British hammer champion Zoe Derham expects to have to throw further than ever before in her last competition before the Olympic team is finalised to have any chance of fulfilling her Beijing dream.
The Birchfield Harrier claimed her second consecutive national title on Saturday but her winning distance was short of the requisite standard she needs to improve her case for selection. The A standard is 69.50?metres, nearly 2m further than her personal best, and she has just one competition, in Loughborough on Thursday, to hit that mark before deadline.
There is hope in the fact that she has been peppering the B standard of 67m in recent weeks, indeed her winning effort on Saturday of 67.27m was well over that mark and with no other Briton anywhere near, the selectors may opt to give Derham her chance, having denied her in similar circumstances before last year’s world championships.
Derham is rightfully concerned, however. She was stung by that decision and is desperate to make sure she does not suffer the same fate later this week. “If I don’t make it, I will be bitterly disappointed because I know I am capable of doing it,” she said.
“I don’t think the B will be enough. I haven’t spoken to them at all – there’s been no contact. But from last year’s situation, I am a bit sceptical about the whole process.”
Derham’s standpoint is supported by the fact she will have to achieve close to the British record, 69.94m thrown by her coach Lorraine Shaw, to attain the A standard. “It is very high,” she said. “That would put you in the top 12. They have got to give someone a chance ahead of London in 2012.”
Hannah England could still be OK, despite failing to beat either of her main rivals in the 1500m final. The Birmingham University student remains the fastest Briton over the distance this year, the 4:06.19 she recorded winning the American collegiate championship is still quicker than either Lisa Dobriskey or Susan Scott have managed so far.
It was Dobriskey, the 2006 Commonwealth champion, who won on Saturday by bursting clear of her two challengers in the final 100m. Scott finished runner up in 4:16.66, less than a second behind the Ashford athlete but more than a second ahead of England.
All three could be awarded a place on the plane to the Far East although Steph Twell, who won gold at the World Juniors at the weekend, could insert a spanner into proceedings, having run the 4:07.00 A standard last year.
Another Harrier, Louise Butterworth, was well below her best in the pole vault. The 23-year-old took a bronze medal but failed to break the 4m mark considered a bare minimum. While Sale’s Emma Lyons won in 4.12m with Edinburgh’s Kirsty Maguire 10cm back, Butterworth was a further 10cm back and 3cm short of her 2007 height at these championships.
There was also frustration for Birchfield’s leading long jumpers, Nathan Morgan and Jonathan Moore, who both failed to break the 8m mark and came third and fourth respectively. That said, both beat British record holder Chris Tomlinson who expects to reach China but whose form has slumped in recent weeks. The Middlesbrough athlete was fifth with a best effort of 7.76m. He may be forced to rely on the fact that he set the A standard last year.
The event was won by a rejuvenated Greg Rutherford with a fantastic leap of 8.20m, bang on the requisite standard.
Morgan led the competition after his fourth round effort of 7.88m until Rutherford produced 8.19m and then went 1cm further in the fifth round to earn himself a near-certain trip to his first Olympics.
Eden Francis won’t make it to Beijing but she remains a prospect for London 2012 after taking silver in the shot putt and bronze in the discus on Saturday. The 19-year-old was relatively close to her personal best with a throw of 15.95m in the shot and just 4cm off the winning throw of Woodford’s Joanne Duncan.
She was some way behind Emma Carpenter and Philippa Roles in the discus, however with both the top two throwing in excess of 57m compared to Francis’s 52.48m. Royal Sutton Coldfield’s Justine Kinney produced the performance of a lifetime to finish sixth in the 400m hurdles final, won by rising star Perri Shakes Drayton, in a time of 58.84secs.