Hurdlers Andrew Pozzi and Eilidh Doyle were among the University of Bath-based athletes who booked their place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Trials with medal-winning performances at the British Championships in Birmingham.
Emily Diamond and Jazmin Sawyers, who also train at the Sports Training Village (STV), secured their coveted Team GB spots by winning gold, while University of Bath graduates Lawrence Clarke and Danny Talbot claimed the top-two places they needed for qualification.
All six have also been named in a 98-strong British Athletics team for the European Championships in Amsterdam, taking place from July 6-10.
Pozzi, coached by University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport inductee Malcolm Arnold, made light of a headwind at the Alexander Stadium to storm to victory in the men’s 110m hurdles in a personal best time of 13.31.
“I am absolutely thrilled with that,” said Pozzi, who has suffered from major injury problems since qualifying for the London 2012 Games.
“That was actually the last outdoor trials I ran in and I am over the moon to come back and qualify four years after doing it for London 2012, with a PB and in the same lane I did it in four years ago.”
Former training partner Clarke, a Business Masters graduate, was runner-up in 13.44 and the bronze medal went to David King, who is coached by James Hillier at the STV.
Sports Performance graduate King could still claim the third available 110m hurdles place in the Team GB Rio squad, should he run the qualifying time before July 11.
Doyle produced an impressive performance to win her third British 400m hurdles title in 54.93 after taking control of the final from the early stages.
“I never take anything for granted because you’ve still got to go out and execute the race,” said Doyle, who is coached by Arnold and competed at London 2012.
“I had to remain focused but I’m happy to put on a show this afternoon. It’s great to confirm qualification to the Olympic Games. I’m confident going into that competition as the hurdles field on the international stage is wide open this year.”
Joining Doyle on the podium was Sports & Exercise Science student Bethany Close, coached by Colin Bovell, who produced a fantastic personal best of 57.70 to win bronze.
All set to make her Olympic debut is Diamond, who does some of her training with Hillier’s coaching group and continued her outstanding season by winning the women’s 400 title in 51.94.
“It’s just a relief,” said Diamond. “I think it’s the first time that I’ve come in to the Championships ranked number one.
“To win was just a massive bonus and to firmly secure my seat at Rio is an absolute dream come true. It was such a strong field but I came in thinking I should have the most confidence I’ve ever had because I’ve PB’d numerous times this season and I’ve had a whole winter without any injuries.”
Rio will also be a first Olympic Games for Sawyers, who picked the perfect moment to set the qualification standard in the women’s long jump as she cleared 6.75m – a new personal best and enough to secure gold.
“I’m chuffed to bits, I can’t believe it” said Sawyers. “I feel as though I have had a series of jumps in the last few competitions which were almost there so I’m very happy to do it today.
“I’ve had a series of consistent jumps this season in the 6.60s so I knew it was there. I can’t believe I have confirmed my place on the plane to Rio, I’m so happy. It is a big moment for me but it is just the start of my Olympic campaign.”
Set for his second Olympic appearance, but his first in an individual competition, is Sports Performance graduate Talbot after his runner-up spot in a thrilling 200m final.
Just two-hundredths of a second separated Talbot and gold-medallist Adam Gemili, who won in 20.44, but both athletes are now on the plane to Rio. Leon Reid, part of Hillier’s training group at the STV, was sixth in 21.18.
Rosie Clarke, an Accounting & Finance graduate, was a surprise winner of the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in a big personal best of 9:52.20. The Olympic qualifying time is 9:45.00 and she will have chance to go for that at the European Championships next week.
Lucy Bryan, coached by Charles Preston at the STV, finished just outside the medals in the women’s pole vault after clearing 4.05m and Theo Campbell, coached by Hillier, was sixth in the men’s 400m in 46.25.
Two University of Bath students reached the men’s 400m hurdles final, with Jacob Paul (Sports & Exercise Science) sixth in 50.46 and Jack Houghton (Biology) eighth in 51.52. Coached by Bovell, they are supported by Trendell and Santander Sports Scholarships respectively.
Andy Robertson, coached by Dan Cossins, was eighth in the men’s 100m final in 10.22.