Stuart Weir is our most prolific writer, having penned 122 columns and 150,000 words in 2022. He is our senior writer for Europe and he writes with the passion and affection of the athletes. Seeing an athlete compete 50-80 times, one gets a strong view of the athlete and his insights are a huge part of why our readers, like you, come back to RunBlogRun. As the band REM writes, “It is all about the passion…”
Brits in Berlin
There were three GB winners at the ISTAF INDOOR last Friday, Darryl Neita, Reece Prescod, and David King. GB was the sprint kings with Reece Prescod winning the 60m in a PB, MR, and equal world lead of 6.49. Reece is such a talented athlete who has never quite delivered his potential. He has a PR of 9.93. In 2021 he reached the Olympic semi and false started. Last year he was eliminated in the prelim in Oregon and was seventh in the European final.
The men’s 60 meters features Reece Prescod, who ran a fantastic race! photo by STAF / Camera 4
He said of last week’s race: “It is the music, it is the crowd, everything. I really wanted to run here. They really put on a great show. The ISTAF INDOOR is one of my favorite meetings. I was here in 2019 and I won. This year I cleared the meeting record and I won again. I definitely want to come back to Berlin as there are some really good vibes here. I definitely want to come in September, too. I have been training really hard. My coach and I have worked on new things. I have moved to Italy together with Jeremiah Azu to work with Marco Airale. New coach, new vibes. I ran 6.54s in the heat, I was chilling, so I knew I could give a bit more in the final. So, 6.40s for me. Let’s see what happens over 100m”.
Jeremiah Azu was sixth in 6.68.
Following Dina Asher-Smith’s British record of 7.04 earlier this month, Darryl Neita ran 7.05 in Berlin. Asha Philip was sixth in 7.25. Neita commented: “I am so happy. But I knew when I was coming to this meeting that I would run well because I have such good energy here. I love the ISTAF in the Olympic Stadium and the ISTAF INDOOR. I was really excited to come here and to execute the race like that, it is a massive PB. It is incredible! In September I want to win again. I am coming here to win. The music was good. Whoever set the music, I was singing Rihanna before my race, that was amazing. This time means I am in fantastic shape, I am really excited about the European Indoor Championships. For me, 60m is just about improving for my 100m race. And this made a huge difference today. I love it here, the atmosphere at the ISTAF INDOOR is electric!”
Daryl Neita, Belgrade Indoors, March 2022, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
Marco Airale’s group in Padua, Italy now includes Reese, Jeremiah, Darryl, Ama Pipi, and Adam Gemili. Last fall, Darryl told me: “Marco is just so refreshing. It is just so nice to work with somebody who is so hungry and so dedicated to what he does. He loves track and field. It is literally his passion. And I love track and field as well so it’s nice to be around someone who is just focused on wanting you to be better, to be around someone who brings out the best in you. He creates a light-hearted environment for you to focus on the training at hand and also have a bit of fun as well. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just feel happy that I have found a coach that I can be with for the rest of my career. It’s a really nice environment. I think Marco is an absolute genius. You will see more of him this year because he’s got some new talent [joining his group] so I’m sure there will be more to see. He ticks every single box, and he covers everything. No corners are cut. We train very hard. He’s just dedicated focused and passionate about what he does. He wants to get the best out of us. It’s great. He’s a good coach!”
Men’s British 100m, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
David King won in the 60m hurdles in 7.63, commenting afterward: “I am the king of this final”. Bet he has never used that line before!! He added: “Until today I haven’t won a race in a while. It has been nice to come out on top twice today. That was a big SB and the qualifying time for the European Championships, it has been a good day. I have been running really fast in training. This result means I will hopefully be running at the European Championships. That is my big goal. I was building up for that. We do not get such a show and support very often as athletes. I love it, it is amazing. They do a really, really good job making this event. I am starting to get used to it, the lights and the screaming. I love it. That is what athletics should be like. Great job, ISTAF”.
Jazmin Sawyers, LJ, Manchester 2022, British Champs, photo by Getty Images/ British Athletics
Jazmin Sawyers was third in the long jump with 6.69. She would probably have been pleased with that early season distance if she had not jumped 6.75 last week.