Stuart Weir went to the 2023 British Athletics Indoor Championships, which began on Saturday, February 18, 2023 and Sunday, February 19, 2023.
British indoor championship day one
Day one of the British Athletics Indoor Championships took place at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham. That is the arena that hosted the 2018 World Indoors but which seems to change its name every 5 minutes to please the latest sponsor. Same old arena but with a new track. With the European Indoor Championships in Turkey taking place in two weeks, the event had added significance as selection trials.
All British athletes are attached to a club and it is the tradition that at national championships, one runs in the colors of one’s club. In fact, at the end of the championship total placings are added up with the club with the most points being awarded £500 ($650) in prize money.
It was a full program starting at 11 26 – I’m sure there’s a reason why it was 11.26 rather than 11:30, but sadly that is above my pay grade. The program ended 7 1/2 hours later. On day one we had 8 finals as well as prelims and semi-finals of events which will finish tomorrow.
Jade Ive in the pole vault, 2023 British Indoor Champs, photo by Getty Images/British Athletics
It must have been important as Geoff Wightman and Katherine Merry were the stadium announcers with Tim Hutchings and Hannah England on commentary. We were told that 3,500 tickets had been sold for the first day which seemed a reasonable number given that superstars of the sport, Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Keely Hodgkinson, Holly Bradshaw, Matt Hudson-Smith, Jake Wightman, etc were not competing.
The word on the street was that Keely Hodgkinson and Laura Muir would compete in the European Championship but had been given an exemption from the trials. While that is clearly unfair, it is hard to make a serious case that the two ladies who won medals at World and Olympic Games would have struggled to finish in the top two in their event. Speaking personally, I think it is better to have them in the European Indoors at a cost of not having them in the trials, than not to have them in either.
Inevitably with athletes taking a different view of the purpose of an indoor season, the quality of the competition varied greatly. The two 60-meter races – six and seven heats leading into semi-finals finals all on the same day – would have graced any stage but the women’s pole vault, in the absence of Holly, was won at 4.35m.
The atmosphere was good and that competition gripping, with a good mix of track and field. A good day out for the spectators.