A record number of Scots are set to feature in the IAAF World Athletics Championships after the British Championships and World Trials were held in Birmingham at the weekend (1-2 July). The men's 1500m saw a podium filled by a single club as Edinburgh AC team mates Chris O'Hare, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman sprinted clear of the pack.
Scots Impress In World Athletics Trials
The World Trials held automatic selection for the first two past the post. However, qualifying times are also required and the 1500m was run at a pedestrian pace until the final lap. US-based O'Hare (3:47.28) and Kerr (3:47.71) took automatic spots down the crowded finishing straight from Wightman (3:47.74), who had looked so impressive winning the IAAF Golden League 1500m in Oslo (3:34.17) two weeks ago.
The men's 1500m was the race of the weekend as events were held over two days for the first time to provide a more compact programme. Unfortunately, the absence of several of Britain's top athletes contributed towards sparse crowds and a generally muted atmosphere.
One of the potential global stars in action was Central's Andrew Butchart, who had little trouble cementing his place in the World 5000m alongside pre-selected defending champion Mo Farah. Butchart bolted clear in the final 200m to win (13:50.56) from Andy Vernon (Aldershot, 13:54.63) and Ben Connor (Derby, 13:56.71).
After his victory, Butchart said: “I've been training with Mo and its been going really well, so in London it's just about getting through the heat and then I think I've got a good chance as a top contender in the final.” Ominously for the opposition, he added: “I won't just be going there to take part.”
The women's 1500m and 5000m saw an audacious double attempt by Chelmsford's Jess Judd, who may have been undertaking a dress rehearsal for the European under-23 Championships rather than seeking World Championship selection. First up was the 1500m heat on Saturday and final on Sunday, where Jess finished second to double Olympian, Laura Weightman (Morpeth, 4:06.49) in 4:07.09, with Sarah McDonald (Birchfield, 4:08.14) third.
A few hours later the 5000m was dominated by Steph Twell (Aldershot, 15:35.50) and Eilish McColgan (Dundee, 15:38.57), with Judd (15:49.05) fighting fatigue in fifth. The European under-23 Championships start on 13 July in Bydgoszcz, Poland and the London World Championships commence three weeks later on 4 August – presenting a dilemma for an ambitious young athlete.