(Corrects name of song, para 14)

By Lori Ewing

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Zharnel Hughes raced to the British title in the 100 metres in a torrential downpour on Saturday, clocking a quick 10.03 seconds against the lashing rain while fans bolted for cover.

The British record-holder held his arms out wide after crossing the finish line and serving notice as a likely contender at the World Athletics Championships next month in Budapest.

“I came away with the win. It means everything to me to be British Champion,” said Hughes, who was drenched before he even stepped into the starting blocks. “I work for this and I prepared for this.

“‘Come rain, sun or shine, you perform regardless’ is the slogan in Anguilla (his birthplace). I train in these conditions sometimes in Jamaica. But I am soaked, these conditions are the worst ever.”

Reece Prescod ran 10.14 for silver, while Eugene Amo-Dadzie, who calls himself the “world’s fastest accountant”, was third (10.18).

Dina Asher-Smith, the 2019 world champion in the 200, won the women’s 100, which was delayed by almost 30 minutes, in 11.06.

“It has been a very British day, a very northern day,” Asher-Smith said. “Welcome to the north of England!

“But, for me, it is all about performing irrespective of everything, and being ready for anything. Today the rain came down so I thought I need to focus and deal with whatever it throws at you… we had the not knowing if the race would go ahead, the waiting, going out, coming in, lightning, wind. Today’s priority was to book my place on the plane (to Hungary).”


The 27-year-old Hughes, who was once pegged as the “next Usain Bolt”, shattered Linford Christie’s 30-year-old British record when he ran 9.83 seconds to win the NYC Grand Prix on June 24.

But the horrendous late-day weather ruined the chance for record times in several events, packing its biggest punch during the highly-anticipated men’s 100 final.

“It has been a long journey to get the title back I last won in 2015,” said Hughes. “I shall come back for the 200 (on Sunday) and hope the conditions are better. I will use this to get faster and become a global champion.”

Hughes, who trains with Bolt’s coach Glen Mills, also clocked the fastest time in the semi-finals — 10.06 – two hours earlier.

Dark clouds rolled in late in the day, and James West ran to victory in the 5,000 in 13 minutes 42.03 seconds against a backdrop of lightning and with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blaring over the sound system.

Cindy Sember won the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.98, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson, gold medallist in the heptathlon at the 2019 world championships, hurdled to her fastest time in four years — 13.34 — which bodes well for her return to the world stage after rupturing her Achilles tendon in 2020.

Johnson-Thompson is aiming for the podium at next year’s Paris Olympics but has not ruled out next month’s worlds.

“It is good to see the work in a real performance so now I know I am in a good place,” Johnson-Thompson said. “A world medal is my goal but it will be really tough to get there but I am working hard and we will see where we are in six weeks.”

The 30-year-old, who won silver in the heptathlon at the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in May, plans to compete in the 200 and shot put on Sunday.

A delighted and surprised Molly Caudery won the women’s pole and hit the world qualifying standard — 4.71 metres — on the nose.

“It is unbelievable; it really hasn’t sunk in,” the 23-year-old said. “After 11 months of rehab following two foot surgeries to get two (personal bests) here and the world standard is really unexpected and so exciting. 

“It was even raining when I jumped that 4.71 so I feel there is more to come. All the hard work is paying off.”

The world championships are from Aug. 19-27.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; editing by Clare Fallon)

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