August 23, 2019
With five weeks to go until the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, British Athletics will be holding its trials this weekend at the Müller British Athletics Championships in Birmingham. Since our beloved feature writer was born in Britain, and since this is an English based website, we’ll give it some coverage.
For those of you curious about how it all works, you’re in the right place. This article will answer all the biggest questions, including when & how to watch, how the team gets picked, and what are the top races on the schedule. As for who makes the team? Well, you’ll have to watch the meet for that.
First, here’s the schedule, results, and list of entries.
Now let’s hit the other questions.
Who makes the team?
The top two finishers with the IAAF standard (or those who can get the standard by September 1) in each event qualify automatically. The third spot in each event is a discretionary selection by British Athletics. The full selection policy can be found here.
British Athletics has said that in events where it does not have three athletes with the standard, it may send athletes who receive an invitation from the IAAF based on their position on the global descending order list. But the criteria is hard to meet; British Athletics said it will only send an athlete in this position if the performance director believes they can win a medal at Worlds or at the 2020 Olympics.
What are the events to watch?
Men’s 1500 (final Sunday, 16:15)
This may be the race of the weekend. While the US has yet to put a single man under the 3:35.00 Olympic standard, Great Britain already has three in 2019 alone: Scots Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman and Englishman Charlie Da’Vall Grice, whose 3:30.62 moved him ahead of fellow Brighton native Steve Ovett to #4 on the all-time British list.
Those three will be favored to make the team, but don’t overlook Chris O’Hare. The 2012 NCAA mile champ at Tulsa, O’Hare has won this race the last two years and was Great Britain’s only World Championship finalist two years ago in London. The problem is, O’Hare doesn’t have the IAAF standard (3:36.00), which means he pretty much has to get it in the final on Sunday or hope a fast race materializes between now and the end of next week.
Based on recent form, however, it may not be relevant. While O’Hare came agonizing .25 shy of the standard in London on July 21, his most recent race, in Birmingham, was awful: he ran just 3:41 to finish 10th last weekend.
Men’s 800 (final Sunday, 16:37)
More Brits have the World Championship standard (1:45.80) in this race than any other, and while several of them are sitting this one out (Wightman, Da’Vall Grice, and Kerr are all focusing on the 1500), this should still be an exciting event.
Great Britain has the fourth-placers at the most recent world indoor (Elliot Giles) and outdoor (Kyle Langford) championships, but the British leader is neither of those men; it’s Jamie Webb, who beat Langford in London on July 21 to run 1:44.52. However, Giles just beat Webb in Birmingham last week. Guy Learmonth wasn’t far behind in that race, but he still needs the IAAF standard of 1:45.80 (he’s run 1:45.86 this year).
17-year-old Max Burgin, who ran 1:45.36 earlier this year, is also entered, but he’s coming off injury and was only 10th in Birmingham last week. He’ll be fun to follow if he runs, but isn’t likely to challenge for a spot in Doha.
Women’s 800 (final Sunday, 16:25)
Lynsey Sharp has been rounding into form nicely, running 1:58 in both Monaco and London before taking second behind Ajee’ Wilson at the Birmingham Diamond League. She’ll go off as the favorite here. World Indoor bronze medalist/Euro indoor champion Shelayna Oskan-Clarke is a proven championship performer, while Alexandra Bell and Hannah Segrave also have the IAAF standard and will battle it out to make it the Worlds team.
Women’s 5,000 (final Sunday, 15:04)
This event is as deep as it’s ever been in the UK. Eilish McColgan (14:47), Laura Weightman (14:51), and Melissa Courtney (14:53) sit 3rd, 5th, and 7th on the UK all-time list, and all three of those performances come from 2019. McColgan has the fastest time, but Weightman, who was 6th at the 2017 Worlds in the 1500 and ran a stellar 4:17 mile in Monaco, has a strong kick and beat McColgan when they raced the 5,000 against each other in London last month. Courtney could be the odd woman out but seems a good bet for the discretionary selection.
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