Sheffield’s big event - despite Jess absence

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IN the absence of local star Jessica Ennis, two of Britain’s other Olympic medallists have been left to top the bill at this weekend’s European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield.

Ennis has decided not to compete indoors this season in order to focus on regaining her heptathlon title at the World Championships in Moscow in August.

But 400 metres silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu and high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz will continue their indoor campaigns at the English Institute of Sport as Britain’s athletes look to book their place on the team for the European Indoors in Gothenburg in March.

Ohuruogu will drop down to the 60m and 200m to work on her sprinting speed while Grabarz will be out to improve on a jump of 2.29m in Glasgow last month.

World indoor champion Yamile Aldama will compete in the triple jump, while sprint hurdler Andy Pozzi is aiming to improve on a run of 7.58 seconds last weekend which has him second in the world rankings in 2013.

Holly Bleasdale goes for a third straight title in the pole vault and is in confident mood after starting the year with three straight wins, including a clearance of 4.75m in Moscow earlier this month.

Bleasdale has been making numerous changes to her technique under new coaches Dan Pfaff and Scott Simpson, with her time now split between Cardiff and Arizona.

“I’m really happy with the heights and so much more confident than I’ve been before,” Bleasdale said. “I have tried to change so much and still have so much more to change. I’ve changed my run-up and it feels really easy now and much more consistent.

“It’s the perfect set-up now. Over the next four or five years with all the changes they still want to make I think I will be in a much better place.

“We looked at moving out to Arizona permanently but it was too intense. After five weeks my brain was fried. Dan gives you so much input. He is the cleverest person I’ve ever met but he explains it in a way you can easily understand.

“Now I get the best of both worlds in America and Cardiff.”

Veteran sprinter Dwain Chambers has been forced to pull out of the defence of his 60m title with a back problem and will have to rely on the discretion of the selectors to secure his place on the team for Gothenburg.