Eilidh Doyle lived up to her billing as pre-race favourite to retain the women's 400m title in superb style at Arena Birmingham.
Taking the title in a 51.84 season’s best, Doyle was way inside the qualifying standard required for selection for Birmingham 2018 World Indoor Championships that take place in the same venue in just under two weeks’ time.
In truth there was only ever going to be one winner as Doyle hit the front when the athletes broke from their lanes after 200m, although her fellow Scot Zoey Clark (Eddie McKinna, Thames Valley) did put up a great fight and was rewarded with a silver medal and 52.12 personal best.
Post-race Doyle commented: “I am delighted with that. It was going to be tough against Zoey – I knew if she broke ahead of me it would be really difficult to get past her so thankfully I got there in front. I am always proud to win the British title – I love competing at these championships. I love an indoor 400m, it is so different to the outdoors. It is so tactical and I think I thrive on that. In impressive form alongside Doyle, Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg, WSEH) showed just why she is a world finalist as she ran away from strong field to win her fourth straight British 800m title in an outstanding 2:00.06 time. Pushing the pace over the final two laps and looking strong as ever, Oskan-Clarke was rewarded with an indoor personal best and a World Indoor qualifying mark, securing her spot on the British Athletics team in two weeks’ time. “I’m very happy to have defended my title and run a time that reflects my training,” said Oskan-Clarke “I’m trying to get better tactically and if I’m not at the front, making sure not to stress and make the moves when I’m meant to. Today was my last chance to put a good time out going into Birmingham and I’m really happy with that. I’d like to be in the final and anything can happen when you get there.” It was a memorable championship for young Scot Mhairi Hendry (William Parker, Victoria Park) who smashed her personal best once again to take silver, her 2:01.30 run over a second quicker than she’s ever gone before and also within the world qualifying mark of 2:02.00. Stepping down to the 200m finals, Finette Agyanpong (Coral Nourrice, Newham) needed a personal best run of 23.30 to retain her title, with Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker, Birchfield) also revising her PB with a 23.57 for second. Bronze went to young 400m star Amber Anning (Lloyd Cowan, Brighton) having run a PB in the semi-finals. In the men’s race Antonio Infantino made the most of the outside lane to break the tape in 20.77, the fastest time by an Italian for 31 years. In the battle for the British Championship medals Edmond Amaning (Thames Valley) found the crucial one hundredth of a second that he needed to clinch gold ahead of Andrew Morgan-Harrison (Hull, Pam Piercy). That duo ran personal bests of 21.04 and 21.05, with Elliot Powell (James Hillier, Leicester) bagging bronze.