21st August 2023
ASHER-SMITH EIGHTH IN BUDAPEST; CAUDERY SOARS TO MAIDEN WORLD POLE VAULT FINAL
Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie, club: Blackheath & Bromley) finished eighth in the women’s 100m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest while Molly Caudery (Stuart Caudery, Thames Valley) produced the second best performance of her career on day three to earn her own finals place.
Asher-Smith clocked a time of 11.00 seconds dead in her third career World Championship final appearance in the women’s 100m – that would see her take a valiant eighth place in an ultra-competitive final while she has the 200m still to come individually in Hungary.
On a night with eight British athletes in action in total, Caudery was a standout performer showing not only composure but her talent to clear 4.65m – a height six centimetres off her personal best – to qualify for the women’s pole vault final. Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn Harriers) unfortunately missed out.
Elsewhere Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) also looked in great form as she won her heat in the women’s 400m hurdles in 54.27 to qualify for the semi-finals in Budapest 24 hours later.
Three Brits were in semi-finals action but Tade Ojora (Joanna Hayes, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) in the men’s 110m hurdles and Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Beagles) and Ama Pipi (Linford Christie, Enfield & Haringey, both in the women’s 400m, could not progress to finals.
The only British finalist on day three in the end was Asher-Smith, who made it through as a non-automatic qualifier from the semi-finals in 11.01. British teammate Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) unfortunately missed out after clocking 11.03 in the first semi-final.
Asher-Smith, competing in her third successive World Championship 100m final, started well out of the blocks in lane eight but saw higher places just get away from her as American Sha’Carri Richardson took gold ahead of Jamaican duo Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
The 200m, in which she is the current world bronze medallist and global champion from 2019, remains for Asher-Smith, who said: “Today has not been a fab day for me, I have to say. I am very disappointed because I feel like I am in an amazing place.
“I couldn’t feel my legs [after grimacing in the semi-final], it was a bit weird, but at the end of the day, I can still run, it’s not really a problem. I am in much better shape than that so I am very disappointed.
“I can run, so it is what it is. I finished the race. It is what it is. At the end of the day it is a world final so the time to do it is now. Disappointed – definitely wanted more from myself today.”
Teammate Neita also has the 200m to come and she said: “I am in great shape but I don’t know what I did wrong. It’s crazy to be honest. Watching the replay I don’t see what I did majorly wrong, I just feel like I wasn’t fast enough.
“I just didn’t run fast enough but I will go back and review it. I didn’t run fast enough to be in that final which is a surprise to me because I should be in that final. I came here to be in that final and the fact that I am not is just super disappointing. It’s like a repeat of last year.”
Caudery and Bradshaw were the first British athletes to compete on day three of the Championships in qualifying for the women’s pole vault final – a 34-strong field split across two groups.
British champion Caudery was in Group B and opted in at 4.35m, which she cleared comfortably first time. From there 4.50m was next, which she cleared at her second attempt to remain in contention for a maiden world final.
The bar was moved to 4.60m next – a height Caudery has only matched once and bettered once ever – but she returned to being perfect with her first effort. With a field so big, the next height of 4.65m – deemed good enough for automatic qualification – was needed.
Caudery has only surpassed such a mark once – on the way to her 4.71m personal best to win the British title this year – and needed all three of her attempts. She showed supreme composure to nail her third and final attempt and make her maiden world final.
She said: “I never thought it was going to take a 4.65m jump to reach the final but it did. It is my second highest jump ever so I am very happy – 14 girls went over 4.60m – so I needed to get going again.
“I cleared 4.65m on my third attempt which got me into the final. Getting into a world final is something I have dreamed of for years. It is just huge! It’s been the goal all year, so I am so pleased to have achieved it.”
Teammate Bradshaw was drawn in Group A – however a troubled build up due to illness caught up with the Olympic bronze medallist. She cleared 4.35m with her third effort before attempting once at 4.50m before passing.
That left her with two shots at 4.60m, which she just narrowly failed to clear, and Bradshaw said: “I felt quite good coming into this, I had some good sessions out in Slovakia but I picked up some stomach bug last Thursday and I was being sick all night. I’ve not trained since as I’ve tried to conserve my energy. I just never got my strength back.
“I tried my best but you can’t compete with the best in the world if you are not fully firing. It’s disappointing because I just got back to 14 steps on the run up.”
After a blistering opening two days for British athletes in Budapest, Knight was the first to compete on the track on day three as she opened her campaign in the heats of the women’s 400m hurdles.
Placed in the fifth and final heat and drawn in lane eight, she attacked the race from the start, but it was American Shamier Little who went out extremely hard. Knight was third coming into the last 100m – neck and neck with Anna Ryzhykova – and would finish fast.
She cruised past the Ukrainian with one hurdle to go before chasing down Little and chalking up a fine victory in the heat. Knight clocked 54.27 – her second quickest time this season – for the win.
She said: “I’m really happy because the aim was to run it as a one-off race and try and win. I’ve never run a 54 at a major Championships, so it shows I am in a really good position coming into these Championships, so that was what I needed.
“It is probably the best mentally and physically that I have ever been coming into any Championships. I am starting to feel quite at home in this environment now. I had previously felt like a bit of a newbie in the major Championships world but I am settling in nicely now.
“I will need a PB to reach the final – 100 per-cent. I think we’ll see all the finalists run 53s. I know I can do it. I have run 54.09 this year and I think tomorrow is the day to go even quicker.”
Like the women’s 100m semi-finals in Budapest, the women’s 400m semi-finals also featured two British athletes with Pipi up first in the first of the three races and Ohuruogu in the third and last.
Pipi went well through the first 200m and was third coming out of the final bend into the last 100m. She finished strong to claim fourth in 51.17 however it would not be enough to advance her to the final.
She said: “Technically, execution wise, I just don’t think I got out hard enough. So, I had a kick towards the end but it just wasn’t enough to make a world final. So, it is a bittersweet one because I really wanted to make a final.
“I have run 50 seconds this year, so I need more of those in my legs to push myself to the next level. I have grown a lot over the last few years. That was my best semi-final run at any championships, and it is fairly close to one of my fastest times, so I am getting better.”
Ohuruogu meanwhile was already ahead of Tereza Petrzilkova of the Czech Republic on her right in lane nine after 100m as she started the third and final semi-final strong. She maintained that throughout the remainder of the race but could not push higher than fourth.
She clocked 50.74 to also finish fourth like Pipi and miss out on the final as a non-automatic qualifier by 0.12 and the British champion said: “I’m really not quite sure what went wrong. I felt the girls come up next to me and my thing was to react to them but maybe I just didn’t react quick enough.
“I am really gutted. I don’t have any words. Disappointed. I really wanted to make this final. I did feel good coming into this so I’m really not quite sure what went wrong to be honest. I think I just have to look back, check my splits and stuff and see what happened.”
British champion Ojora had to remain composed in the first of the semi-finals in the men’s 110m hurdles was called back after a false start from Louis Francois Mendy of Senegal a couple of lanes over.
The World Championship debutant, who won his heat, battled when the race did get underway but just fell short of reaching his maiden global final as he finished fifth in 13.43 – with only the first two in each semi-final and the next two fastest thereafter advancing.
Ojora said: “It is what it is, but not what I wanted. Not at all. I didn’t execute my race, that’s on me. I knew that if I didn’t get out hard at the start it would be more difficult to get back into the race and I didn’t get out hard so it’s very disappointing.
“I am going to learn a lot from that and come back next year way better. It shows me the quality of running that I can expect to find at these competitions and how any mistake will be penalised and punished. I made a big mistake at the start and I got punished for it.”
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:
Gold (1): Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Women’s Heptathlon
Silver (1): Mixed 4x400m Relay
Bronze (1): Zharnel Hughes – Men’s 100m