Some of England’s finest athletes will be chasing points for their team and championships qualifying performances as the historic Loughborough International returns this Sunday.
First held in 1958, the meeting has long been the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic season. After the event was missed last year due to the pandemic, this represents the first opportunity for athletes to compete in an England vest on home soil since 2019.
The team of 52 will face opposition from Scotland, Wales, Great Britain & Northern Ireland Under-20s and Loughborough University. Several of them will be looking for standards for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo and the European Athletics Under-23 Championships, as well as next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
England will have excellent representation in the 800m in the shape of European under-20 champion Isabelle Boffey (Enfield & Haringey; Luke Gunn) and World Championships fourth-placer Kyle Langford (Shaftesbury Barnet; Jon Bigg).
Boffey is this summer looking to build on her sixth at the European Indoors in March. Meanwhile, Langford already has the Olympic standard and will be seeking to hone his preparation for the trials next month.
After her 800m PB of 2:01:06 earlier this month, Revee Walcott-Nolan (Luton) will line-up over 1500m.
Another in fine form is high jumper Joel Clarke-Khan (Worcester; Deirdre Elmhirst), who represented Britain at the recent European Indoors. He is closing in on the mark of 2.25m for Birmingham as he takes on Loughborough Olympian Chris Baker.
Fresh from his GB appearance at the European Throws Cup, shot-putter Scott Lincoln (City of York; Paul Wilson) will be hoping for maximum points in the shot – as will Commonwealth fourth-placer Adam Hague in the pole vault.
In the women’s high jump, Laura Zialor (Marshall Milton Keynes; Jade Surman/Julian Reid), will be looking for further advancement after her recent 1.87m jump brought her a PB by 4cm and a Commonwealth qualifier.
Jessica Mayho (Birchfield Harriers; John Pearson) returns to the same Loughborough hammer circle where she has already had three throws over the Birmingham 2022 qualifying this year, including her recent PB of 67.07m. Similarly James Weaver (Enfield & Haringey; Michael Baker) is in PB shape in the 110m hurdles with his 13.62 Commonwealths mark.
Also in the sprints, European indoors relay medallist Ama Pipi (Enfield & Haringey; Linford Christie) is chasing the 23.00 200m Commonwealth standard as she faces Scotland’s Worlds semi-finalist Beth Dobbin.
British pole vault champion Sophie Cook (Halesowen; Scott Simpson) is due to make her season debut and will have an eye on the 4.30m target for Birmingham as she meets Loughborough’s former European junior silver medallist Molly Caudery. Javelin thrower Freya Jones (Newham & Essex Beagles; David Calloway) is another national champion in England colours.
Commonwealth 100m hurdles finalist Alicia Barrett (Chesterfield; Benke Blomqvist) will make an appearance in the 4x100m as well as her main event.
Meanwhile, in the 400m hurdles, Jacob Paul (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow; Marina Armstrong) will be up against Wales’ 2011 world champion Dai Greene.
Much will be expected of two throwers who already have the Commonwealth distance, Greg Thompson (Shaftesbury Barnet; Neville Thompson) in the discus and Craig Murch (Birchfield Harriers; Lorraine Shaw) in the hammer.
In the 1500m, Jeremy Dempsey (Shaftesbury Barnet; George Harrison) is among a small handful of athletes on the team closing in on qualifying marks for the European Under-23 Championships.
As usual for this meeting, England will be challenged by some top opposition looking for good early-season performances. Among those are Scotland’s Zoey Clarke (400m and 4x400m relay), Loughborough’s Nathan Douglas (triple jump), Scotland’s Chris Bennett (hammer) and Loughborough’s Taylor Campbell (hammer).
The action is underway at 11am on Sunday and the final event is due off at 5.30pm.
Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, no spectators will be permitted but live streaming is being made available online by Loughborough University – click here to access the live stream.
You can also stay tuned to the @EnglandAthletic Twitter feed for regular results updates throughout the day.
Click here to view the full list of athletes selected to represent England at the competition.