By Tiger Rag News Services
BIRMINGHAM, England – With London set to be the host city of the 2017 IAAF World Championships later this summer, LSU senior Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake will line up on home soil as the British Champion in the 200-meter dash thanks to his record-setting victory in Sunday’s finale at the British Athletics Championships.
Mitchell-Blake, a 200-meter semifinalist at the Rio Olympics last summer, made his first World Championship team as the event will run Aug. 5-13 at the London Stadium, the home of the 2012 Olympic Games.
In what proved to be the fastest 200-meter final in the history of the British Athletics Championships, Mitchell-Blake broke John Regis’ 30-year-old championship record of 20.25 seconds from 1987 with a sprint of 20.18 (+0.8) to edge Danny Talbot at the finish line for the win as Talbot scored the silver in 20.20. Leon Reid also made his case for a spot on Team GB with a time of 20.38 for the bronze medal.
“This is the first time I’ve run in front of my home crowd, and the experience is second to none,” Mitchell-Blake shared with IAAF.org. “I’m so pleased I have the opportunity to do it again in London. It was a great field and it was the last event for a reason. Everybody stepped up, and hopefully we can do the country proud now in London.”
The top-two finishers in each event at the British Athletics Championships this weekend earned their spot on Great Britain’s World Championship team, while UK Athletics will also select a third member for each event that has achieved the qualifying standard for the World Championships.
Mitchell-Blake continued his outstanding senior season at LSU that also saw him sprint to the silver medal in the 200-meter final at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 9.
After taking down the British Athletics Championship record on Sunday afternoon, Mitchell-Blake will next set his sights on Regis’ 24-year-old British national record of 19.94 set at the World Championships back in 1993 in Stuttgart, Germany. Mitchell-Blake is already just one one-hundredth of a second off the mark with his personal best of 19.95 set at the SEC Championships in 2016.
This year’s British Athletics Championships also saw LSU sophomore Hollie Parker finish 15th overall in the women’s 800 meters on Saturday as she ran the third-fastest time of her career at 2 minutes, 8.07 seconds. The Tigers’ Class of 2017 recruit Jake Norris of Windsor, Berkshire, England, added an eighth-place finish in the men’s hammer throw on Sunday with a series-best mark of 219 feet, 7 inches.