Brits in Oslo

Ten Brits ran in Oslo. It is still May, and the European Championship starts next week. The GB Champs and Olympic selection trials follow, and then the big one in Paris. Athletes will be judged on their championship performances, and people are at different stages of preparation, so one cannot read too much into individual performances.

That said, Matt Hudson-Smith put down a marker with a European record run of 44.07.

Matt said afterward: “I wasn’t sure what shape I was in, and the time didn’t matter in a way, as I care about victories rather than times and preparing for the Olympics. At the end of the day, times are temporary, but medals are forever. I really want to come away from Paris with a medal. This year, I am healthy, so that gives me confidence. Last year, I came into the season from tendonitis in my Achilles, so I had a very up-and-down season. It was bittersweet to get so close to world gold after the injury. With the Europeans so close, I will probably have to be back off training tomorrow; I will get a view from my coach. I did not even realize my number was upside down tonight – maybe that will be my lucky charm going forward!”

He explained to me that he had decided to run the Europeans for the experience – ahead of Paris – of running three rounds, as it is such a different experience from a one-off Diamond League.

Daryll Neita, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

Darryl Neita has already won two Diamond Leagues this year—Sukhou/Shanghai and Doha. In Oslo, she was third in the 200 in 22.50 and expressed her disappointment: “As I came here to win, I’m happy to cross the line healthy and with a season’s best.”

Zac Shaw was second in a mixed classification para 100m race at 11.00, which he described as “an awesome experience being so close to the crowd. I still feel a bit jet-lagged from Japan [World Para Champs earlier this month], so I am very happy with that performance today.”

The final race of the night saw Jakob Ingebrigtsen (3:29.74) beat Timothy Cheruiyot by just 0.03 seconds, with Jakob diving for the line. Elliot Giles was fifth (3:31.06), and George Mills was seventh (3:31.57). With Josh Kerr opting to run the 800 at the GB Olympic trials,* that leaves Jake Wightman, Neil Gourley, George Mills, Elliot Giles, and the rest running for two Olympic places. That will be a battle royal.

George Mills, running for On Running, won the Karlsruhe 1,500m! photo credited to World Athletics, we believe the photographer was Dan Vernon/Dan Vernon Photography

There were 5 other British athletes running in Oslo. In a stacked 400m won my Marileidy Paulino. Laviai Nielsen was seventh in 51.04, and Vikki Ohuruogu eighth in 51.61. Guy Learmonth ran a season’s best, “my fastest time ever in early season,” of 1:45.49. Jess Warner-Judd, who mainly runs 10K this day, was 15th in a 3000. Warner-Judd said: ““It’s just not happening this year, but I’m hoping it will, and it will come good.”  Jessie Knight was fifth in the 400m hurdles in 55.52.

*The GB selection process is that the first two in each event qualify automatically, with the third place chosen by the selectors. On occasions, top athletes negotiate with the selectors.