Athletics: Mukhtar hopes strong field will help him qualify for Gothenburg

Mukhtar Mohammed wins in the Men's 800m Heats at the EIS. Pic: Dean Atkins.

Mukhtar Mohammed wins in the Men's 800m Heats at the EIS. Pic: Dean Atkins.

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SHEFFIELD 800 metre runner Mukhtar Mohammed has to lower his indoor personal best by just over half a second tomorrow to qualify for the European Championships.

The former Sheffield Wednesday academy player finished second at last weekend’s British Championships, which doubled as a trial for the European Championships, which start in Gothenburg on March 1. The British team is selected on a top two position and also achieving the A standard time of one minute 48 seconds. Mohammed has already achieved the first part when he narrowly missed out to Joe Thomas at the EIS in Sheffield on Sunday.

However his time - and that of Thomas - was 1:48.55, which means he’ll try again tomorrow at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena.

With three of the Olympic 800m field in the line up Mohammed is expecting a quick race. And he says at 22-years-of age it is time he converted a strong winter’s training into qualification for a major championship. He told The Star: “I don’t think it will be like it was in Sheffield, it should be a much faster race. If you see all 800m guys they’re 20-years-old and running good times.

“I’ve been to Kenya and Addis Abbaba for a couple of months and done some solid training. I just managed to do some speedwork over the last two and a half weeks. I’m fit but just missing out on raw speed.”

Thomas will once again be a threat but Mohammed will want to stay close to Ethiopia’s Mohamed Aman who was sixth in London with a national record of 1:43.20, Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki who was seventh with 1.43.32 and Britain’s Andrew Osagie who ran a personal best for eighth place in 1:43.77.

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