Sprinter runs 10.03 amid Mancunian monsoon on day one of the UK Champs at Sportcity
Even for a city renowned for its damp weather, the fierce downpour that hit Manchester during the men’s 100m final on the first day of the UK Championships was something to behold.
As the heavens opened shortly after 7pm on Saturday (July 8), spectators and officials reached for their umbrellas or ran for cover. As the rain fell, though, Zharnel Hughes’ reign began as British 100m champion as he sped to victory in 10.03 (0.0).
The 27-year-old broke Linford Christie’s 30-year-old British 100m record with 9.83 in New York last month and the former record-holder was among the crowd as the Anguilla-born Brit gave further proof that he’s in the form of his life.
Behind, Reece Prescod was satisfied to get the second automatic selection spot in the monsoon-like conditions with 10.14, while Eugene Amo-Dadzie showed his recent 9.93 clocking wasn’t a one-off by taking bronze with 10.18.
Jeremiah Azu was fourth in 10.28 after having earlier run a Welsh record of 10.08 narrowly behind Hughes in the semi-finals, whereas CJ Ujah, returning from an anti-doping ban, was fifth in 10.31.
“It means everything to me to be British champion,” said Hughes, stopping only briefly to talk to the media given the conditions. “I train in these conditions sometimes in Jamaica… but I am soaked here. These conditions are the worst ever.
“It has been a long journey to get the title back that I last won in 2015. I thank my team, my coach and everyone who came to support me. I’ll come back for the 200m tomorrow and hope the conditions are better.”
Moments earlier James West also showed a fine turn of speed as he out-kicked Emile Cairess, Tom Mortimer and Charles Hicks to win the men’s 5000m in 13:42.03.
The rain was not as heavy as the runners covered their 12.5 laps of the Sportcity track, but West’s post-race chat with AW was almost aborted as the rain and wind nearly blew caused the media tent to collapse.
After years of combining part-time building work with athletics, Scott Lincoln became a full-time athlete for the first time last winter and it’s paying off as he finds himself in the form of his life.
At times he admits he is twiddling his thumbs from time to time. “I’ve watched everything on YouTube and am on to Netflix now,” he jokes. But generally it gives him an invaluable opportunity to fully rest between training sessions and ahead of competitions.
He threw 21.10m at the European Team Championships a fortnight ago in Poland but was disappointed as he felt he was capable of more. In Manchester on Saturday he took his 16th British title – indoors or out – with 20.46m in wet conditions early on Saturday afternoon ahead of Youcef Zatat’s 18.78m and Patrick Swan’s 17.59m.
Lincoln had mixed feelings about the rain. “I wasn’t exactly doing a rain dance to get it to shower,” he said, but added that the circle at Sportcity is usually better for shot putters when it’s a little wet.
Jacob Fincham-Dukes took his first British long jump title with 7.86m (0.2) by 7cm from Jack Roach and Jake Burkey. There were mixed feelings for the winner, though, as he injured his hamstring in the third round and plans to fly home to Dallas in the United States on Sunday.
Nick Percy led the discus with 61.26m in the second round but Lawrence Okoye bounced back in the third to take the lead with 61.68m.
“It wasn’t a great performance but it was a good result,” said Okoye, who is now based in Loughborough and enjoying a busy summer of competitions ahead of the World Champs in Budapest as he tries to build on the brilliant form he showed in 2022 to win bronze at the European Championships.
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