Chris O’Hare, Laura Muir and CJ Ujah are among the best of Britain vying for honours at the Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships this weekend (February 17-18).
A full two-day programme of track and field events sees the best of Britain come together in the Arena Birmingham aiming for titles, qualifying standards for the World Indoor Championships and preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
This year’s competition has moved from the traditional venue in Sheffield to Birmingham which should help athletes familiarise themselves with the arena ahead of the next month’s global championships.
Chris O’Hare heads the men’s 1500m and will go up against fellow Scot Jake Wightman once again after finishing first and second at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix last weekend.
O’Hare improved his own Scottish record that night to add to his Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile win in New York on February 3.
The field also includes Class of 2018’s Tom Marshall and the impressive young talent Jake Heyward. Earlier this month Marshall broke the Welsh 1000m indoor record and Heyward bettered Ian Stewart’s 1968 British junior 3000m indoor record.
Eilish McColgan and Katie Snowdon both secured the 1500m world indoor qualifying standard in the last seven days and without that added pressure should make for an exciting race to become the British champion.
McColgan finished second last year to Sarah McDonald, who sits out this year with a hamstring niggle, after running a personal best 4:07.62 in Boston last week.
Laura Muir heads the women’s 3000m final on Saturday and the strong field includes athletes full of confidence with PBs this year including Rosie Clarke and Melissa Courtney and Eilish McColgan.
Steph Twell, who is enjoying life under a new set-up with Geoff Wightman and posted an indoor PB 8:41.94 in Boston is a late withdrawal.
Jess Judd, who races over 3k on the road in Armagh on Thursday, is also a confirmed entrant, however, it’s unclear if Judd will compete after the midweek race.
Clarke ran a straight 3000m best 8:47.30 in Madrid and told Fast Running ahead of this weekend: “I’m really looking forward to getting out and racing this weekend.
“We have one of the strongest fields I’ve ever seen racing in the women’s 3000m which is great for our sport. It should make for a very exciting competition.”
“I raced very assertively in Madrid last week, and it paid off. I hope to carry this through into the championships this weekend, and really put myself in the mix.”
Jonny Davies, who also posted a big personal best in Boston, will line up with Andy Vernon, Andrew Heyes and Nick Goolab in the men’s 3000m.
Davies ran 7:50.18 last week and is well within the 7:52:00 standard for the World Indoors. Sunday’s race should make an exciting battle as the rest of the men’s chase the qualifying mark, with Goolab clocking 7:54.41 at the IFAM Indoors in Ghent last week.
World relay gold medalist CJ Ujah returns to the championships and will be the favourite in men’s 60m. The 2015 British champion has ran a 6.53 season’s best, however, will he will come against strong challengers in Richard Kilty and Ojie Edoburun this weekend.
2014 European 60m champion Kilty and u23 European 100m champion Edobururn both matched the world indoor standard of 6.63 in February, while the latter has also posted a 6.61 season’s best in Lee Valley.
In the women’s 60m, world silver relay medalists Asha Philip and Daryll Neita go head-to-head with the heats the first event on Saturday.
Both athletes have already dipped under the World Indoor 7.30 mark, with European indoor champion Philip posting a seasons best 7.12 on the IAAF World Indoor Tour in Karlsruhe, while Neita ran a best 7.24 at the Loughborough Students Open in January.
Kyle Langford opened his indoor season with 1:46.43 in New York two weeks ago and heads the men’s 800m, while Lynsey Sharp will face Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Adelle Tracey in the women’s event.
Lee Thompson is the leading athlete in the men’ 400m, while Scottish duo Eilidh Doyle and Zoey Clark head the women’s event, with the latter fresh from a new Scottish 200m record at the end of January.
2017’s one-two Andy Pozzi and David King go again to become the British men’s 60m hurdles champion, while Tiffany Porter leads the 60m women’s field.
Meanwhile, Robbie Grabarz and Morgan Lake are the notable names in the high jump, while heptathlete and Johnson-Thompson competes in the long jump, an event she won a world indoor silver medal in four years ago.
Elsewhere in the non World Indoor qualifying events, Tom Bosworth faces Callum Wilkinson in the men’s 5000m race walk and Bethany Davies heads the women’s race. While rising star Maya Bruney and Bianca Williams line out in the women’s 200m.
The two day’s of exciting competition gets underway at 12:00 noon on Saturday, with the final event at 4:25pm on Sunday. A schedule and details of all athletes competing can be found here and live coverage will be available online on the BBC and British Athletics’ website.