Preview: 2016 British Athletics Championships & Olympic Trials

Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, 25 June 2016.

Saturday sees both the Men’s and Women’s Triple Jump competitions in the British Athletics Championships/Olympic Trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium and, with very few exceptions, sees the best of Britain’s Triple Jump talent on display.

At 1pm (BST) the Men’s competition takes place with the field of 16 athletes including all of the top 10 ranked outdoor British Triple Jumpers this year.

Julian Reid and Nathan Douglas have both bettered the Olympic qualifying standard of 16.85m once since last May, at last year’s British Championships, meaning if they can place in the top 2 at Birmingham this weekend with a legal jump of at least the qualifying mark distance, then they should be on the plane to Rio in August. Reigning Champion Julian jumped a windy 16.96m at the BIG ish Jumps & Throws Festival last month and, on his home track, could be the man to beat on Saturday, but an athlete with the pedigree and experience of Nathan Douglas, chasing his 3rd Olympic appearance, can never be discounted.

Also very much in contention for the National title and an Olympic berth are the British Indoor Champion for the last 2 years, Nathan Fox, and Ben Williams who returns from impressive displays in America, both indoors and out, over the past few months. With athletes having until July 9th to achieve the Rio quaifying standard in 2 competitions, there’s every chance that they could also be taking a big step towards possible Olympic selection at Birmingham this weekend.

Apart from Ben, other athletes returning from America recently include Nonso Okolo – now becoming a regular 16-metre jumper – Efe Uwaifo, Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi and Sam Trigg. All of them have set new PBs this summer with the prospect of more to come at the National Championships.

Montel Nevers jumped over 16 metres in taking the British Universities Indoor Championships earlier in the year and showed a timely return to form at last weekend’s England Athletics U23 Championships in Bedford, jumping 15.62w. Also coming back strongly for the weekend is 16.60m+ jumper Kola Adedoyin who, though returning from injury, is more than capable of springing a big surprise on the day.

Senior Men’s Entries (2016 Outdoor Best):
Julian Reid (Birchfield Harriers) 16.96w/16.57m
Nathan Fox (Shaftesbury Barnet) 16.44m
Nathan Douglas (Oxford City) 16.43m
Ben Williams (Sale Harriers Manchester) 16.41m
Nonso Okolo (Shaftesbury Barnet) 16.28w/16.06m
Efe Uwaifo (Enfield & Haringey) 15.98m
Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi (Croydon) 15.68m
Sam Trigg (Erme Valley) 15.77w/15.62m
Kola Adedoyin (Newham & Essex Beagles) 15.52m
Chukwudi Onyia (Unattached) 15.46m
Michael Puplampu (Newham & Essex Beagles) 15.45m
Johnny Sawyers (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) 15.50w/15.37m
Jonathan Ilori (Blackheath & Bromley) 15.30m
Montel Nevers (Notts) 15.62w/15.25m
Lawrence Davis (Enfield & Haringey) 15.08m
Daniel Lewis (Shaftesbury Barnet) 14.59m

At 3.35pm (BST) it’s the turn of the Senior Women’s competition. It features 9  of the top 10 ranked British Triple Jumpers this summer, the sole exception being Trafford AC’s Naomi Ogbeta who jumps for a select British Junior Team at the Mannheim International in Germany this weekend.

As with the Men’s competition, any athlete finishing in the top 2 in Birmingham and managing to jump the Olympic qualifying standard (14.15m) twice by July 9 can book their place in Rio, and that is more than a possiblility from this field. Laura Samuel heads the rankings, tantalisingly close to the qualifying mark with her 14.07m from late April. Apart from a blip at the Birmingham IAAF Diamond League Meeting , Laura has consistently been jumping close to the 14 metre mark throughout the summer and starts the competition as the favourite with the hope that challengers to her domestic superiority will push her close to the Rio mark.

On paper, Laura’s closest challenger is 43 year-old Yamilé Aldama, who will be seeking selection for her 5th Olympic Games this summer! She has competed sparingly this year with just one indoor (13.41i) and one outdoor appearance, 13.74m in April, so her performance in Birmingham will be of great interest.

Reigning Champion Sineade Gutzmore will also be in the mix and looking to improve on her PB of 13.54m from last year on her home track in front of a packed main stand. Chioma Matthews has been on Sineade’s heels this year in the rankings, with leaps of 13.34m and 13.33m to her name. Could she return to her 13.50m+ form of last year too this weekend?

Only 19cm covers the next 6 ranked entries in Birmingham. Of those Anglea Barrett is the only 13 metre jumper this year, but with 3 competitions over 13 metres either indoors or out in 2016, she may well challenge for National honours on Saturday. 17 year-old Laura Zialor has added over a metre to her legal PB this year, reaching out to 12.96m last month. Hopefully the experience of jumping in Olympic Trials at such a young age will prove beneficial to her this weekend and in her promising career ahead.

Zainab Ceesay has a PB of 13.27m from 2013, and jumped 13.12i in taking Silver at the 2015 Indoor British Championships. With a 12.91m performance in France just 2 weeks ago she could be timing a return to her best perfectly for this weekend. This year 22 year-old Naomi Reid has returned to the promising form she showed as a junior athlete, setting a PB of 12.84m at Bedford last month. She could be close to, or even over, the 13 metre barrier on Saturday along with last year’s Bronze medallist Alexandra Russell (13.05m PB that day) or the British Universities Champion Lisa James who, with a legal 13.03m and a windy 13.22m to her name from last year, is more than capable of claiming a podium spot. Montana Jackson has bettered her BUCS performance 3 times in the intervening weeks. Can she seize the opportunity on Saturday to go even further?

Senior Women’s Entries (2016 Outdoor Best):
Laura Samuel (Birchfield Harriers) 14.07m
Yamilé Aldama (Shaftesbury Barnet) 13.74m
Sineade Gutzmore (Birchfield Harriers) 13.41m
Chioma Matthews (Blackheath & Bromley) 13.34m
Angela Barrett (Thames Valley Harriers) 13.01m
Laura Zialor (Marshall Milton Keynes) 12.96m
Zainab Cessay (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies)  12.91m
Naomi Reid (Derby) 12.84m
Lisa James (Sale Harriers Manchester) 12.83m
Alexandra Russell (Wigan & District) 12.82m
Montana Jackson (Thames Valley Harriers) 12.72w/12.69m
Allison Wilder (Sutton & District) 12.45m
Zara Asante (Blackheath & Bromley) NM

Live coverage of Saturday’s British Athletics Champions & Olympic Trials can be found on the BBC Red Button from 2-4 pm. Video highlights of both Triple Jump competitions will be available on early next week.


Written by iTripleJump

A Triple Jumper for over 35 years - from an over-hopping junior to a county-level senior - I still enjoy jumping in national and international Masters competitions in the event that has gripped me since my first hop, step and jump onto a springless PE mat. Waiting for that perfect jump. That one perfect jump ...

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