Lorraine Ugen (coach: Shawn Jackson), Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) and Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) were among the British qualifiers on day six of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Ugen showed that she is in excellent form with a third round effort of 6.87m in the long jump, only four centimetres off Serbia’s Ivan Spanovic, who topped the qualifying stages with a national record.
The 24 year old, whose mark was just five centimetres off her lifetime best said: “It was good, I enjoyed it and coming into the third round I was in 13th place and I think I was a little bit cautious in the beginning because people had been fouling and I was aware of it. So in the last round I thought ‘you know what, I haven’t been fouling all year, I just need to concentrate on what I am doing and know that I can trust my runway and get it done.’
“So I put my mark back to where my runway is supposed to start, just attacked it and got the job done. I feel like everyone that’s made the final are aiming for the podium, and definitely that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Johnson-Thompson and Proctor will also have their sights set on the medal positions joining their teammate in the final with 6.79m and 6.68m respectively.
Sisters Tiffany Porter (Reider) and Cindy Ofili (James Henry) successfully navigated their way through to the 100m hurdles semi-finals in the Bird’s Nest Stadium. There was no messing from Porter, who stormed through her heat in 12.67 to finish as the second fastest qualifier for the semi-final behind reigning world champion Brianna Rollins. Ofili meanwhile utilised her dip finish to good effect as the debutant took fourth automatic spot in heat four, crossing the line in 12.97.
After winning her heat, Porter said: “I’m always so nervous for the first round and I am just happy I was able to execute a decent race and get through to the next round.
“That’s really special (on her and Cindy making it through). She was really nervous but I was really nervous, so I am just so glad we were both able to make it to the next round because ultimately that’s the most important thing.”
Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) and Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon) were also successful in their quest for semi-final berths, with mature performances in the opening round of the 1500m. Grice came through in fourth in heat one clocking 3:43.21, while O’Hare was a place further back in the quicker third heat where he crossed in 3:38.43.
“I’m really happy to make it through as an automatic qualifier, because I nearly went down again on the back straight. There were a lot of guys around me who slowed, so just very happy to pull through,” said Grice.
“I really squeezed through people, I got a big push and nearly went down. I’ve been working on my speed, and I knew it’s been going well in training, so I just knew I had to put myself in the right position.”
Steph Twell (Mick Woods) battled hot and humid conditions at the Bird’s Nest Stadium to qualify for the 5000m final. The temperature clearly took its toll on a number of athletes, who dropped out during the opening round, but Twell came through to finish seventh in the first heat. The 26 year old crossed the line in 15:34.72 and to secure her place in Sunday’s showdown.
Twell, who was only one of three Europeans to qualify for the final said: “I’ve been watching the track like a hawk. It’s so hot out there, I can’t tell you. Your legs feel good, but your throat is so dry. It’s been different to the humidity I’ve been training in and you can see that people were dropping like flies. It was even tougher 10 minutes later (in the second heat). I’m just so grateful I’ve worked hard to get here and now I can relax. I think I’ve needed to get a race out of my legs and just run.
Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) and Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) unfortunately bowed out of the competition during the qualifying stages of the high jump. Clearances of 1.89m saw the duo miss out on progression through to the final, which takes place on Saturday.
British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China
Mo Farah (10,000m)
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)
Greg Rutherford (Long jump)