Birmingham, UKWorld champion Dai Greene and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu secured berths for the London 2012 Olympic Games while Dwain Chambers took another step towards securing his when he brought the second day of the Aviva UK Trials to a fist-pumping finish by winning the men’s 100m title in Birmingham on Saturday (23).
Chambers beat Britain’s bright new hope Adam Gemili in 10.25 and will now aim for the Olympic qualifier of 10.18 at the European Championships in Helsinki next week.
Gemili was one of a clutch of athletes to secure selection in the day as he took second in 10.29.
The 18-year-old, who ran 10.08 in Germany a few weeks ago, looked a likely winner after posting the fastest times in the first two rounds. But Chambers, at 34, made his experience tell to hold off the fast-finishing youngster and record his best time of the year into a -0.1m/s headwind on a cold, windy day.
The relief was obvious. Chambers roared in triumph as he crossed the line before leaping around the track, eyes popping and veins out.
"I was so scared because the heat and semi-final had not gone well," said Chambers, who had struggled to break clear of Simeon Williamson to make the final.
"I had great pressure here but I relied on my experience and that’s what pulled me through today. I felt Adam coming and I was saying to myself, 'Stay ahead, stay ahead.’
"Now this is over I can concentrate on getting the time. I’ve still got a journey to go but I am hoping to be there as part of the British team at the Olympic Games."
Gemili’s journey is just beginning. Just 12 months after leaving lower league football to take up sprinting full-time, the teenager could now race at a home Olympics just a few weeks after going into the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona as one of the favourites.
James Dasaolu, third in 10.31, may also have made the Olympic team. Although he missed the two automatic spots he is currently the only other Briton with the A standard.
Simeon Williamson finished fourth in the final with 10.33 having set a season’s best of 10.29 in the semis. The 'old guard’ of Christian Malcolm and Mark Lewis-Francis finished fifth and sixth, while former World finalist Marlon Devonish and Olympic semi-finalist Tyrone Edgar failed to make the final.
Greene and Ohuruogu cruise onwards
Among those who guaranteed their Olympic team selection here were Greene, Britain’s World 400m hurdles champion, and Ohuruogu, the host country’s only reigning Olympic champion.
Greene coped best with the blustery conditions to win one of the most competitive finals of the championships. He led his training partner Jack Green home in 49.47 from a starting line-up that included five men with the Olympic standard.
Greene clipped a hurdle coming into the final straight but held his form to win comfortably as Rhys Williams tumbled and Nathan Woodward crashed into the penultimate barrier.
"A few people fell and a lot of people were hitting hurdles so it wasn’t very easy out there," said Greene.
"It’s nice to get it out of the way because I wanted to make the team. If a few things go wrong you could be out the mix but it’s nice to seal my place."
While Greene is still short of his best following a virus, Ohuruogu appears to be approaching her’s at just the right time.
Ohuruogu looked full of strength in the women’s 400m as she pulled away from Shana Cox over the final 50 metres to win in 51.89, the end of what she called a three-day "replication" of the Olympic programme.
"I did a time trial on Thursday and the heats last night," she explained. "I’m not happy with the time in the final but it’s all about putting together the Olympic programme."
Cox was second in 52.87.
Ennis looking to double in London
Jessica Ennis is another big-name Briton in form. The Heptathlon star, who broke the British record in Gotzis, claimed two titles in less than two hours here.
She won the High Jump with 1.89m, her best of the outdoor season, and then beat British record holder Tiffany Porter in the 100m Hurdles – the first such double at the championships since 2007.
Ennis finished strongly in 12.93 in the hurdles final before confirming that she hopes to compete in that event at the Olympics.
"When I’ve done all I’ve got to do in the Heptathlon I’d like to focus on the hurdles and see what happens," she said.
Porter hit the final barrier hard but still finished second in 13.21.
"It was a great race," added Ennis. "To win it was brilliant. To know that I’m in good shape and things are moving forward is great."
Baddeley takes tactical 1500m
Andrew Baddeley won the men’s 1500m in the absence of Mo Farah who scratched from the final to focus on defending his European 5000m title in Helsinki next week.
Farah won his heat on Friday evening just hours after arriving from his base in the United States, then watched from the stands as Kenenisa Bekele broke the all-comers’ 10,000m record. He announced his withdrawal on Saturday morning.
Baddeley won in 3:47.99 from Ross Murray who was rewarded for his brave burst 300m out to gain an Olympic place in second.
Sophie Hitchon was the first athlete to guarantee her spot on the team as she won the women’s hammer with a championships record of 69.79m. Hitchon exceeded the A standard when she broke the British record with 71.61m back in April.
World No.1 Greg Rutherford guaranteed his place by winning the Long Jump with 8.12m. JJ Jegede was second with 7.90m, a centimetre ahead of Chris Tomlinson.
Steve Lewis also did enough when he won the pole vault with 5.50m. Lee Doran improved his personal best by more than a metre to win the men’s javelin and exceeded the Olympic B standard with 79.72.
Selection issues are less clear in some other events, however, not least the women’s 800m.
Linsey Sharp won a crazy final in which Marilyn Okoro paid for a suicidal first lap of 57.65. Okoro passed the bell 10 metres clear but was chased down by 17-year-old Jessica Judd and Jemma Simpson before Sharp came late to win in 2:01.72.
Sharp still needs the A standard while Okoro, who has it, put her selection in doubt by fading to fifth. Simpson was second in 2:02.29 just ahead of Judd, while Jenny Meadows, missing through injury, will race in Helsinki.
Ashleigh Nelson was the surprise winner of an eventful women’s 100m final in 11.50, a hundredth ahead of Anyika Onuora with Montell Douglas third in 11.52.
World junior champion Jodie Williams crashed out of the race 20 metres from the line clutching her left leg. Abi Oyepitan, the fastest qualifier, was a surprise non-starter in the final.
Following the late withdrawal of European champion Phillips Idowu, Larry Achike won his second successive triple jump title with 16.19m.
Eden Francis won the women’s shot and discus double with 16.13m and 53.09m.
Michael Bingham was one of the casualties of the day’s heats. The European silver medallist failed to make the 400m final when he was second to British No.1 Martyn Rooney, his 46.78 not enough to be a fastest loser.
There was better news for Lisa Dobriskey, the 2009 world 1500m silver medallist, who has "climbed an absolute mountain", in her words, to return from a pulmonary embolism. Dobriskey was fastest qualifier for Sunday’s final in 4:15.39.
World indoor bronze medallist Andrew Osagie cruised through the men’s 800m heats in 1:50.35 while Perri Shakes-Drayton and Eilidh Child progressed to the 400m hurdles final.
There was another demonstration of Ethiopian 10,000m prowess to end the day’s programme as Worknesh Kidane won the women’s race in 31:28.19 after Meselech Melkamu dropped out.