Weightman’s Olympic hopes rest with selectors

Posting a picture of herself on her hands and knees, a devastated Laura Weightman confided on social media on Thursday that she would be unable to take part in the British Athletics Championships at Manchester at the weekend.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 4:23 pm
Laura Weightman, who is now sweating on her Olympic selection after missing the British Championships through injury.
Laura Weightman, who is now sweating on her Olympic selection after missing the British Championships through injury.

“It breaks my heart that I won’t be on the start line,” she confided, revealing a small hamstring injury sustained in training the previous week had ruled her out.

Having competed in two previous Olympic games, the Championships were doubling as trials for Tokyo Olympics selection, and, with the first two runners in events qualifying, Laura was strongly placed to make it three in a row.

Unfortunately, she now faces a difficult few weeks. While she holds the Olympic qualifying time already, having run 14 minutes 35.54 seconds in Monaco in August of last year, she is dependent both on the discretion of the selectors as to whether she is selected and also on her injury clearing up in time.

On Sunday the 5,000m was won by Blackburn’s Jess Judd in a time of 15:10.54 with Amy Markovic of Wakefield in second place. Both athletes also hold the Olympic qualifying time and will definitely be going.

On the previous afternoon, three Morpeth Harriers took place in track finals.

Qualifying strongly on the Friday night for the Men’s 1500m final with a time of 3:45.78, James Young took his place in a large field of some fifteen runners less than 24 hours later.

A slow-paced first 400m saw Young venture to the front on the second lap, with the pace cranking up in the second part of a race eventually won by Josh Kerr of Edinburgh AC in 3:40.72 with club colleague Jake Wightman second in 3:40.77.

Young finished in 9th place in a time of 3:45.51, a little adrift of his personal best set in April in the States of 3:37.72, but will certainly have profited from the outing.

A couple of hours later Morpeth Harriers Scott Beattie and Rory Leonard took part in the Men’s 5000m, a straight final.

Another initially tactical race, experienced international Andrew Butchart of Central AC surged powerfully with less than 600m to go but was unable to shake off Patrick Dever of Preston, Dever winning in a time of 13:37.30.

Beattie, who had travelled over from the States where, like Young, he is studying, had a good run to record a personal best of 13:58. 14 when finishing in 11th place and will undoubtedly have benefited from the experience. Leonard was one of four athletes, however, who sadly did not finish the race.

Two ex-Morpeth Harriers took part in the Men’s Shot Putt event on the Sunday, with Andrew Knight, now based on the South coast with City of Portsmouth, finishing in 6th with a best of 16.05 metres and Craig Charlton, now of Woodford Green, throwing 14.86 for 9th. Scott Linden of York was the only athlete to record an over 20m throw in winning (2.22m).

Regional schools action resumed at last at Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday, Prominent amongst Morpeth Harriers taking part was U/17 Edward Gardiner, who managed a new PB of 33.83m in the Hammer.