sport

Grabarz fails to set new record

Robbie Grabarz came up short in his bid to set a new British high jump record, but did bag a season's best at Sunday's trials in Sheffield.

Grabarz, who claimed a bronze medal at the London Olympics last year, easily won the UK Championships title with a clearance of 2.31 metres, before putting the bar up to a national record and world-leading height of 2.39m.

The 25-year-old's first attempt ended in comical fashion as he tried to abort his run-up and ended up carrying the bar off in his hands, but the second and third efforts were much closer.

"I think I will get it easily, especially after today," said Grabarz, who will look to add the European Indoor title in Gothenburg to his outdoor crown in March.

"The first two were a little ropey but it wasn't because I couldn't clear it, it was just because it was my second competition of the year and only my fifth jump of the day.

"I'm not doing many competitions indoors so when I do it's nice to come out and show my training is working. Obviously I didn't clear it, but I wanted to go straight for the world lead after I took the title. I managed to slowly calm myself back down (after the first attempt) and so I know what to focus on next week now."

Two years ago, Grabarz finished 23rd in qualifying at the European Indoors in Paris and his career seemed to be going nowhere, but after losing his Lottery funding at the end of that year and getting a stern talking to from his coach, he has reaped the rewards for refocusing on the sport.

"The target is to win in Gothenburg and I am looking forward to it," he added.

Elsewhere, world indoor champion Yamile Aldama won the triple jump, but the 40-year-old was disappointed with a winning distance of 13.44m.

"It feels good to defend the title, winning is always good," Aldama said. "I wasn't happy with the distance but I'm coming back slowly after the (shoulder) surgery that I had at the end of September."

In the 400m, Eilidh Child, who set a new Scottish record of 52.06 seconds in yesterday's heats, won the title in 52.13secs ahead of defending champion Shana Cox (52.97).

The hurdles specialist said: "I'm over the moon, I just wanted to win it. I've had so many silvers at UK Championships before so it's great to finally get a gold.

"It's been a great weekend for me. I was a bit worried about how I'd run today after having a hard run last night. I'm happy that I've come out and done two solid races back to back. I'll run the 400m at the European Indoors so that was good preparation for me because I'll need to run a round every day so this has got my body used to it."

Fellow Scot Laura Muir, 19, also secured her place on the team with victory in the 1,500m, while the closest finish of the day came in the men's 800m, with officials needing a lengthy study of the photo finish before giving the verdict to defending champion Joe Thomas ahead of Mukhtar Mohammed. Both athletes were given the same time of one minute 48.55 seconds.