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Tonbridge AC’s James West successfully defends 5,000m title at Microplus UK Athletics Championships in Manchester - but misses out on Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification

There were mixed emotions for middle-distance runner James West as he defended his title at the weekend Microplus UK Athletics Championships.

Tonbridge AC runner West missed out on securing an automatic spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games despite again winning in Manchester over 5,000m.

James West - defended his 5,000m British title in Manchester at the weekend. Picture: Julie Fuster
James West - defended his 5,000m British title in Manchester at the weekend. Picture: Julie Fuster

“I’m feeling good about the title but, of course, disappointed not to make Paris,” 28-year-old West, originally from Ramsgate, told the British Athletics website.

“I’m close in the rankings so the improvement this season is good and to take the win is great going forward to next year because, if I can get the time next year, I know I can get the position at the Champs.”

With little to call from the opening proceedings, Max Heyden set out on a gutsy charge with some seven laps to go, as he opened up a gap on the rest of the field, as the pack behind him trudged.

But Heyden was reeled in, led by Patrick Dever and Jack Rowe, with 800m to run, as the pace picked up and jostling began.

Dever glanced backwards before he tried to lift the pace and crack away from some chasing him down.

While Dever appeared to have shaken off the persistent Rowe, West had other ideas as he upped the ante with 250m to go and scorched past both Rowe and Dever to take the tape in 13min43.62sec.

Coming in second and therefore securing his spot in Paris on account of holding the qualifying time, Dever ran 13:44.58 for silver, with Rowe - an athlete also holding the qualifying mark but now waiting on a selection outcome - finishing third in 13:46.60.

In a race which comprised three athletes walking 5000m, and another three going over 10,000m, the men’s race saw Medway & Maidstone AC’s Cameron Corbishley set a huge notable personal-best time as he took silver in 40:15.50.

Former Fulston Manor schoolboy Corbishley finished behind Callum Wilkinson who stole the show to scorch to a time of 38:43.91 over 10,000m.

Wilkinson took a massive 22 seconds off his own British record to set a new personal-best time.

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