Nervous trio wait for Commonwealth call

Basingstoke Gazette: Robert Tobin is among those waiting to hear whether they have been selected for the Commonwealth Games squad. Robert Tobin is among those waiting to hear whether they have been selected for the Commonwealth Games squad.

A TRIO of north Hampshire athletes are waiting nervously by the phone to hear whether they have been selected in the English team for the Commonwealth Games.

Robert Tobin, Ben Hazell and Charlie Purdue are all in with a shout of travelling to Dehli with the England team.

The selectors were due to meet yesterday, with an official announcement expected on Monday, leaving all three with a nervous wait.

Hook distance runner Purdue forced her way into the reckoning by breaking the British junior record for the 10,000m at a British Milers Club meeting in Tipton on Sunday.

The 19-year-old took almost a minute off her previous personal best, finishing in 32min 36.76sec. The time makes her the fastest junior in the world this year and is well below the qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games.

Jo Pavey is the only Englishwoman to have run faster than Purdue this season and the former Robert May’s School pupil has her fingers crossed for Commonwealth selection.

“The Commonwealth Games were not a target until I missed the world juniors with a knee injury, but if I am selected it would certainly make up for that disappointment,” she said. “I have no idea what the selectors will do but I hope they pick me. I have done all I can but just have to wait and see because you never know what is going to happen.”

Basingstoke and Mid Hants’ Hazell gave himself a great chance of competing in the decathlon in Dehli by producing a season’s best performance in Manchester at the weekend.

The 25-year-old from Hook won with 7,573 points, which leaves him ranked sixth in the Commonwealth, while he has surpassed the qualifying standard of 7,300pts on three occasions this season. He is ranked second in England behind Daniel Awde, who is missing the Commonwealth Games due to injury.

“I have ticked the boxes to be included in the first wave of selection but it’s a nervous time,” he said. “I should be quite confident but I have learned in my career not to take anything for granted.”

Old Basing sprinter Tobin is almost certain to travel to Dehli as a member of the 4x400m relay squad, but will also be hoping to be given a berth in the individual event. He has not achieved the qualifying standard of 45.50sec this season but did so twice last year, putting him in the frame for selection, especially as Martyn Rooney is not expected to compete.

Tobin was in action at Crystal Palace on Friday night, finishing second behind teammate Conrad Williams in the B 400m in a time of 46.12.

One Basingstoke and Mid Hants athlete who will not be travelling to Dehli is 400m hurdler Andy Blow. The 24-year-old had one last chance to make the qualifying standard of 50.00 at the Bedford International Games on Saturday – but was only able to clock 50.98.

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