Born in the USA: Sale Harrier thanks States sunshine for British Indoor gold

Abigail Irozuru believes warm-weather training in the USA steered her to long jump victory at the Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships.

Sale Harrier Irozuru recorded a personal best of 6.73m to win gold at Sheffield’s EIS arena on Sunday, putting her joint-third on the Great British indoor all-time list.

The 25-year-old recorded the distance with her third jump of six and subsequently watched on as no one came close to her mark.

Sarah Warnock finished second with a jump of 6.37m, while 20-year-old Jazmin Sawyers took bronze with 6.32m.

And Irozuru is thankful for her time out in the States as she prepares for a busy season, including Prague next month for the European Indoor Championships.

“It’s amazing because I’ve never been a British champion before so it’s great to win my first senior medal,” said Irozuru, speaking at the event in Sheffield, which sees Sainsbury’s act as the Major Event Series partner of British Athletics.

“It’s really working being at the World Athletics Center in Phoenix and being out in the sun.

“It gives me confidence knowing that I’ve jumped the European standard and also that it’s my second competition of the year after having had surgery in June.

“I’ve been trying to be fearless and quite mindful of my body, having a better awareness of how I’m feeling as the approach is not to overdo it.”

“I want to go to the Europeans. I’ve done it outdoors in 2012 but I didn’t do very well – I’m a lot more confident this time.”

Another Sale Harrier in action in the Steel City over was Roy Ejiakuekwu, who finished third in the 60m with a personal best of 6.72 seconds.

And the 20-year-old was delighted with his performance after finishing behind London-based duo Chijindu Ujah and Sean Safo-Antwi.

“I’m over the moon, I’m not a 60m runner so to come here and even be in the final was great,” said Ejiakuekwu.

“It was amazing to run against Chijindu, we were on the same team when we were younger but I’ve never actually raced him before so I felt privileged to be in the same race as him.

“That’s me done for the indoors so I’m just going back home to train for the outdoors and I’ll be going back on a high.”

Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury’s wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury’s School Games.

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