British Athletics Championships: Five Things We Learned Ahead Of Tokyo 2020

Manchester played host to the qualifying tournament that hosted household names such as Mo Farah, Dina Asher-Smith and Laura Muir
12:02, 28 Jun 2021

It’s a proud moment for any athlete to claim a win at the British Championships, but the best that our shores have to offer will have been focusing on qualifying for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics above all else.

Reaching this summer’s spectacle will feel that bit sweeter for the best of the British after being made to wait five years since the last Olympics in Rio.

Manchester played host to the qualifying tournament that hosted household names such as Mo Farah, Dina Asher-Smith and Laura Muir, and there were some big shocks to report from the Regional Arena.

Here are five key moments from the weekend’s action, starting with a bittersweet moment for sprinter Asher-Smith.

Dina Asher-Smith denied British 100m record after revised time

Although the Mancunian crowd groaned as Asher-Smith’s initial time of 10.71 seconds was revised to 10.97 seconds, denying her a 100m British record in the process, the sprinter herself kept to the positives.

The world 200m champion had set a championship record in the semi-final with a 10.91 seconds display, and was delighted to book her spot in Tokyo.

Favourite for gold will be Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after her 10.63 effort earlier in June, but Asher-Smith insists that she isn’t worried about how quick her rivals are running.

“I know we all run in different continents and different conditions but when you all meet that's what really matters,” the 25-year-old said.

“The true test is when you're all together and what you perform like under the circumstances.

“I have faster in me. I'm in good shape. I'm a championship performer."

An emotional Asha Philip also qualified for the Olympics after coming in second behind Asher-Smith.


Mo Farah fails in Tokyo bid

Mo Farah
Mo Farah

Father Time appeared to finally catch up with Mo Farah as he finished his 10,000m race 19 seconds short of the qualifying standard.

The race had been given the go ahead to give the four-time Olympic champion every chance of qualifying for the summer games, but the chilling reality is that his time as an elite long-distance runner has come to an end.

It would have been some story, with Farah’s 40th birthday just 18 months away, to see one of Team GB’s greatest ever representatives turn out in Tokyo, but it simply wasn’t to be.

His finish of 27:47.04 left him some way short of the required time, and Farah is said to be considering his future in the sport.

No matter what he decides, we’ll always have that ‘Super Saturday’ in 2012 to remember his career.

Holly Bradshaw breaks her own British pole vault record in style

As Holly Bradshaw proudly held up a cheque for $5,000, her mind will have been drifting to the possibilities that will face her later this summer.

In breaking her own British pole vault record, the 29-year-old proved that she is ready to compete with the best in Tokyo. Admitting that her previous best of 4.87m was bugging her due to how close to the 4.90m mark it was, the Preston native finally managed that height while the 5,000m was taking place in Manchester.

It took her two attempts to clear her entering height of 4.55m, with Bradshaw warming up into the competition, before again taking two tries to clear 4.70m. She broke her outdoor record of 4.83m with her next leap before sailing over the 4.90m to make her own piece of history.

Clearly backing herself to make an impact in Japan, Bradshaw said, “I know it will take anything between 4.80m and 4.95m to take a medal in Tokyo and I know I can be in the mix with six or seven others. I just need to stay healthy.”


Adam Gemili to lead Team GB charge in men’s 200m

Adam Gemili
Adam Gemili

Adam Gemili knows that he can compete with the fastest men over 200m and booked his spot at the Olympics with a dominant 20.63 seconds victory.

Fourth in the Rio Olympics five years ago, the 27-year-old will be desperate to go one better and earn himself a medal in Tokyo this time around.

In unforgiving conditions, the 2016 and 2019 British Championships winner crossed the finish line over a metre clear of Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in second in what was a perfectly timed confidence booster.

In the 100m, CJ Ujah capitalised on European champion Zharnel Hughes being disqualified for a false start by running an impressive 10.05 to book his own seat on the plane.

Keely Hodgkinson upsets Laura Muir to win 800m British title

Keely Hodkinson admits she would love to give Britain a repeat of Kelly Holmes’ 2004 heroics that saw her bring home gold in both the 800m and 1500m, although it’s a feat that she doesn’t remember happening first hand.

Speaking after confirming her place at the Olympics by defending her 800m British title, the 19-year-old joked, “I’d definitely like to emulate Kelly, but I was only two when she ran that race so I don’t really remember it.”

Turning the final bend in third place, Hodkinson overhauled both Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie to clock a winning time of on minute 59.61 seconds to put a warning out to her rivals heading into Tokyo.

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