A guide to the action in Manchester, Loughborough and Lee Valley this weekend as athletes try to qualify for the European Indoor Champs in Poland
When the pandemic put paid to plans to stage the British Indoor Championships in Glasgow this month, three micro-meetings were created to act as selection trials for the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland, on March 4-7.
Lee Valley in north London stages events this Saturday (Feb 20) with Loughborough hosting competitions on Sunday (Feb 21) and Manchester over both days (Feb 20-21). Here are some of the leading contenders at each meeting followed by a timeline of how the weekend is set to unfold.
Lee Valley – February 20
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, the reigning British 100m champion, leads the entries for the men’s 60m and faces the last two national indoor 60m gold medallists – Andy Robertson, the champion 12 months ago, and Dom Ashwell, the winner in 2019 – plus the in-form Oliver Bromby.
Initially there was no women’s 60m but it has been put back into the schedule, although there is no Dina Asher-Smith or Asha Philip and instead entries include Alisha Rees and Cassie-Ann Pemberton.
David King, British champion in sprint hurdles indoors and out last year, is in the 60m hurdles line-up. Nathan Douglas, who is now 38 but was ranked No.1 again in the UK last year, heads the triple jump entries.
In the men’s long jump, Dan Bramble faces Reynold Banigo, Jacob Fincham-Dukes and Dominic Ogbechie, while the women’s event sees Jazmin Sawyers and Abi Irozuru striving for Euro selection.
Loughborough – February 21
Field events are the focus at the East Midlands venue with shot putters Sophie McKinna (pictured below), Amelia Strickler, Scott Lincoln and Lewis Byng among the throwers in action.
Morgan Lake and Nikki Manson lead the women’s high jump entries with Chris Baker, William Grimsey and Kelechi Aguocha in the men’s event.
The pole vault sees British record-holder Holly Bradshaw and national under-20 record-holder Molly Caudery plus Sophie Ashurst and Tilly Hooper – the daughters of former pole vault stars Andy and Brian – whereas Charlie Myers is set to vault as the solitary man alongside the women.
Manchester – February 20-21
This two-day meet at Sportcity features combined events with up-and-coming Holly Mills, Jade O’Dowda, Katie Stainton and Ellen Barber in the pentathlon.
The hottest event of the entire weekend was due to be the men’s 800m with Elliot Giles and Jamie Webb fresh from their UK record-breaking exploits in Torun this week. But their names vanished from the start lists in the run-up to the event, leaving Guy Learmonth, Ben Pattison and Alex Botterill to battle it out.
Lee Thompson is part of a 400m line-up that looks set to require heats and a final. Similarly, Jessie Knight (pictured below), Zoey Clark and Jodie Williams are part of a good quality women’s two-lap event with heats on Saturday and finals on Sunday. Individual qualification aside, there is also the prospect of taking relay teams to the European Indoors.
Andy Butchart is entered for the 1500m and 3000m. In the former he faces Piers Copeland and British outdoor champion George Mills, while the longer race includes Phil Sesemann, Zak Seddon, Jonny Davies and Ross Millington.
Verity Ockenden and Rosie Clarke lead the women’s 3000m entries, whereas the women’s 1500m includes Holly Archer, Katie Snowden, Ellie Baker and Aimee Pratt.
How the weekend unfolds
Here are some highlights over the two days at the triumvirate of Euro trials micro meetings.
Saturday February 20
10.30am – men’s heptathlon kicks off in Manchester
12 noon – Lee Valley action begins with 90min of 60m hurdles and 60m races
1.30pm – triple jumps start at Lee Valley
2.30pm – men’s long jump at Lee Valley followed by women’s long jump
3pm – women’s 3000m followed by men’s 3000m in Manchester
Sunday February 21
10am – women’s pentathlon gets underway in Manchester
12.30pm – pole vault and shot put competitions start in Loughborough
2.20pm – women’s high jump begins in Loughborough
2.25pm – men’s 400m final followed by the heptathlon climax in the 1000m in Manchester
2.55pm – women’s 400m final in Manchester
3.15pm – both 1500m finals plus 800m finals during a 45min spell in Manchester where the spotlight falls on middle-distance runners
4.05pm – men’s high jump in Loughborough
4.15pm – pentathlon concludes with the 800m in Manchester
Coverage on the AW website this weekend will include reports and photographs. The events are unlikely to be streamed, but the organisers are releasing video clips on social media.