ATHLETICS: King’s hopes of retaining British indoor title end in frustration

DAVID KING’S hopes of claiming a hat-trick of British indoor 60m hurdles titles and automatically guaranteeing his place at the World Indoor Championships came to a frustrating end on Sunday.

King had gone into the national championships in Birmingham in sparkling form having matched his lifetime best of 7.63 seconds just the weekend before at the same venue.

The City of Plymouth athlete showed that form in his heats, clocking 7.66 seconds to easily qualify for the final the fastest.

But in the final, where he was going head-to-head with his big rival Andy Pozzi, he twitched on the start blocks and the meeting officials deemed it enough to disqualify him from the race.

It meant 2018 world champion Pozzi was able to win back the national crown and secure his place on the plane to Belgrade.

King has got the World Championship qualifying time and has proved his form this season so he should have done enough to still make the Great Britain team, which will be announced on Tuesday.

Pozzi said he was disappointed King was disqualified on Sunday as he was looking forward to their head-to-head.

“I was more sorry for David as he’s having a really good season and I really wanted to compete with him in that final,” said Pozzi. “I think that would have pushed the level high, so it was disappointing. I was sorry for that to happen to him as he’s in great shape.”

King was not the only City of Plymouth hurdler competing at the national championships in Birmingham. Teenager Toby Clayden made his debut at the event, clocking a new PB of 8.59 seconds in the heats.

Fellow Plymouth athlete Tyler Johnson was also in action, clocking 49.31 seconds to finish fourth in his heat of the 400m.

Erme Valley Harriers also had three athletes competing at the championships in Birmingham.

Great Britain international Will Battershill came ninth in a strong 3,000m race that proved difficult to run in with 16 athletes in the field on a 200m track. In a tactical race, Battershill clocked 8:06.57.

Club colleague Sam Trigg-Petrovic finished seventh in the triple jump with a best leap of 15.24m, while Nathan Brown made his debut at the championships, finishing third in his heat of the 800m in 1:53.09.

Meanwhile, away from the track, Tavistock Run Project’s England junior international Oliver Smart came fifth in the under-20 men’s race at the English National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill.

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