Hannah Brier

Hannah Brier. Pic: Getty Images

Hannah Brier Breaks News Ground With GB Alongside Jeremiah Azu


By Owen Morgan

Wales’ fastest ever male and female sprinters are heading to the World Indoor Athletics Championships which start on St David’s Day.

Jeremiah Azu and Hannah Brier have both been named in the Great Britain team to compete in next month’s event in Glasgow.

Azu, of Cardiff Athletics, will be contesting the 60m sprint while Brier has been named as part of the women’s 4x400m squad.

Inclusion in the 400m relay is a remarkable achievement for the Swansea Harrier in her first season competing in the longer sprint indoors.

Brier previously starred over 100m, a distance where she holds the Welsh record, and the 200m, but switched to outdoor 400m last summer.

The 26-year-old has represented Wales at two Commonwealth Games, but this is her first ever senior Great Britain vest.

Brier said of her selection: “I’m so unbelievably happy to be selected for the World Indoor Championships.

“I’ve worked so hard over the last couple of months, and it feels amazing that it’s now being shown.

“I’m completely over the moon, especially because this is my first year running 400m. I’m super excited to be amongst the best in the world and to soak up the experience.”

The championships will see Brier return to Glasgow – the city where she ran in the Commonwealth 100m heats in 2014 as a 16-year-old.

At the end of January this year, Brier clocked 58.09 in her first competitive indoor 400m race – a win during the heats at the Welsh Indoor Championships where she went on to claim gold after setting a new championship best time of 54.16 in the semi-finals.

Since then, the Matt Elias coached athlete has lowered her personal best to 53.36.

At last weekend’s Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham she twice improved her indoor PB on the way to the final where she finished fifth.

The performances in Birmingham ultimately clinched Brier’s place on the GB team, which was named on Monday.

Azu booked his individual spot on the team in emphatic style at the Utilita Arena by comprehensively winning gold in the 60m.

Having already run the qualifying standard earlier this year, Azu rubber-stamped his place by winning the national title ahead of Ojie Edoburun.

And all this despite having not concentrated on the 60m distance in his training so far this winter, with his focus set more on the 100m and hopefully qualification for the Paris Olympics in August.

Azu, who trains in Italy as part of coach Marco Airale’s group, said after his win in Birmingham: “Indoors is always a tricky one, everyone prepares for it differently. I think the way we prepare for it . . . it’s a lot harder to run fast the way we train.

“Our training is set up to run fast in August. If you look at the pattern of the group, that’s when most people peak. But we’re moving well right now . . . which is a good confidence boost.

“I can’t really complain because I’m running some of my best times week in week out.”

On his selection, Azu, who holds the men’s Welsh 100m record, added: “It’s an honour to represent Great Britain. I just want to thank God for the for the gift he has given me.

“A huge thanks to the Welsh fans at the weekend and a massive shout out to my coach who has got me to this place.

“Glasgow is going to be amazing in front of the home fans I can’t wait!”

Welsh Athletics head of performance Chris Type said of the selections: “The World indoors selection has topped off what was a strong weekend for Welsh Athletes at the UK Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

“Jeremiah continues to progress nicely and is ready for Glasgow going in as British Champion.

“Hannah’s inclusion in the relay team is a huge bonus for her as she is still transitioning to the 400m, with this selection earning her first senior GB vest.

“Both athletes are relishing the opportunity to perform on the world stage.”

The GB team will be finalised later this week once UK Athletics has received confirmation of the World Athletics ‘Road to Glasgow Rankings’.

Subject to their position in the rankings, those athletes who have met the UKA requirements outlined in the selection policy will be confirmed and added.

The Great Britain team announced is:

Georgia Bell (Trevor Painter, Belgrave) – 1500m
Isabelle Boffey (Luke Gunn, Enfield and Haringey) – 800m
Molly Caudery (Scott Simpson, Thames Valley) – Pole Vault
Morgan Lake (Robbie Grabarz, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) – High Jump
Laura Muir (Steve Vernon, Dundee Hawkhill) – 3000m
Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester, Enfield and Haringey) – 400m
Jemma Reekie (Jon Bigg, Kilbarchan) – 800m
Cindy Sember (Chris Johnson, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) – 60m Hurdles
Revee Walcott-Nolan (Thomas Dreißigacker, Luton) – 1500m
4x400m: Hannah Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea), Hannah Kelly (Les Hall, Bolton), Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow), Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester, Enfield and Haringey), Lina Nielsen (Tony Lester, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Ama Pipi (Linford Christie; Enfield & Haringey)

Jeremiah Azu (Marco Airale, Cardiff) – 60m
Callum Elson (Nick Aguila, Cambridge & Coleridge) – 1500m
Adam Fogg (Cory Leslie, Coventry) – 1500m
Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey, Edinburgh) – 3000m
David King (Tim O’Neil, City of Plymouth) – 60m Hurdles
Tade Ojora (Joanna Hayes, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) – 60m Hurdles.

Check out the latest story featuring Jeremiah Azu.

Jeremiah Azu Is The Fastest Man In Britain . . . But He’s Fixed On Olympic Success This Summer

Check out the latest story featuring Hannah Brier.

Wales’ Fastest Woman, Hannah Brier, Has A New Young Rival


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *