Sprint battles and fitness fights – what to watch for at the UK Championships

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Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the names and events to watch.

Sprint battles

Daryll Neita smiles and claps after a race
Daryll Neita has her sights on double sprint success (Martin Rickett/PA)

To be eligible for Team GB, athletes – in most cases – must secure a top-two finish in Manchester and achieve World Athletics’ qualification standard. The sprint races will be of particular interest. Sheffield athlete Louie Hinchcliffe has been one of the breakout stars of 2024 and has already clocked 9.95 seconds in the men’s 100 metres, comfortably inside the qualification mark of 10.0. Yet Jeremiah Azu and Reece Prescod have also achieved the standard and will be fierce competition. There is also an exciting head-to-head in store in the women’s 200m between Olympic medal hopefuls Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita, who also runs in the 100m.

Needs to deliver

Laura Muir with a Scottish flag after racing at the Commonwealth Games in 2022
Laura Muir will be the favourite in the women’s 1,500m

Tokyo silver medallist Laura Muir is the one to beat in the women’s 1,500m but she faces stiff competition from last year’s winner Katie Snowden, Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Georgia Bell and Revee Walcott-Nolan, who all have the qualifying standard.

Battles in the 800m

Josh Kerr, wearing glasses, points upwards after a race
Josh Kerr is competing in the 800m (Jane Barlow/PA)

Two of the most eagerly-anticipated contests are in the 800m. The men’s event will feature Josh Kerr who, already assured of a place in Paris in the 1,500m by virtue of his World Championships gold last year, is testing himself over the shorter distance. This adds spice to what already could have been a close contest between Elliot Giles, Ben Pattison, Daniel Rowden and Max Burgin. There is no Keely Hodgkinson in the women’s 800m as she, for similar reasons to Kerr, contests the 400m. That could leave the stage clear for Jemma Reekie and exciting 17-year-old prospect Phoebe Gill.

Fitness issues

 Katarina Johnson-Thompson runs up to throw the javelin
Katarina Johnson-Thompson will hope to put her injury problems behind her (Martin Rickett/PA)

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be testing her form and fitness after being forced to pull out of the recent European Championships through injury. The two-time world champion has entered the high jump, 200m and javelin. Zharnel Hughes, Britain’s fastest man over 100m, and 2022 World Championship 1,500m gold medallist Jake Wightman are both absent having been granted medical exemptions due to hamstring and calf injuries respectively.

Field events

Molly Caudery smiles and points to her head as she celebrates victory
Molly Caudery is a rising star in the pole vault (Martin Rickett/PA)

Johnson-Thompson aside, there should be plenty more interest in the field events. World indoor champion Molly Caudery will be favourite in the women’s pole vault but Tokyo bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw remains a threat. Scott Lincoln enters the men’s shot put fresh from his fourth place at the European Championships.

Others to watch

There will be a number of other names worth following including US-based Amber Anning in the women’s 400m and Matthew Hudson-Smith, a men’s 400m medal prospect, in the 200m.

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