2011 European Indoor champion Jenny Meadows (coach: Trevor Painter, Wigan AC) used her experience to great effect on day two of the Sainsbury's Indoor British Championships in Sheffield to take gold in the women's 800m.
Meadows controlled the race from the front as she secured a remarkable seventh British title in 2:01.43. Fastest in the world this year, the 33-year-old heads to the European Indoor Championships in Prague next month as the one to beat.
"I went off way too quick! I was a bit shocked at how fast I ran the first 400m so I backed off but then that made me lose momentum so I should have had more faith in myself to carry on at that pace," she said.
"I wanted to kick myself as I could have run quicker and maybe got another sub-two minute clocking. It's my seventh title and I'm starting to feel in the form of my life so I hope to get some true results in the major championships this year."
Silver medallist Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola, WSEH) also ran a great race, setting a new personal best of 2.02.91 to dip inside the European standard.
Abigail Irozuru (Dan Pfaff, Sale Harriers) also heads to the Czech Republic after a terrific performance in the women's long jump. The 25 year old secured gold with a leap of 6.73m, an amazing 43cm further than her previous indoor best.
"It's great to come away with my first senior title and a personal best. To jump 6.73m gives me confidence as it's the European standard," she said.
Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell, Blackheath & Bromley) will also line up at the European Indoor Championships after a powerful display in the 60m hurdles. The 24-year-old, who finished second here last year, clocked 8.04 – one hundredth of a second inside the qualifying time required to secure a place on the GB & NI team.
"I can't believe it – I'm so excited [to get the European Indoors qualifying standard]. I knew it was a tough field – I just thought, you have nothing to lose so go for it. The ideal scenario was always to win and get the time but to actually do it is the dream for the athlete."
It was close but no cigar for Lucy Hatton (Jerzy Maciukiewicz, Corby) who was runner-up, just 0.01 seconds outside the Prague mark she has been closing in on all season. There were personal bests for Yasmin Miller (Lloyd Cowan, Derby) and Saturday's star Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes, Liverpool) who clocked 8.18 and 8.25 for third and fourth.
European Under 23 Championship bronze medallist Allan Smith (Bryan Roy, Shaftesbury Barnet) booked his place on the plane bound for Prague with a superb performance in the men's high jump. The 22-year-old added 4cm to his indoor personal best as he cleared 2.29m to secure gold.
"It was nice to jump the qualifying standard today. I didn't come in with big aims, I just wanted to see how I got on. Really, I know that on a world stage, 2.29m isn't that high so I want to jump higher now."
British number one and local hero Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox, The Dearne ALC) showed his class in the men's pole vault competition, clearing 5.55m in his second attempt to retain the title he won last year.
"It's a bit of shame that I didn't manage 5.70m today; I wanted it really but it's all down to the selectors now [ahead of the European Indoors]. I know I've got that jump in me but at least I finished in the position which I needed. I came here to do a job and get the win."
Back on the track, Nigel Levine (Linford Christie, WSEH) clinched a record fifth 400m national indoor title, earning himself the Sainsbury's Performance of the Day Award.
The 2013 European Indoor silver medallist powered out of the blocks and led all the way, crossing the line in a season's best 46.86. Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt, Birchfield Harriers) took silver whilst bronze went to Jamie Bowie (Piotr Haczek, East Lothian).
Indoor British champion over 800m in Sheffield last year, Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) added the 1,500m title to her collection with a dominant performance on the EIS track, clocking 4:13.06 to finish ahead of Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro, Blackburn Harriers) who clinched silver for the second year running.
"I feel I'm running well – I'd like to medal at the Europeans. I'd really love to get my first major championship medal there," said Muir.
Victory in the men's event went to Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg, Brighton Pheonix) who ran a superb last lap to secure gold in convincing style, clocking 3:49.79. Post-race he said:
"It planned out how I wanted it to and I learned from the mistakes I made in last year's race. A medal in Prague at the European Indoor Championships is definitely my aim – the races will be tactical but I'm confident and happy with my speed."
Guy Learmonth (George Gandy, Lasswade) converted multiple silver and bronzes to gold as he led from the gun in the men's 800m, holding off a spirited late challenge by James Bowness (William Parker, Trafford) to take the title in 1:49.00.
"I didn't really realise how close it was," said Learmonth afterwards.
"It wasn't too quick- it was a decent pace. I felt in control. I felt them come onto my shoulder with 200m to go but knew if I had enough in the tank at 600m, then I'd be in a position to win it. It's my first senior national title and I'm absolutely delighted."
There was drama on the track in the women's 400m as the two race leaders, Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball, Trafford) and Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie, Enfield & Haringey) fell with 60m to go. That left the door open for Kirsten McAslan (Painter, Sale Harriers) to come through and take gold with a personal best 53.05, with Laura Maddox (Colin Bovell, Swansea) second in 53.07.
"I wasn't expecting the win at all – it was a really scrappy race so it is a big shock but I'm definitely happy," said McAslan.
In the men's 200m Antonio Infantino (Martey Newman, Shaftesbury Barnet) confirmed his place as the fastest going in to today's event, storming through the heats and semi-finals before taking victory with a personal best of 20.96.
Twins Shannon and Cheriece Hylton (John Blackie, Blackheath & Bromley) battled it out for gold in the women's 200m, but it was Shannon who clinched the title just ahead of her sister, clocking 23.69, her fastest so far this season, whilst Cheriece's time of 23.80 was a new personal best.
"To be British champion is absolutely amazing and to have my sister next to me on the podium is even better. We always spur each other on whenever we are against each other, so it's great to share this with her."
Ireland's Sara Treacy (Baldaro, Birchfield Harriers) left it until the final lap before storming through to victory in the women's 3,000m in 9:06.23, a new personal best. Emilia Gorecka (Mick Woods, AFD) also recorded a new personal best, chasing Treacy hard in the closing 20m to take the top spot on the podium as the first Briton over the line in 9:06.27. Jessica Judd (George Gandy, Chelmsford) clinched silver whilst bronze went to last year's winner Charlene Thomas (Aaron Thomas, Wakefield).
Sunday's competition began with the men's shot put, and it was Zane Duquemin (Shaftesbury Barnet) who claimed the first gold medal of the day, safely retaining the title he won last year with a best of 17.72m.
Paralympic shot put bronze medallist and double IPC world champion Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, FDSW) showed he's ready for the season ahead, increasing his personal best with a throw of 15.93m with the 6kg shot.
One jump was all it took for Commonwealth silver medallist Laura Samuel (Aston Moore, Birchfield Harriers) to successfully defend the triple jump title she won twelve months ago, with 13.66m in her fifth and penultimate attempt.
"Five no-jumps isn't really the best and not exactly what I wanted. I was hoping to get over 14m and got a decent jump in the last round but it wasn't quite enough to go over the mark. It was an indoor PB so I can't complain," she said.
Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake, Tonbridge AC) smashed his lifetime best to take victory in the men's 3,000m walk in a time of 11:30.35, whilst Italy's Tayana Gabellone set a new stadium record in the women's event, clocking 13:24.94. The first Briton across the line, 17-year-old Emma Achurch (Steve Arnold, Leicester WC) set a new British junior record of 13:29.19 to clinch the national title.
After leading overnight, Shaftesbury Barnet and Birchfield Harriers carried on where they left off to win the male and female Club:Connect titles respectively.
Full results can be found here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-indoor-british-champs/athlete-information/
photos Janos Schmidt