Meadows sets her sights on new British record

British runner targets Kelly Holmes' 800m indoor marker in Birmingham today

It is true to say that there has been nothing quite like Dame Kelly Holmes in the long, rich history of women's track and field on these shores.

There has been no other double Olympic gold medal-winning female British athlete. Still, there could possibly be one less honour left in Dame Kelly's possession by the time the clock-chasing is finished on the blue 200-metre track at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham this afternoon.

For Jenny Meadows, the No 1 priority in the women's 800m – the penultimate race on the programme in the Aviva Grand Prix – will be the psychological boost of a victory against world-class opposition ahead of the World Indoor Championships, which take place in the Aspire Dome in Doha from March 12 to 14. Priority No 2, though, is the British indoor record set by Holmes on the Belgian boards of Ghent on 9 February, 2003: 1 min 59.21sec.

"First and foremost I want to win the event," Meadows said yesterday upon her arrival in England's Second City for the premier meeting of the British indoor season.

"A lot of people are saying to me, 'Maybe you can get Kelly Holmes' British record' and I have got one eye on that, but the priority is definitely the win. I love this track at Birmingham. It's a really, really quick track and there's going to be a lot of support for me. But I just want to make sure I'm a contender for Doha."

Not many folk had Meadows down as a contender for Berlin last summer but the 5ft 1in Wiganer lived up to her sobriquet of "the Pocket Rocket" blasting to a bronze medal in the outdoor World Championship final. It was a significant breakthrough that passed without due recognition in the midst of the Caster Semenya affair that has yet to reach a conclusion, six months on.

"I can't believe it has not been resolved," Meadows said of the uncertainty still surrounding the South African world champion following gender verification tests.

What is certain in Meadows' case is that she has stepped up a notch in terms of her assurance on the track since her bronze medal run behind Semenya and Kenya's Janeth Jepkosgei in Berlin. In the Birmingham Grand Prix last year she was beaten by one of her British rivals, Marilyn Okoro, but clocked an indoor personal best – 1: 59.52 – as runner-up. Okoro missed Holmes' British record by a tantalising 0.06sec and 12 months on the new, improved Pocket Rocket looks equipped to threaten it, especially with Yuliya Krevsun in the field to push her. She was the Ukrainian Meadows beat in the sprint for bronze in Berlin.

"I think I proved a point to myself last year by getting my bronze medal, and I've taken that with me through the winter into the indoor season," Meadows said, of her elevated stature. "When I'm standing on the start line now, they announce me as 'world bronze medallist' and I kind of think, 'Gosh, I've got to live up that; I've got to perform like that'. It's definitely been a confidence-building thing."

There were two British records in the Birmingham Grand Prix last year – courtesy of Kate Dennison, who will be back in action in the pole vault in the National Indoor Arena today, and Mo Farah, who withdrew from the field for the 3,000m yesterday.

Kenenisa Bekele had been planning an attack on Daniel Komen's 3,000m indoor world record but the Ethiopian has also scratched from the event. Still, two of Bekele's compatriots will have their sights on global marks today: Gelete Burka in the mile and Tirunesh Dibaba in the two miles.

Going the extra mile: Indoor quest for world-record glory

*One Mile

The women's indoor mile record has stood for 20 years to Doina Melinte, the 1984 Olympic 800m champion from Romania. Her time, 4min 17.14sec, is the target in Birmingham today for Gelete Burka, the world indoor 1500m champion from Ethiopia.

*Two Miles

Tirunesh Dibaba, the Ethiopian who won the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m titles in Beijing in 2008, and Vivian Cheruiyot, the Kenyan world 5,000m champion, both plan to attack Meseret Defar's world best time for two miles: 9min 09.26sec.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot