Athletics: Pickering powers into European medal form

Craig Pickering maintained his impressive momentum ahead of next month's European Indoor Championships yesterday in a 60 metres final that concluded a Norwich Union European trials meeting which threw up a clutch of hugely promising performances.

Pickering, a 20-year-old student at Bath University, is entitled to compete in Birmingham on 2-4 March as favourite for a title that has been won three times by his training partner Jason Gardener, who could only finish seventh yesterday. Pickering downplayed his chances after a time of 6.58 seconds saw him comfortably clear of his 19-year-old training partner Ryan Scott, who also earned European qualification with a personal best of 6.64 in a final for which the former world indoor bronze medallist Mark Lewis-Francis was not even able to qualify.

"I'm not the gold medallist for the European Indoors by any means," said Pickering. "But there was a job that needed to be done today and I've done it. I'm the best in Britain at the moment, but you can't rule out Jason yet."

Gardener has run 6.58 this season and will almost certainly be offered the third sprinting place. But after managing only 6.67 yesterday, he wants to run faster in Saturday's Norwich Union Grand Prix.

Similar doubts persist over another of Britain's outstanding performers in recent years, 35-year-old Ashia Hansen, who has returned to the sport after her horrendous knee injury at the 2004 European Cup. Hansen's winning distance of 13.89 metres in Saturday's triple jump was not close enough to the qualifying mark of 14.10m to offer assurance that she could be competitive in the arena where she won the world indoor title four years ago. She will return to Sheffield on Saturday in the hope of an improvement.

The weekend was highly encouraging for younger athletes such as Mo Farah. The 23-year-old European cross country champion won the 3,000m in 7min 50.86sec and will now seek European Indoor and world cross country medals at either end of March.

A local girl, Jessica Ennis, the 21-year-old who earned a heptathlon bronze behind Commonwealth champion Kelly Sotherton last May, put her older rival under pressure here, beating her in the high jump and the 60m hurdles, where she ran a personal best of 8.18sec. Sotherton also ran a personal best, of 8.19, and the pair look ready to offer the Olympic champion, Sweden's Carolina Kluft, a real challenge.

Nicola Sanders, a 24-year-old from Windsor, Slough and Eton, recorded the world's fastest time this year, 50.60sec, in winning the 400 metres by almost three clear seconds. Things also look good for Nathan Douglas, who produced his second personal best of the season in the triple jump, winning with 17.19m, and Andy Turner, a Commonwealth and European medallist last year, who won the 60m hurdles in a personal-best 7.55sec which put him third on the all-time British list, behind Colin Jackson and Tony Jarrett.

Scott was not the only teenager on the day to make a name for himself. The 18-year-old James Brewer, from Cheltenham, surprised everyone by overhauling Richard Hill in the final 10 metres to win the 800m in 1min 49.03sec, just outside the European qualifying time.

Optimism will not extend, however, to the women's pole vault. Russia's defending champion Yelena Isinbayeva, who will appear in Birmingham on Saturday, yesterday raised her world indoor record to 4.93m.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker