Scots picked up one silver and three bronze medals at the opening session of the 2018 British Championships. Hot, windy conditions at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham provided a suitably challenging backdrop for a day which also saw a host of finals places booked.
With the event also forming the trials for August’s European Championships in Berlin, the top-flight were hoping for first or second place positions, plus a qualifying standard, to guarantee selection.
There was a Scottish 2-3 in the Hammer Throw, with Chris Bennett ensuring Euro selection with his silver medal from a throw of 73.29, having twice previously thrown beyond the 74m qualifying mark.
He said: “Ideally I would have like to have won, but it’s nice to get automatic qualifying for once and not have to leave it in the selectors’ hands and wait for an invite. I think the three of us, Mark, Nick (Miller) and me spur each other on, one of us throws far, we all want to beat each other.
“I’ve got a nice solid block of training in, I’m fit and healthy as I can be, so it’s just compete now up until Berlin.”
Mark Dry threw 71.40 to take Hammer Throw bronze, after a tough season enduring ongoing hip issues, and ended the day disgruntled but philosophical: “I’m just in two minds, it’s a really confusing place to be right now,” he said. “I’m happy I could compete, today could’ve been a lot tougher. I’m happy I mixed it with the boys. Would I have like to have thrown it further and made Europeans, thrown top two? Yes, I would.”
The first Scottish podium place of the championship went to Nick Percy in the discus, taking bronze, though his 57.26 throw left him short of Euros qualification. He said: “It was a bit of a struggle, being sick the last two weeks, I’ve not got anything really behind me. I did my best, fought my hardest, but unfortunately today just wasn’t my day.
“I feel like it was my best I could do but I still have time to try and get the qualifying distance … so there’s some hope, but I could’ve done better today.”
There was medal glory too for Nikki Manson in the High Jump, who went to 1.87 for bronze in a high-quality contest that included a championship record of 1.97 for victor Morgan Lake. Although Nikki has already jumped the European qualifying height of 1.90, leaving without a top two place today leaves her dependent on selectors’ discretion – but she intends to do her best to impress: “I’m actually really proud with how the competition unfolded, and I’m really glad that I managed to pull it out of the bag in the end.
“I want to try and get a bit more consistent, high 80s, 90s, and hopefully they’ll consider me for Euros,” she said.
In a day that saw around 60 Scottish performances when accounting for all heats and finals, it’s impossible to do justice to every athlete in a round-up of this nature, but special mention to Michael Olsen, who, after being selected for World Juniors this week recorded a season’s best of 10.48 into a headwind to reach the 100m semi final.
Meanwhile a further 15 Scots in all qualified for finals tomorrow over 400m, 400mH, 800m and 1500m – congratulations to all athletes and coaches involved.