Over the weekend of June 22-24, the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham played host to the 2012 Aviva Olympic trials, where a staggering 41 University of Birmingham students and alumni competed against the best track and field athletes in the country.
Against the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Mark Lewis-Francis, Birmingham athletes had it tough, as many senior athletes were competing to secure that all important Olympic A Standard needed to be in contention for a place at the London Olympics this summer.
However, many athletes with Birmingham connections performed brilliantly over the weekend, with the highlight undoubtedly being results in both the men’s and women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Alumni Luke Gunn crossed the line in first place with a time of 8:42.20, six-tenths of a second ahead of silver-medallist and fellow alumni James Wilkinson.
In the women’s event, four Birmingham students competed alongside a highly experienced field and came away with a great deal of respect following their performances.
First year student Pippa Woolven came in a fantastic 5th position in 10:17.99, whilst Iona Lake and Laura Riches finished in 9th and 11th places, both with Personal Bests of 10:36.06 and 10:43.78 respectively.
Pippa will now prepare for the World Junior Athletics Championships (Barcelona, 10th-15th July) and Laura has been selected for the European Mountain Running Championships (Turkey, 17th July).
The 1500m also provided Birmingham with some phenomenal displays as students Harry Harper and Dan Clorley made the final of the event.
Harry crossed the line in 6th place in a time of 3:50.24, just 2.25 seconds off first place in a tight race. Meanwhile Dan finished in 11th with a respectable time of 3:52.75.
Student Rebbeca Linney also made it through to the trials 800m final where she finished in a fine 8th place in 2:11.20, whilst alumni Louise Hazel and Sinead Gutzmore were both 4th in the 110m hurdles and triple jump respectively.
Alumna Hannah Brooks finished 6th in the women’s 1500 final finishing in 4:23.89as Birmingham’s representatives appeared to be in fine form.
The trials provided some memorable moments for Birmingham athletes and alumni, with those who have a chance of qualifying will look forward to next week’s Olympic Team announcement.
GUIDE TO - A STANDARD: The A Standard is the ‘automatic’ qualifying time for an event. Therefore, to secure a place in the Olympic squad, athletes need to achieve this A Standard. If too many athletes make this target, the selectors will use their discretion to choose which athletes will go. However, if not enough reach it, the selectors have to choose based upon other results.