Despite being below his best, European Indoor champion Phillips Idowu produced the second longest leap in the world this year to win the men’s triple jump at the Norwich Union World Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield this afternoon (Sunday 10 Feb) and then set his sights on a medal at the 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships, Valencia, Spain, next month (7 – 9 March).
“It wasn’t really as far as I wanted but I’ll take it,” said Idowu, who beat Nathan Douglas (16.72m) with a winning jump of 17.24m.
Idowu booked his passage to Spain despite only managing two valid jumps and skipping two rounds because of dizziness.
“I was a little bit tired and I got a bit light headed but obviously I don’t have many competitions before the World Indoors so I thought I should get as many jumps in as I can,” he said.
Tomlinson - a below par victory
Chris Tomlinson, the British Long Jump record holder and another potential Valencia medallist, was below his best but like Idowu he still did enough to come out on top. The world number two this year, Tomlinson won with a jump of 7.80m to beat Jonathan Moore. He produced a consistent series with three other jumps of more than 7.70m.
Tomlinson heads to Athens next week where he will take on the world number one, outdoor World champion Irving Saladino in what could be a rehearsal of the World Indoor final. “Today was just about winning,” he said. “But I am focused on that one.”
Ennis rises to 1.92m PB
Jessica Ennis won’t be going to Valencia – she says all her focus this year is on the Beijing Olympics – but that didn’t stop the home-town girl getting the best of her multi-eventing rival Kelly Sotherton.
Ennis set a new personal best and stadium record of 1.92m to win the women’s High Jump and then took three good attempts at a British record of 1.96m. “I’m sure I’m going to get there,” she said.
Sotherton finished third but could only clear 1.79m, 9cm below her best.
They were closer in the 60m hurdles though, an event won by Sarah Claxton in 8.09, a fraction inside the World Indoor qualifying time. Claxton, the British record holder, was delighted and surprised to hear that she will be heading to Spain. “I had been told that the standard was 7.96,” she said. “To be told 8.09 is good enough is great.”
Ennis was just 0.02s outside her PB with 8.20 in third while Sotherton clocked 8.26 in fourth, 0.07s outside her best.
“I’m really happy with the weekend and the way it’s gone, although I would have preferred a better time in the hurdles,” said Ennis before confirming that next weekend’s Grand Prix in Birmingham is her final indoor competition of the season.
Despite her poor form in the high jump, Sotherton remained upbeat about her prospects in Valencia after a busy weekend. “I never compete too well at this time of year,” she said. “But I know I’ll be right in Spain.”
The two meet again in Sotherton’s home town next weekend when they’ll take on Carolina Kluft in a specially arranged four-event competition.
6.56 sec clocking for Chambers
Dwain Chambers moved into fourth place on the world lists when he won a controversial 60m final, the focus of the day’s track action and the climax of the championships.
The 28-year-old, returning to the the sport after a year out, blasted to 6.56 to beat the much-fancied Craig Pickering, the silver medalllist at last year’s European Indoor championships, then celebrated victory by pumping his fists and throwing his running vest into the crowd.
Pickering, who won this title last year, was blown away in a tense final, finishing fifth in 6.70 while European under 23 100m champion Simeon Williamson was second in 6.61, with Rikki Fifton third.
“It’s been a long while but that showed that all my work is paying off,” said Chambers who caused one false start before the race then stopped the clock just 0.01s outside his own PB.
“Despite the stuff I’ve had to deal with I still kept my cool,” he added, referring to the enormous media attention his return has generated. “It wasn’t easy down there on the start. Now I’m just going to keep moving forwards.”
The favourite for the women’s 60m didn’t fare too well either. British number one Jeanette Kwakye set a stadium record of 7.22 in the semifinal but was forced to pull out of the final with an injury. In her absence, Laura Turner retained her title in 7.32, 0.02s outside the qualifying time for Valencia.
There were Valencia qualifying marks for a clutch of middle distance runners, however.
Jemma Simpson celebrated her birthday by winning the women’s 1500m in 4:13.99 ahead of Susan Scott and Katrina Wootton; Richard Hill won the men’s 800m in 1:48.26 ahead of the favourite Sam Ellis; and Helen Clitheroe denied Lisa Dobriskey a third consecutive 3000m title, sprinting past the Commonwealth 1500m champion to win in 8:56.15.
For the second year in a row the women’s 800m came down to a battle between Jenny Meadows and Marilyn Okoro. Okoro, third in last year’s World Athletics Final, took up the pace early and sped through 400m in 59.70.
She held on until the last 15 metres when Meadows’ strength took her to victory in 2:01.97, the sixth quickest in the world this year.
Buck PBs again with 46.53 sec run
James McIlroy held off Michael East to win the men’s 1500m in 3:44.90, while Richard Buck, conqueror of double World Indoor champion Alleyne Francique two weeks ago, won the 400m in 46.53, his second personal best of the weekend and fourth fastest in the world.
The 18-year-old Meghan Beesly was the surprise winner of a scrappy women’s 400m final in 54.88, while Kate Dennison won the Pole Vault with 4.25m before taking three attempts at the British record of 4.45m.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF
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