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.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Year 5/6 Teacher - Winsford

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 5/6 Teachers needed in WinsfordWe...


Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SENCO Greater Manchester

Art & Design Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits