Baker wins first British gold medal as McKinna and Lake enjoy silver success
PUBLISHED: 15:51 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 02 July 2018
Chris Baker says he is ‘over the moon’ to be crowned British men’s high jump champion.
The 27-year-old Olympian, originally from Dereham, jumped a season’s best 2.26 metres at the British Athletics Championship in Birmingham.
Baker claimed gold on a count-back from David Smith, who jumped a 2.26m personal best, with the cleared height enough for both to pass the UK Athletics European Championship qualifying standard of 2.26m.
The former Dereham Northgate High School pupil, now based in Manchester and representing Sale Harriers, looks on target for selection for the Europeans in Berlin next month.
His outdoor PB is 2.29m, set when winning joint bronze at the Europeans in Amsterdam two years ago. Baker succeeds London 2012 bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz as British champion, who announced his retirement after finishing 12th at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, behind Baker in ninth.
“Thanks for all the kind messages and support,” the Norfolk athlete posted on Twitter. “I’m over the moon with my first outdoor senior title and European qualifying mark.
“Was a very challenging competition with my spikes failing in my warm up. Great atmosphere today.”
There were also silver medals for two other Norfolk athletes in Birmingham on Sunday.
Hainford runner Iona Lake finished second in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in 10:08.61 minutes, almost 10 seconds down on her time at the Commonwealths earlier this year.
The 25-year-old must get back to the form which saw her set a PB of 9:38.03 last year – when the City of Norwich Athletic Club member also won the British title – if she is to clear the UKA European standard of 9.43mins.
Great Yarmouth thrower Sophie McKinna continued her good form with second in the shot put thanks to a throw of 17.10m.
That was 12cm short of winner Amelia Strickler and the 23-year-old Great Yarmouth and District AC star’s PB throw of 17.76m when finishing fifth at the Commonwealths in April, but is still the best in the country so far this year and comfortably clear of the UKA European standard of 16.50m.