Luke Cutts (Dearne ALC), Lee Emanuel (City of Sheffield) and Mukhtar Mohammed (Sheffield Running Club) all won titles on home territory at the Sainsbury National Indoor Champions at Sheffield’s EIS over the weekend.
It would have been a major upset if Cutts had not won the pole vault following his recent UK record of 5.83 set in France.
He did not need to reach those heights on this occasion. Coming in at 5.45, he ended with a 5.60 clearance for a comfortable victory on his way to the World Indoor Championships.
“It was alright, but I would have rather have jumped the qualifying height for the World Indoors, but you can’t always go out there and do that,” said Cutts.
“It’s been great competing in Yorkshire, the support they give you here is like no other so it’s good to get the victory.”
More significant, in some ways, was Cutts’ team mate Adam Hague who finished eighth.
Only 16, Hague added no less than 15 cm to his previous best with a superb 5.15 for a significant breakthrough. City of Sheffield decathlete Daniel Gardiner was seventh, also with 5.15.
Emanual beat a top class 1500 metres field. Based in New Mexico, Emanuel’s confidence was high following a superb indoor mile recently and this confidence showed in his running.
“I was feeling so good I was going to go 600 metres out”, he said afterwards. But Charlie Grice took the lead at that point but I decided to take it on with 400 metres to go.”
He said: “It’s huge for me, I’ve never done this before so it’s great. I’ve been second twice and third a couple of times so it’s great to come here, win, and finally be able to call myself a British champion.
“I feel great. I’ve done a lot of things in training that I didn’t do last year in terms of strength and weights stuff and it all seems to be clicking in to gear.”
Although less than a second separated the first four, Emmanuel never looked like surrendering the lead finishing ahead of favourite Chris O’Hara and Grice. The time of 3:48.15 was irrelevant following a slow early pace, the 800 metre point being reached in a pedestrian 2:10.
The 800 metres was also a slow race, Mohammed winning in 1:51.61, a slower time that he ran in the heat. He finished very fast to come home fractionally behind British Olympic finalist Andrew Osagai.
However, Osagi was disqualified due to a lane infringement leaving the Sheffield man to take the title.
The 2013 European Indoor medallist was more than happy with the win in 1:51.61, however it arrived.
“The race was really tough and my plan was just to win it and get selected for the World Indoors so I’m really pleased that I’ve done that.”
There was a bronze medal for the consistent City of Sheffield shot putter Jamie Williamson whose best effort landed at 16.94 while City of Sheffield’s Karla Drew reached the final of the 60 metres hurdles, finishing fifth in 8.42 having run slightly faster (8.39) in her heat.
The star of the weekend was heptathlete Katarina Johnson Thompson (Liverpool).
After breaking Jessica Ennis-Hills’ UK high jump record with 1.96 on the first day, she returned on Sunday to win the long jump with a stadium record of 6.75
Other performances included: Daniel Gardiner (City of Sheffield), 6th, long jump (7.30); Abilgail Roberts (Dearne ALC), 8th, pole vault (3.81); Andy Heyes (Hallamshire), 9th, 3000 (8:11.16)