University Championships


Emily wins gold in indoor 1500m

Emily Thompson ran a lifetime best to take the 1500m title at the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) Indoor Athletics Championships last weekend. 

The BUCS Championships bring together 1100 athletes from over 60 different universities at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield for 3 days of top-level competition. Running for Birmingham University, Emily moved up to the 1500m distance from her usual 800m and claimed the Gold medal with a masterful display of tactical running and sprint finishing. 

Having won her heat on Saturday with ease in a time of 4mins 41 secs, Emily progressed to Sunday's final to face a talented line-up that included previous medallists and GB Cross-Country athletes. Dani Chattenton, the leader for much of the race, had earlier won the 3000m and was now aiming to win the endurance double. As Chattenton pushed on the pace with 600m to go, Emily had to work hard to stay in contention, tussling with Loughbrough's Rosemary Johnson to run on the shoulder of the leader. As she approached the bell with 200m to run, Emily accelerated past Johnson and Chattenton to take the lead and strike out on her own. Showing the sustained sprint finish that she has honed over 800m, Emily gained and then held a crucial advantage over her rivals who could do nothing to rein her back in. Her winning time of 4mins25secs knocked 3 seconds off her lifetime best and puts her top of the Under 20 national rankings for the 1500m this winter season. Her medal capped a golden afternoon for Birmingham who dominated the endurance events with other golds for James Gormley (3000m) and Issy Boffey (800m), and Silver and Bronze for Kate Seary and Victoria Weir (3000m). 

Emily had represented England over 800m in an international fixture in Bratislava at the end of January. Her excellent second place was behind GB Senior athlete, Mari Smith, who has recently been selected for the European Indoor Athletics Championships. Then at the British Senior Indoors, held in the Birmingham Arena on 9-10th February, Emily lined up next to Olympian Lynsey Sharp in the heats of the 800m. With only the winner qualifying automatically for the final, it was always a question of how close she could get to Sharp to contest the available fastest runner-up spots. A new indoor best of 2mins7.35secs to take 2nd place behind Sharp meant that Emily narrowly missed a place in the final, as the third fastest runner-up across all heats. It nevertheless provided the springboard she needed for her 1500m success the following weekend.

Thank you for the report and photos by Richard Thompson 


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