Jeremiah Azu celebrates his win. Pic: British Athletics.

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

Bu Owen Morgan

Jeremiah Azu claimed domestic gold in Birmingham on Saturday, but the Cardiff sprinter has his sights set on global glory this year.

The 2022 British 100m champion added 60m gold to his growing medal collection at a sold out Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships.

Victory secured Azu a place at next month’s World Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow.

The 22-year-old Welsh star stormed to victory in the final, clocking 6.60 to finish clear of Sale Harrier Andrew Robertson who crossed in 6.68 for silver and Ojie Edoburun, of Enfield and Harringay AC, who claimed bronze in 6.71.

Azu, who ran a PB of 6.57 earlier this month, said: “My goal was to get the win and the time for the worlds.

“I am glad I did that, but I will need to go quicker to reach the final in the worlds.”

Despite having won his heat in 6.70 and his semi-final in 6.62, as well as the final, Azu wasn’t entirely happy with his day’s work.

“I messed up my start in the semi-final and even a little in the final,” he said.

Jeremiah Azu on his way to gold in the 60m final. Pic: British Athletics.

“I wanted to be ahead by 20m but I didn’t panic and I tried to drive as long as possible and then pull away from the others.”

Turning his attention to the future, the Welsh 100m record holder who is based in Italy where he is part of coach Marco Airale’s training group, said: “Next Friday I race in Berlin then back home for a few days before Glasgow.”

Beyond the World Indoor Championships, Azu is also eyeing a spot at the Paris Olympics this summer.

“Of course, for outdoors my target is to run sub-10,” said Azu.  “I ran 10.04 last year but I really want to get in that exclusive club of sub-10 this year and I think I can.

“My main goal is to make the British team then make the final in Paris.”

Another Welsh sprinter in excellent form in Birmingham was Commonwealth Games 100m Champion Olivia Breen.

The City of Portsmouth athlete will have Parisian ambitions of her own with the Paralympics being held in the French capital later in the summer. Before then, Japan hosts the World Para Athletics Championships in May.

In the first track final of the day in Birmingham, Breen won the women’s 60m para final by the width of her vest ahead of Madeline Down.

Olivia Breen on her way to a narrow win in the women’s 60m para final. Pic: British Athletics.

A multi-classification race, T38 athlete Breen clocked 8.22 for victory, just 0.02 in front of 16-year-old Down.

Breen squeezed her 60m victory in between her efforts in the women’s long jump final, where she registered a best of 4.69m.

Breen said afterwards: “It was a good battle between me and Maddie.  It is great to have the Para events here, so I really wanted to compete although it was hard with the long jump going at the same time.

“I have had a really good block of winter training, and it is a huge year ahead, so we need to be on our game.  It has been a very positive start to the season after being injured last year so I am very excited going forward.

“The long jump wasn’t great, but it is what it is. It was hard to come back after the 60m but there is a lot to learn from. I am not too disappointed as it is all part of the build-up to the important summer.”

In the field, there was a brilliant bronze medal for Wrexham’s Tom Walley, who produced a new personal best of 5.16m in the pole vault, behind Harrow AC’s Owen Heard, who claimed gold with a height of 5.26m.

The Welsh indoor champion, narrowly missed out on the silver medal on countback, having registered the same height as Sale’s Benjamin Lazarus.

Commenting on his medal, Walley said: “The season has been pretty average but consistent. So, to peak at the right time at the Champs and come away with a medal is brilliant.

Tom Wilcock narrowly missed out on a medal in the 60m hurdles final. Pic: British Athletics.

“I thought I could be in the mix, so I am pleased with today’s performance. I knew I was in form so delighted to get the PB today.”

Tom Wilcock, of Northampton AC, progressed in the 60m hurdles finishing second in his heat in 7.83.

In the final, the Welsh 110m hurdle champion narrowly missed out on a bronze medal by just 0.02 of a second, clocking 7.89.

In the women’s 400m, Swansea Harrier Hannah Brier continued her excellent form this indoor season as she produced a personal best to finish second in her heat in 53.43.

In the semi-final, Brier, clocked another personal best registering 53.36 to finish second and book her place in Sunday’s final.

Piers Copeland, of Pontypridd Roadents AC, earned a spot in Sunday’s 1500m final as he finished third in his heat clocking 3:46.66.

Likewise, Cari Hughes, of Cardiff Athletics, qualified for Sunday’s women’s 1500m final thanks to finishing fourth in her heat in 4:20.58.

Saturday’s full results can be found of the British Athletics website.


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