18th July 2022
ASHER-SMITH AND ZELLER EXCEL IN WORLD FINALS ON DAY THREE
Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie, club: Blackheath & Bromley) equalled her national record and narrowly missed out on a 100m medal by a fraction at the World Athletics Championships Oregon 2022, while Joshua Zeller (Adrian Brown, Bracknell) finished fifth in his first world final at the age of 21.
The 26-year-old finished fourth in a time of 10.83 (+0.8) and was pipped at the line by Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM).
Asher-Smith reacted to the gun quicker than the rest and ran strongly from lane eight but was denied a third individual World Championship medal by two-hundredths of a second.
She said: “It was so close. It was a crazy final, you had to run 10.96 to get in, so I’m happy with my performance.
“It’s really great to be up there in this kind of era, when 10.8-low doesn’t get you a medal. It’s amazing, but I’m annoyed.
“It’s the World Championships so we are in shape, that’s the point. We’ve still got the 200, which I’m definitely very fired up for.”
Asher-Smith’s defence of her 200m title begins with heats tomorrow night, taking place at 02:00 BST.
UK champion Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) missed out on a lane in the final by an agonising margin of 0.01.
Neita produced a strong run of 10.97 in a semi-final won by eventual gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) but was edged out to the second fastest-qualifier spot by Mujinga Kambundji (SUI).
Joshua Zeller (Adrian Brown, Bracknell) showed his class by surging into the men’s 110m hurdles final at his maiden World Championships and claiming fifth place.
The 21-year-old finished second to eventual gold medallist Grant Holloway in the semi-finals to book his place in the showpiece. Then, in a dramatic final that saw Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (JAM) withdraw due to a late injury and world leader Devon Allen (USA) false start, Zeller finished fifth in a time of 13.33 (1.2).
Zeller said: “I’m really pleased with that on my senior GB debut, and I’m really excited with the potential from here.
On dealing with the false start, he added, “It was challenging to stay focused, but I don’t think it threw me off at all, it was just an added challenge to being in a world final. It was tough but I think I handled it alright.
“Coming into the champs, my goal was to beat my seeding. I think I was ninth or tenth coming in, and every round I ran the best I could to achieve that. So, to come out and run in the final, I knew I’d already beaten my seeding, so I’m really pleased.”
He continued, “When I got to the final, I thought maybe I could steal a medal here with the circumstances. But to be fifth in the world I outperformed my seeding, so I achieved my goal.”
Zeller was joined at the semi-final stage by David King (Tim O’Neil, City of Plymouth) and Andrew Pozzi (Stratford-upon-Avon), with neither progressing further.
Pozzi was undone by striking two hurdles early in his semi-final and clocked 13.35 (-0.6) to place sixth. King, meanwhile, couldn’t find the rhythm he showed in the heats and his campaign ended with 13.51 (0.3) for seventh in the second semi-final.
Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey, Edinburgh) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh) ensured Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be well represented in Tuesday’s men’s 1500m final.
In the first of two semi-finals, Kerr sat in the pack with Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas, Giffnock North) and waited for his chance.
The Olympic bronze medallist pierced through traffic on the home straight to win the heat in a leisurely 3:36.92.
Kerr said: “It was just being patient. I knew I had a lot of gears left in that 100 and I could have worked too hard to find the gap, I just waited for it to happen.
“I’ve got a medal and I don’t have the best colour, so I want to change that. I’m not here to come second or third, I’m here to win.”
There was disappointment for Gourley who, despite a lunge on the line that saw him collide with USA’s John Gregorek, finished just outside auto qualification in sixth.
Gourley said: “I was proud that I fought, and I was close. I fell in the last few metres and maybe if I hadn’t lost that momentum I would have crossed the line in fifth, but it’s fine margins.”
Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh) safely negotiated the quicker of the two semi-finals, running a measured 3:34.48 for third.
The UK champion settled in comfortably behind Kenya’s Abel Kipsang and USA’s Stewart McSweyn who bounded out in front, and safely advanced to a second global final.
Wightman said: “The plan was just to get through as effortlessly as possible which I’m trying to do at the moment so it’s about being safe and being able to relax a little bit in rounds like this.”
Reigning world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Aston Moore, Liverpool Harriers) climbed into sixth place overnight in the heptathlon.
In the final event of opening day of multi-event competition, she ran the second fastest 200m in the field, finishing behind USA’s Anna Hall in her heat.
A clocking of 23.62 seconds scored 1017 points and saw her climb a place in the overall standings.
Johnson-Thompson sits on 3798 points overnight with three events to come.
She said: “All of the events were just solid. I’ve wanted to see improvement from Götzis, which I’ve got, so I’m happy about that.
“I wanted to be competitive and find the form, the essence that I had in 2018 and 2019, because I’ve struggled over the last year.”
Meanwhile Alastair Chalmers (Matt Elias, Guernsey) saw his World Championship debut in the 400m hurdles end at the semi-final stage.
Running from the inside lane, the three-time UK champion started well in the first of three semi-finals that saw the first two advance by right, crossing the line sixth in a time of 50.54.
Chalmers said: “I wouldn’t change a thing. After yesterday’s heat I was pretty tired – I went flat out to try and qualify for the semis from the toughest heat, so I think that was just in my legs. I did the best I could today.”
In the field both Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin, Croydon) and Nicholas Percy (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) just missed out on places in the men’s discus final.
With a throw of 66 metres or a place in the top 12 required, British record holder Okoye was unable to improve on a hurl of 63.57 in the opening round of three as he finished 23th overall. Meanwhile, Percy, who blasted a 65m PB enroute to the UK title in Manchester, topped out at 63.20 in the third and final round to finish 14th in the standings.