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Sharp making strides on road to Glasgow

Two operations, a variety of ailments and a mid-race coughing fit would derail the ambitions of many but Lynsey Sharp remains on her desired trajectory.

Lynsey Sharp crosses the line to win in Birmingham and regain the UK 800 metres title, with the Scot having to fend off a belated burst of pace from Alison Leonard. Picture: Dan Mullan/ Getty Sport
Lynsey Sharp crosses the line to win in Birmingham and regain the UK 800 metres title, with the Scot having to fend off a belated burst of pace from Alison Leonard. Picture: Dan Mullan/ Getty Sport

Good fortune does not often interact with the 23-year-old but yesterday she cultivated her own luck to regain the UK 800 metres title at the Sainsbury's British Championships in Birmingham.

Victory ensured she will travel to Zurich in August to defend her European crown and it also underlined her intention to compete strongly at the Commonwealth Games. With rivals Jessica Judd and Jenny Meadows lurking among the field, Sharp accelerated out of their reach before resisting an unexpected charge from Alison Leonard.

As Sharp crossed the line in celebration, it was thought initially that she had broken the two-minute barrier for the first time. "I was thinking: 'Really?' I was dying coming down the home straight," she said.

Her official time proved a little slower than that but Sharp is confident that there will be more to come in the weeks ahead none the less. "I just wanted it so badly. It meant so much to me. I was so determined."

The win added to a total haul of four gold medals, two silvers and six bronzes for the Scottish contingent over the three-day meeting, a promising result with Glasgow 2014 now within reach. Eilish McColgan, who overcame food poisoning, secured her third successive 3000m steeplechase title comfortably, while Eilidh Child coasted to her maiden UK championship in the 400m hurdles. "It was pretty much job done," she added.

More unexpected was a victory for Allan Smith in the high jump as he took full advantage of the absence of Olympic medallist Robbie Grabarz to head the field with a leap of 2.24m. If he is to accomplish his secondary objective of claiming a European berth, he must leap four centimetres further by the selection deadline of July 14.

If he is only able to compete in the Commonwealth Games, he is intent on shining at Hampden. "I've just been trying to piece everything together for this," said the 21-year-old. "When I come into championships, I've always been ready to compete and be up there for a medal."

The same can be said for Dwain Chambers. Now 36, poor form over the winter left the veteran pondering openly if his career was nearing its end. His pack of challengers, the injured James Dasaolu apart, would line up in the 100m final smelling blood.

However, the Londoner - chosen solely for England's relay team at the Commonwealths - won in 10.12 seconds, with teenager Chijindu Ujah in third. That presents a selection dilemma should Dasaolu - who will make his return in Lausanne on Thursday - prove his form and fitness.

Chambers, though, is becoming a notable survivor. "I put myself on the line knowing that if I didn't do it now, then that was it."

Laura Whittle, meanwhile, geared up for the Commonwealths by finishing third in the 5000m, while European junior medallist Nick Percy registered a personal best of 58.61m to take bronze in the discus. Edinburgh's Sarah Warnock smashed her lifetime best in the long jump with a leap of 6.42m to finish behind Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Jazmin Sawyers.

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