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Trial and adulation at Indoor champs

PICTURED: Naomi Ogbeta and Asha Philip

ASHA PHILIP scored a British Athletics Indoor Championship hat-trick in Birmingham as the championships at Arena Birmingham delivered countless eye-catching performances.

Claiming what was her third 60m title in a row and ninth British title indoors and out, Philip’s season’s best equalling run demonstrated she has the consistency to be a genuine medal contender at the World Indoor Championships on the very same track in two weeks’ time.

European Indoor champion last year with a 7.06 personal best and British record, Philip was then part of the silver medal winning GB quartet at the London 2017 World Championships and is making a habit of winning international medals.

“I felt like I had a great winter and the indoor season has started well, so I just had to execute the race and confirm my place on the team for the World Indoor Championships. It is a bit daunting competing here.

"The next time I’m in here, I’ll be racing at the World Indoors so that was in the back of my mind. It did build up a bit of tension but it was the perfect rehearsal.

“I will only accept a medal at the World Indoors. This is my time – I’ve finished fourth and fifth, and gone out in semi-finals, but I’m not doing that this time.”

In the battle for the minor medals Daryll Neita just got the better of 200m specialist Bianca Williams, the pair crossing the line in 7.26 and 7.28, both also possessing the World Indoor qualifying time.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson underlined her class as she took the women’s long jump title with a 6.71m season’s best, confirming that her preparations for the forthcoming World Championships are right on track.

“I feel really good after that – I’m happy with the distance and to complete all six jumps is really encouraging,” she enthused. KJT added: “The main focus is the pentathlon in ten days so this was great preparation.”

In a hotly anticipated men’s 60m final CJ Ujah showed why he is one of the country’s biggest talents, taking the British title and booking his Birmingham 2018 spot.

A measured run saw the Diamond League 100m champion take no risks in the blocks, moving through the field to cross the line in 6.56, the second quickest time of his career.

“The main thing was to come here and secure my spot on the team. 6.56 – I’m happy with that but my experienced showed. I did what I needed to do. I’m 23 and this is my second British indoor title – it is an amazing feeling, truly.

“I needed a run-out on this track as it’s a perfect warm-up for a couple of weeks’ time. I cannot wait to be competing at the World Indoors, it will be a very special event.”

Blistering out of the blocks it was Andrew Robertson who led for the most part, the defending champion setting a huge season’s best of 6.62, with Welshman Sam Gordon running a 6.67 personal best for bronze.

In the field, there was a heart warming win for Naomi Ogbeta who continues to go from strength to strength and is the brightest talent that British triple jumping has had for some time.

The Greater Manchester athlete hopped, stepped and jumped to a 13.65m personal best and the British Indoor title. Nathan Douglas won the men’s event with his very first jump, a 16.77m season’s best enough to see off Julian Reed.

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