The sport of Athletics holds their Olympic Trials this coming weekend (22nd – 24th June) at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. There are over 700 athletes expected to compete across all track and field events, vying for those elusive spots on the Olympic team.
There are 3 places in each event up for grabs for athletes. The first 2 past the post at the trials are automatically nominated to the BOA for selection, providing they have a current ‘A’ standard, with a third athlete nominated at the discretion of the selectors. Should no athlete have the ‘A’ standard, one athlete with the ‘B’ standard can be nominated.
The likes of Goldie Sayers (Javelin), Phillips Idowu (Triple Jump), Yamile Aldama (Triple Jump) and Mo Farah (5000m/10000m) are almost guaranteed selection pending the performance at the Trials. For the rest however, there’s all to play for.
The 100m events look to be fairly open. Britain’s current number 1 Adam Gemili is said to be focusing on the World Juniors, so with only one other athlete above the current A standard, the fight for both individual and relay spots is wide open – especially with Dwain Chambers now legible to compete in the Olympics, although he has yet to have achieved the B standard. On the women’s side, Abi Oyepitan (2004 200m finalist) is coming into form at the right moment with A standards in both the 100m and 200m.
For the longer sprint, things look a lot more competitive in the individual battle. Currently, 4 men have the A standard, with a further 4 having the B standard. Martyn Rooney looks the safest bet for an individual spot, with 3 sub-45second clockings this season. Reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu sits top of the rankings for the women so should just need to finish top 2 to guarantee the chance to defend her title. The other automatic spot should see Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders and Scotland’s Lee McConnell battling it out. All 3 are good calls for the relay squad, but only Cox has the current A standard.
What looks to be one of the most competitive events of the trials. Emma Jackson and GB regular Marilyn Okoro both have the A standard. Jemma Simpson and Scotland’s Lynsey Sharp have the B standard and are not too far off the A standard. Junior athlete Jessica Judd is also down to compete, but will have more of a focus on the World Juniors in Barcelona.
Men’s 400m Hurdles
This will have to be one of the “must see” events of the Trials. 5 athletes have met the A standard, but only 3 places are available and it’s fairly open. World, Commonwealth and European Champion Dai Greene sits top of the rankings, but hasn’t raced that well according to his own judgement due to surgery over the winter. Jack Green should be confident of finishing in the top 2 and has added experience of winning the UKA 400m and the 400mH in the Olympic Stadium at the start of May. Richard Yates, who unfairly missed out on selection for the 2008 Games will be determined not to repeat that incident and will also be aiming for a top 2 finish to guarantee selection. After a few years of problems, 2010 Commonwealth and European medallist Rhys Williams is coming into good form, as is European U23 Silver medallist Nathan Woodward. Unfortunately, two of these guys will have to miss out on the Olympic team so there’s everything to fight for.
On the field, the men’s discus could be one of the competitive events. British record holder Lawrence Okoye sits clear at the top and has been the most consistent. Even if he finishes outside the top 2, he should still get selected through the 3rd discretionary place. For the rest, Carl Myerscough is the only other athlete to achieve the current A standard and is also the only athlete to have a B standard in the shotputt. Brett Morse and Abdul Buhari have the A standard from 2011, but have not quite shown form this season so could be one of the events to watch on the field.
Robbie Grabarz will be in action in the High Jump and will be looking to match the form that has so far taken him into the top 10 in the world with 2.36m and also hints at a possible medal when the Olympics come around.
Golden girl Jessica Ennis is also making an appearance at the trials – competing in the 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Long Jump and 200m. It’s interesting to note that her performances this year give her good chances of individual medals across all 4 events.