning the last heat in 10.06sec. Other heat winners included Joel Fearon (10.27), Mark Lewis-Francis (10.29), Harry Aikines-Aryeety (10.31), and James Dasaolu (10.31).
“That actually came as a surprise,” Chambers admitted after his win. “It’s not going to be easy and I’ve still got two rounds to negotiate tomorrow. I have to have more in the tank.”
Gemili wins under-23 gold
ADAM Gemili won 100m gold for Britain at the European Under-23 Championships in Tampere, Finland, last night.
Gemili clocked 10.20sec to finish ahead of team-mate Deji Tobais, who took silver in 10.29secs.
Gemili’s time, though, was outside the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the senior World Championships in Moscow next month – 10.15s – leaving him relying on the discretion of the selectors to get a 100m place for the Russian showpiece. Jodie Williams won silver in the women’s 100m, clocking 11.42 to finish behind winner Dafne Schippers of Holland (11.13).
Scottish high-jumpers Jax Thoirs and Allan Smith both made the high jump final, while Banchory and Stonehaven AC’s Rhona Auckland was ninth in the 10,000m final.