Gardener wins Brit 100m, Devonish DQ, Campbell DNQ

Gardener defends 100m AAAs crown

Saturday 9 July 1710-1825 BST
Sunday 10 July 1645-1915 BST
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Jason Gardener ran a smooth race to successfully defend his AAAs 100m title in Manchester and book his place at August’s World Championships.

Gardener edged out Mark Lewis-Francis for a second year running in 10.26 seconds with Christian Malcolm third.

The in-form Marlon Devonish was disqualified for a second false start, although he had already hit the world mark, running 10.19 in the heats.

Darren Campbell failed to reach the final and has pulled out of the 200m.

The 31-year-old could only manage fifth and 10.48 seconds in his semi-final and he must now rely on a place in the 4x100m squad if he is to reach the worlds.

Campbell - I’m not finished yet

Campbell’s disappointing display means it is the first time since his debut appearance in 1992 that he has not appeared in a AAAs sprint final.

“It’s a shame about Marlon and Darren,” Gardener told BBC Sport. "But you have to focus on yourself.

“It’s great to get it right when it matters but you have to remember the best guys in the world are some distance away.”

Injury blow to Lewis-Francis

There was more bad news ahead of Helsinki with the news that Lewis-Francis picked up a knee injury.

Laura Turner was a surprise winner of the women’s 100m, claiming her first AAAs title in 11.55.

The Harrow athlete roared out of the blocks to better Jeanette Kwayke and veteran Joice Maduaka.

“I knew I got out well and just worked the whole way down from start to finish,” Turner told BBC Sport.

Sarah Claxton recovered from a false start to successfully defend her 100m hurdles title - and book her place in Helsinki - in a time of 12.96 seconds.

Diane Allahgreen took second while Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton came fifth.

Claxton delivered a fluid race to qualify for Helsinki

“I wanted to get under 13 seconds so much,” Claxton told BBC Sport. “I just tried to focus on doing what I needed to do.”

In the men’s 110m hurdles, Allan Scott claimed the AAAs title in a season’s best 13.59 - just outside the world qualifying standard of 13.55.

Andy Turner showed some form after recovering from injury to take second in another season’s best time too of 13.78.

In the anticipated men’s 400m, Tim Benjamin laid down his title claims as the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s final.

The Welshman eased over the line in 45.76 while Malachi Davis won the first semi-final in 46.07.

Nick Nieland was the first athlete to claim a AAAs title this weekend in the javelin.

The 33-year-old, coached by Steve Backley, comfortably won with his first-round effort of 78.30m - which was short of the world qualifying standard.

Photo gallery: AAAs championships day one

“It will be silly of me to go the championships on a ‘B’ standard - I need to be throwing ‘A’ standard on a regular basis,” Nieland admitted.

Nick Buckfield wrapped up his third title in four years, reaching a stadium record 5.50m in the pole vault - 10cm short of the required ‘A’ standard.

Another familiar face, Carl Myerscough landed 20.27m to win a third straight shot put title. The ‘Blackpool Tower’ already has the required mark for Helsinki.

In the men’s 5,000m, Ireland’s Mark Carroll was forced to dig deep to claim the title in 13 minutes 48.90 seconds.

Carroll, who aims to contest the 10,000m in Helsinki, was caught by Mark Miles with six laps to go but kicked on to finish first.

Jones won her fifth high jump title - but did not hit the world standard

Ireland’s Taneisha Scanlon took the women’s triple jump title with a leap of 13.30m.

Promising Briton Yasmine Regis could only finish fifth with 12.62m - well short of the 14.30m world qualifying mark.

Greg Rutherford took the men’s long jump title in the absence of Nathan Morgan and Chris Tomlinson.

The teenager landed 7.79m to claim top honours before running off to compete in the 100m final.

Susan Jones claimed her fifth straight high jump title - and 11th overall - with a season’s best of 1.86m - but still short of the world mark of 1.95m.

Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton went out of the event after failing three attempts at 1.83m.

In the men’s hammer, Andy Frost inflicted a shock defeat on Commonwealth champion Mike Jones.

Frost threw 72.09m in the fifth round - not good enough for the Worlds but enough for next January’s Commonwealth Games.

Gardener’s 100m title but rest of Olympic gold squad hits trouble – British Champs
Sunday 10 July 2005
Manchester, UK - Jason Gardener retained his British 100m title and secured a place on the team for Helsinki in a highly charged men’s 100m final, the highlight of the first day of the British World and Commonwealth Trials and AAAs championships held on a blistering hot day.

Gardener takes fourth title

Kelly Sotherton in Manchester
(Getty Images)

Athletes are more used to cold and wind in this northern English town, but the city of rain was baking in sun today with temperatures reaching the high 20s and spectators cowering in the shade. There was nothing shady about Gardener’s performance, though, as he overcame the pressure caused by two false starts and the challenge of pre-race favourite Mark Lewis-Francis to win his fourth AAA title, clocking 10.26 into a 1m/s headwind.

Lewis-Francis, one of his Olympic relay colleagues, finished second in 10.30 but was left clutching his left hamstring at the end. Christian Malcolm was the unlucky man in third, running 10.35, only the first two are guaranteed selection for Helsinki.

Marlon Devonish, a third member of the Athens gold medal squad who ran the fastest time of the day in his semi-final, was disqualified for a false start and had to sit and watch his rivals from the top of the straight.

“I knew this was going to be no easy challenge,” said Gardener. “Obviously there was a little bit of drama at the beginning but overall it was a really good day’s work for me. This is the 100m; this is what it’s all about. You’ve got to retain your focus and today I got it right.”

In an event featuring all four of Britain’s triumphant 4x100m relay squad from Athens, plus the back-to-form Malcolm, the fight for the three World championships places was always going to be fierce.

10.19 heat for Devonish

Devonish, better known as a 200m runner, he was World Indoor champion in 2003, had demonstrated his threat over the shorter distance when he ran the fastest time of the day in the semi-final, 10.19, his best of the year and only six hundredths outside his best ever. Gardener in 10.23 and Lewis-Francis in 10.26 also won their heats, but World bronze medallist Darren Campbell caused the first drama of the day when he failed to qualify for the final.

The Manchester-born sprinter, the fourth member of Britain’s Olympic gold medal-winning 4x100m relay squad in Athens, has been out of form all season after a hip injury earlier this year. Campbell stumbled out of the blocks at the start of his semi and could only finish fifth despite clocking his best time of the season, 10.48.

“I think it is just a result of trying too hard here today,” he said. “Ever since I have come back from the hip injury I have been playing catch up and trying too hard to force it.”

In the final, after one false start Devonish blasted away, his sights clearly set on a Helsinki 100m spot. But it was too quick for the starters and he had to stand aside. “It looks like I twitched or something,” an angry Devonish said afterwards. “I am extremely pissed off. It’s so frustrating. I’ll have to try and redeem myself in the 200m tomorrow.”

False starting has been the downfall of Lewis-Francis in recent years but the former World junior champion was quickest out of the blocks at the third time of asking only to be overhauled by Gardener who’s pick-up was superb. Lewis-Francis fought back in the last 10 metres but crossed the line limping and fell to the track holding his leg.

“As I came up to Jason’s shoulder I started to go again and then my hamstring just went,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s a pull or cramp. I was definitely going to pass him.”

“That’s what the 100m brings, drama and excitement. That’s why we love it,” said Gardener. “There was a lot at stake not just one championships but two.” As well as the World trials, these championships are also the trials for England’s Commonwealth Games team in Melbourne next March and only the first across the line here is guaranteed a ticket, another factor that added to the pressure.

British sprinting playing catch-up

While delighted with his win, Gardener was big enough to acknowledge the gap between the world’s best and British sprinters at the moment. “It’s great to come here and get it right when it really mattered,” he said. “But you’ve got to remember that the best guys in the world are some distance away.”

Campbell, who appears to be further back still, later pulled out of tomorrow’s 200m, saying “I’ll leave it to the youngsters to have the chance they deserve.” The 31 year-old is now highly unlikely to make the World Championships team for Helsinki, other than as a member of the relay squad, but he declared his intention to carry on competing until the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. “Don¹t get me wrong, Darren Campbell is not finished yet,” he claimed.

Medal parade for Achilles sore Holmes

One of Britain’s Olympic medallists who will soon be finished is Kelly Holmes. The double middle distance champion will retire after this season and was hoping to go out with a tenth AAA title to her name. But Holmes had to pull out of the 800m with a sore Achilles tendon and instead paraded her Athens medals around the 6000 capacity Regional Arena.

Sotherton ‘not dispirited’

The other Kelly, Sotherton, was competing, however. The Olympic Heptathlon bronze medallist finished fifth in the 100m Hurdles in 13.35, having run 13.65 in the heats. Sandwiched between her two hurdles outings she managed 1.80m in the High Jump, five centimetres below the personal best she set in Gotzis at the end of May. That was good enough only for sixth in a competition won by British record holder Susan Jones with 1.86m, but Sotherton said later it was the first jumping she’s done for four weeks and was not dispirited.

“It was not my day today; you can’t always jump well,” she said. “But to jump 1.80 at this time of year is not that bad.”

The 100m Hurdles final was won by Sarah Claxton in a World Championships qualifying time of 12.96. It was a personal best for the 25 year-old and puts her among the UK¹s all-time top ten.

“I was really nervous at the start, my legs felt like jelly,” said Claxton, who competed in the Athens Olympics but missed out on the Worlds in Paris two years ago.

Sotherton was disappointed with her performance, but said “I can’t really complain about what I’ve done today. This is my first competition for a couple of weeks and I’ve been training really hard. It¹s like the start of my season all over again. The world championships is the important one, this is just a means to an end.”

Sotherton will be back tomorrow for the Long Jump and the Shot Put.

Myserscough – 20.27m and 58.48m - double

Carl Myerscough won the men’s Shot Put today with 20.27 but was disappointed with his performance, a below par showing that he put down to illness. “That wasn’t really what I was hoping for,” he said. “I’ve had flu all week and am on antibiotics. But I’m a little bit disappointed because I feel I’m in better shape to throw further than that.”

He can’t have been suffering that badly though for he returned less than an hour later to win the discus with 58.48m, a victory that clearly lifted his spirits. “I’m very happy to be a double champion because it’s the first time it’s been done at these championships,” he said. “I wasn’t concerned with my performance; I just wanted the win.”

At least one Commonwealth champion might not be on the plane to Australia after today, after the veteran Mick Jones lost the Hammer here to 24 year-old Andy Frost who threw a personal best and stadium record of 72.09m to take the title, his first ever beyond 70 metres.

“I knew I was going to have to throw 70 metres to win,” he said. “It was a great feeling and a great relief when I did it.”

The 41 year-old Jones was second with 69.60m and after collecting his silver medal stepped off the podium to hang the gold round his young victor’s neck.

Matthew Brown for the IAAF