Martyn Rooney (coach: Rana Reider) delivered a captain’s performance for the British Athletics team on the second day of action at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
The team captain was in the second heat of the 400m, which produced no fewer than two national records, one area record and a personal best for the 28 year old. Seven years on from setting his previous best mark in the Bird’s Nest Stadium at the Olympic Games, Rooney showed that it was a happy hunting ground finishing fourth in 44.45 – 0.15 off his time set in 2008.
The race which was won by Saudi Yousef Ahmed Masrahi in 43.93, but Rooney who is now ranked fourth on the UK all-time lists secured his semi-final berth as a fastest qualifier.
Rooney said: “Every start list for every heat was incredible, all world-class. I came in to run fast, and I knew I was going to have to run 44-high. But to run 44.4 and come fourth, it’s just shows where the standard of athletics is. The standard of the event has picked up, with these heats being won in 44.5 and mine 43.9. All of the guys in the event are running fast, they all look good.
“The basis of my appeal was that I am a championship performer. But I have to make the final yet, and then I’ll be vindicated. For now I need to come back and do it all again, and maybe even better.”
British champion Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) continued his strong 2015 form winning the fifth heat of the 400m in 45.24, but up against the three 2012 Olympic medallists in his heat Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt) failed to progress.
It was a case of a tale of two stories as the heptathlon entered the final day of action. Jessica Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) maintained her lead from overnight in the long jump courtesy of her second round effort of 6.43m, but it was heartbreak for Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes), who registered three no jumps. After two fouls, it looked like the Liverpool Harrier had produced a big jump only for the red flag to be raised stepping over the board by an agonising 0.10cm – dropping her down to 29th on the overall standards by the end of the day.
In the penultimate event, Ennis-Hill’s first attempt of 42.51m in the javelin saw the Olympic champion go into the 800m with a lead of 86 points. Johnson-Thompson bravely fought back from her long jump disappointment to record a best throw of 39.52m.
There was great news for Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) and Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin), with both 400m hurdlers moving through to the semi-final. European champion Child produced a composed display to finish second in heat two in 54.74, while Beesley running from lane nine broke her personal best clocking 54.52 for third in the following heat.
Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) battled the warm conditions on the roads to cross the line in 25th place in the 20km race walk in a time of 1:23.58, while Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) came through her opening round test in the 100m, taking the third automatic spot in heat one.
British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China
Gold – men’s 10,000m – Mo Farah