An army of British track-and-field legends sat motionless in Manchester as their would-be successors embraced the stage of a UK Championships in a time of no spectators, hygienic protocols and temperature checks at every turn.

Like the cardboard cut-outs of Coe, Ovett, Wells and McColgan which took the place of the absent fans, what should have been the Olympic trials felt a little fake and stagnant by comparison. But the show, at least, has gone on. Now onward towards Tokyo, or so the pretenders hope.

For months, Nick Percy was confined to his family home on the Isle of Wight, denied access to throwing circles and the travelling circus that has become his trade. Now back into the fray, the 25-year-old had energy unspent and he unleashed a fifth-round mark of 59.74m to successfully defend his British title.

“Amazing,” the Scotsman declared, on a weekend where the doom surrounding the abundance of A-List absentees was offset by the glee of many to simply be competing again. “It would be nice to have done a better performance but a win is a win.”

The trinket, you suspect, will be gift-wrapped for his mum who sacrificed for her son’s Olympian cause. Her backyard, at his behest, was remodelled to his specific design.

“We created the Garden High Performance Centre,” Percy said. “We cut back some trees and put up some high netting. My mother wasn’t too happy with it.

“But needs must in these difficult times. I was fortunate that my local gym lent me some weights. So I was able to keep going when others weren’t able to.”

Neil Gourley, meanwhile, has been effectively stranded in Glasgow when the United States shut its borders, the 25-year-old only retaining a virtual connection to his training group in Oregon. He was socially distanced at the last in the 1500 metres final, unexpectedly out-sprinted by George Mills who won by 0.15 seconds.

“That went how I was expecting it to go with a battle over the last lap,” he said. “I am not where I need to be fitness-wise.”

Promoted as the headline act in the absence of so many box-office attractions, Jake Wightman also unexpectedly found himself playing a secondary role as Dan Rowden stole his thunder with a pulverising burst in the men’s 800m final.

“I am frustrated with that,” the 26-year-old said. “I came here with one intention which was to win it but I feel like I did everything.”

Now the second-quickest Briton of all-time over 1500m, the Scottish record holder sees himself as the heir to a tradition, established by goliaths like Coe and Ovett, of pursuing the middle-distance double. Yet Rowden delivered a stadium record of 1:45.95 to see Wightman off with Edinburgh AC prospect Joe Ewing fifth.

In the hammer final, the 2016 Olympian Chris Bennett fell short, the Glaswegian suffering from a shortage of practice as he secured silver with his final attempt of 68.84m behind Craig Murch.

Rising prospect Erin Wallace came fourth in the women’s 1500m with Laura Weightman emerging triumphant, while Holly Bradshaw dedicated her record eighth British

pole vault title to her grandfather, who died 24 hours before, as she cleared 4.35m for victory.

Morgan Lake leapt 1.80m for her fifth high jump crown and Marc Scott landed 5000m victory with Jamie Crowe the leading Scot eighth in a life-time best of 13:58.91.

Meanwhile, Laura Muir will hunt a third win in a row when she faces fellow Scot Eilish McColgan over 1500 metres at tonight’s Continental Tour leg in Chorzow. Guy Learmonth goes in the 800m.