Sophie Hitchon (coach: Tore Gustafsson) put in a stellar performance, breaking her British record twice on her way to an impressive fourth place finish in the hammer at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Hitchon, who qualified for the final in sixth place, produced the performance of her life throwing 73.65m in the third round. However, it was a case of saving the best until last for the 24 year old, going out to 73.86m, which was an improvement of nearly a metre on her previous best (72.97m).
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who beat London 2012 bronze medallist Betty Heidler in the competition said: “As an athlete it feels hard – because fourth is the agonising place but honestly I couldn’t have done anything more. Two national records, two PBs in one competition – I loved it out there and it bodes well for the future.
“I was in ninth and I could have been caught but I brought it in the third round. I try not to think what the opposition is doing, I try executing my technique. If I do that know I am going to throw far and I know that today, I have been training really well and my technique has been there.”
Also in lifetime best form was Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills), who after an impressive qualifying campaign finished fifth in the 200m in 20.02. Training partner Usain Bolt brushed aside his doubters to claim another sprint double, but Hughes will be encouraged by his major championship debut in the Far East.
A reflective Hughes commented: “Sometimes you don’t always get what you want. I’m not disappointed in myself, I got a PB and made it to the World Championship final, so what more can I ask for? It’s just that I wish I could have got a medal but I guess it’s not my time just yet.
“My first World Champs and I have many more to come, this one is like in school – sometimes you fail your exams and you study yourself and come back and better yourself. It’s a great experience and I’ll come back and better myself after going on the drawing board.”
In the women’s 400m, Christine Ohuruogu (Christine Bowmaker) was unable to retain the gold she won in Moscow, as the title went to USA’s Allyson Felix, who set a world-leading time of 49.26 for her ninth world title. Ohuruogu, who went with the explosive Felix was unable to match her rival, finishing in eighth place in 50.63.
“I don’t think it was (Felix’s fast start), I knew she was going to go out hard and you have to try and match that and go out hard as well. But she had a kick! I didn’t know quite what to do, but you’ve just got to try work the best situation that you have,” explained Ohuruogu.
“I had a few changes this year, but I’m happy regardless to be here. It’s been an honour to be here – it’s been tough but that’s the beauty of 400m – you never get an easy time.”
In the semi-final of the 200m Dina Asher-Smith continued to take the plaudits with a new personal best of 22.12, just 0.02 outside Kathy Cook’s long-standing British record. Asher-Smith saw off the competition from multiple global medallists Jeneba Tarmoh and Veronica Campbell-Brown, with the teenager even easing down in the closing stages for victory.
Asher-Smith said: “I guess when it’s sprint racing, you have to look confident, but I was quite nervous. I’m quite happy to have won that – racing Jeneba (Tarmoh) and VCB (Veronica Campbell-Brown) are such inspirations to me and Olympic gold medallists countless times. Racing them was nerve-wracking, but I’m happy to have remained composed and execute my race.
“I’m not letting it sink in because it’s great doing well in the heats and semis but where it counts is the final. I’m happy to have got there, but I can’t let myself caught up in the moment.”
Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) and Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) were unable to match their teammate in the quest for a final berth, but will go home in a positive mood after reaching the semi-final stage.
Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola) was the only British athlete to qualify for the 800m final with a first place finish in the second heat. In the process, the 25 year old posted a new personal best of 1:58.86 and will head into the final with a huge level of confidence.
“I’m so happy it seems to have come together at the right time. I feel like I’ve been capable of it for a while,” said Oskan-Clarke.
“It’s just trusting in my ability, being here with the team, training with everyone, being in such great condition, I’m really happy to have an opportunity and to be here.”
Other semi-finallists Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) and Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter), who left the competition finishing seventh and eighth in their respective semi-finals.
Finally, after going through this morning’s first round in the 110m hurdles as a fastest qualifier, Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) was seventh in his semi-final.
British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China
Mo Farah (10,000m)
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)
Greg Rutherford (Long jump)