In the Friday evening session of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, at the Oregon Convention Centre in Portland there was a bronze medal brace for the British Athletics team to get their championship tally up and running.
Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) and Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider) both nailed bronze medals within a few minutes of each other in the last 20 minutes of the evening session. Ugen leaping 6.93m in the long jump and Porter dipping to 7.90secs.
For Ugen it was a moment she was waiting for. After a strong 2015 outdoor season, she was targeting a podium finish at a major championships in 2016:
“My first couple of jumps, I was behind the board so we were trying to find out if I wasn’t running properly, or whether I needed to move it. Eventually we decided to move it in, put one on the board and really put one out there!
“I’m trying to get over that 7m barrier and every cm that gets me closer right now is great! Last year was very consistent so the base I had for winter was a lot higher – and I knew this year I wanted to try get on the podium.”
Team-mate Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) was disappointed in her 6.57m best for 8th spot after struggling with her hamstring after the first round whilst a tearful Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) was disappointed when her 6.31m resulted in 13th position after three jumps.
Porter’s hurdle medal came just minutes after Ugen’s third-spot was assured and it was a much better race than her qualifying heat earlier in the morning. She said:
“I am so happy and so pleased to win another medal, I had a horrendous qualifier and just did not want to make the same mistakes I made, so I am just so happy. Medals and running fast are the most important thing in our sport, so I am happy I was able to come away with another medal, I just hope I can build on this.
“I was listening to the long jump and I’m just so happy to follow Lorraine with a bronze.”
Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) who also made the final, struggled with a muscle cramp, and was seventh in 8.29secs.
She said: “From the first push I was cramping and it was just a hot mess the whole way down. I am not a quitter, but in all honesty I thought is there any point in running this race, but that’s just not acceptable. I just did my very, very best, but when your body says no there’s only so much you can do to race through it. I am very disappointed to put out a performance like that, but also shocked I made it to the finish line.”
Earlier, in the men’s 60m semis, both Brits were unsuccessful in their efforts to progress to the final. James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) delivered a false start in his semi-final eliminating him from the race that went on to be won by USA’s Trayvon Bromell in 6.53.
He said: “I was just really eager to get out and post a quick time and come back for the final. I really did think I heard the gun, I didn’t think I jumped the gun. But obviously I heard the second recall gun and that was it.
“I can’t describe how disappointed I am, I really did think this would be the bounce-back championships and I would get 2016 back on track because 2015 wasn’t the best of years for me. But it wasn’t to be and I’ve just got to wait for the summer now to make amends.”
Andy Robertson (Dan Cossins) ran in a tough third semi-final race won by Asafa Powell, finishing fifth place in 6.61. Whilst disappointed not to make the final he saw positives in his performance during the 2016 indoor season:
“In some ways it’s mixed emotions but Rio is my main goal, I just need to get myself fixed up. It’s proven what I can do with injuries, so imagine what I can do without injuries.
“It was a great experience, I deserved my spot and I’m looking forward to the future.”
The 1500m athletes took to the track with Charlie Grice (John Bigg) and Chris O’Hare (Terence Mahon) representing British interest in the event.
In the first heat Grice finished fifth in a tough-run race won by local favourite Matthew Centrowitz. The Brit’s 3:49.03 not enough to see him through to the Sunday afternoon final.
He said: “I knew I had to be top three, because the second heat wasn’t going to go that slow.
“Preparations haven’t been that great, but it’s still no excuse. I was trying to stay on the shortest line but it was quite a pushy race. I’ve just got to keep working hard and focus on the summer now.
Going in heat two, O’Hare ran a canny race to put himself in second position at the bell after sitting back for much of the race. In the home straight he simply maintained position looking very comfortable for second in 3:41.09.
“I just wanted to make sure that I was close to the front, I knew the pace going out was going to be fine with top six.
“I wanted to make sure that I got my tactics right. Coming down the home straight I was well within myself. It felt good, it felt smooth, so we have a day off tomorrow, and I’m happy with today.”
Finally in the women’s pentathlon, Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) returned to the arena and delivered a solid long jump performance, although not near her best of. Her first round 6.03m for 859 points maintained her seventh position with 3681 points going into the final event.
In the 800m she again put in a well-structured race to finish in 2:20.40 and a further 818 points on to her total. Her day’s work gave her seventh position with 4499 points overall, but more importantly a confidence building experience of dealing with the events.
“It was always quite solid today – nothing was great but nothing was diabolical. I could have jumped higher in the high jump. In warm up I felt good and in practice, and I was banking on a good points score to bring me up in the rankings. But after that went a bit I needed to keep everything solid and get PBs from there,” she said.
“In other championships I’d get really upset and down after one or two events, but this one I tried to push the bad event aside and go to the next one. I think I am growing in that sense, just making sure I move from event to event and not dwelling on it.”
Full results are available on https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-indoor-championships/iaaf-world-indoor-championships-5681/timetable/byday