Final thoughts of GB Indoor Champs

From a marketing point of view, UKA got everything wrong during the Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships.  As everyone knows, spectators only want a slick 2-hour program with as few field events as possible.  Yet there was UKA offering a seven-hour program on the first day and over 5 hours on the second day, covering the full range of the sport – even race-walking and para-athletics.  Yet the sold-out, record-breaking 7,000 crowd loved it.

Think Jeremy Azu is happy winning the British title at 60 meters? photo by Getty Images for British Athletics

There were superstars of British athletics – Lara Muir and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.  There were wins for Morgan Lake and Jemma Reekie.  There were excellent shot put competitions won by Scott Lincoln and Amelia Campbell (nee Strickler)

Jemma Reekie had a big win over 800m in Birmingham on Sunday, February 18, 2024, photo by Getty Images for UK Athletics

Jeremiah Azu was the fastest man, Amy Hunt the fastest woman.  Three of the six finalists in the women’s sprint final were teenagers – what an opportunity for them to run in front of a big crowd.

Amy Hunt took the 60m title in Birmingham, photo by Getty Images for UK Athletics

The 400m athletes had to fit in three rounds in a little over 24 hours, and did they deliver – I have given them tomorrow off – well, tomorrow morning. Lee Thompson won the men’s and Laviai Nielsen the women’s despite her annoying twin sister trying to ruin her day!

Sister Act: Lavai Nielsen, Lina Nielsen, photo by Getty Images for UK Athletics

In that lovely, unpredictable way that our sport has, the standout event was Molly Caudery’s world-leading 4.85 in the women’s pole vault.  It was a pole vault competition of two halves, with three athletes achieving PRs, but Caudery won the competition with her first leap, coming in at 4.41; she cleared 4.61. 4.75. 4.85 and had a go at 4.91 before waiting for a delighted crowd.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 17: Molly Caudery of Great Britain acknowledges the crowd during the Women’s Pole Vault Final on day one of the Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships 2024 at Utilita Arena Birmingham on February 17, 2024 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)

TV coverage was on BBC – accessible to all – with excellent commentary and analysis.

My only disappointment was that this is it for indoor athletics.  Birmingham was scheduled to host the WA indoor series final – as it did not last year.  There has been no official announcement as to why, but the final will be in Madrid, not Birmingham.

Stuart Weir is recovering from surgery and was covering the event remotely.