Athletics ace Lee Emanuel described clinching a British middle distance indoor title and earning his first GB selection as the highlight of his career so far.
The St Leonards runner won the men’s 1,500m at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield on Sunday to qualify for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland next month.
He said: “I would definitely say it’s my career highlight so far. In terms of global stuff, this is definitely the biggest thing I’ve done. Winning the title is great, but making my first GB team is huge.”
Representing City of Sheffield AC, Emanuel triumphed in a close finish where the leading four athletes were separated by just over half a second. His time of 3:48.15 was just enough to see off Scottish runner Chris O’Hare (3:48.68), Brighton-based Charlie Grice (3:48.69) and Belgrave competitor Kris Gauson (3:48.73).
O’Hare - who reached the 1,500m final at the outdoor World Championships in Moscow last summer - led after 400m before youngster Grice headed the field at 800m and 1,200m, but it was Emanuel who had the strongest finish.
“It was quite exciting to watch, but it was quite stressful to run in to be honest,” Emanuel continued. “With 150m to go we were all together, but then I just put my head down. With 50m to go I couldn’t really hear anybody so I had quite a decent gap and I realised with about 20m to go that I was going to win. It went perfectly.”
Although Emanuel had run four seconds inside the qualifying time for the World Indoors when clocking the fastest mile in the world this indoor season in New York recently, he needed to win the British Championships to make sure of his place in the British team to compete in the Polish city of Sopot from March 7-9.
Emanuel will seek to continue his fine form in the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham tomorrow (Saturday). He is hoping to run a big PB in the 3,000m at an event widely regarded as the best indoor meet in the world with some top class athletes expected to compete.