9th August 2017
FABULOUS FIVE THROUGH TO FINALS ON DAY 6 AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sir Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) remains on track to secure a remarkable seventh world title after sailing through qualification in the 5000m heats in London, while Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton), Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver), Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) and Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson) also booked places in their respective finals.
Gold medallist in the 10,000m on the opening day of competition, Farah looked to have put that exertion behind him as he finished in second place in the opening heat under rain-soaked skies.
Taking his customary position towards the back of the pack for the first couple of laps, Farah still made sure the leaders didn’t get too far ahead, moving closer to the front as the laps ticked down.
By the half-way stage Farah was up in second place but the pack wasn’t going to let him get away that easily, swallowing him back up and maintaining the pressure.
But the 34-year-old, who won double Olympic gold in the same stadium at London 2012, positioned himself well for the bell and kept a watchful eye on his rivals as he ran around the final lap in second place, crossing the line in 13:30.18 behind Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha to qualify automatically for Saturday’s final.
Farah won double gold at the last two World Championships and he is aiming for a memorable farewell having previously announced his retirement from the track this year, with his focus set to turn to the roads.
“It was cold and miserable out there, but job done. I had to get back into some kind of running again, it has been a few days of chilling out and trying to recover. The 10,000m did take a lot out of me but I am okay now. I’m glad I came through tonight and now I can get ready for the final,” added Farah, who has won the 5,000m at the last three World Championships.
As for winning double gold yet again, Farah knows how special – and how hard – that may be, but he is determined to end his track career on a high.
“It would be pretty amazing and something historic. It would mean the world to me but you can’t take anything for granted.
“They are coming for me and they are hungry. You could see that in the heats, they want to prove a point. I’m going to do it – even if I am not ready, I’m going to do it. I just need to recover now.”
Andrew Butchart also qualified for the final after clocking 13:24.78 in the second heat and claiming one of the fastest loser’s spots.
“It was fine out there. We could see the result from the previous heat so we could just jog it in on the last 200m,” said Butchart.
“It wasn’t a slow race. They were all going pretty fast which shows that a lot of the guys were fit and healthy. They are top athletes so to get into the final is a good thing.”
But it wasn’t to be for Marc Scott (Steve Gulley) who finished in 18th place in 13:58.11.
“It was a tough race. I was pleased to get selected for the World Championships, but not what I wanted today at all so I’m a bit disappointed with that, but pleased to be out there in front of the home crowd,” said Scott.
“I just wanted to do the best job I could, obviously I’m still young for a distance runner, only 23, but I can’t complain against some of the world’s best in that heat; it’s a tough pill to swallow but I’ll be back.”
The men’s 200m semi-finals also took place on day six with Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake up in the first race, which included Botswana’s Isaac Makwala.
The 23-year-old set off well and came off the bend in contention, chasing Makwala and the USA’s Isiah Young to the line in 20.19, which proved enough to seal a fastest loser’s spot and a place in Thursday’s final.
Speaking before he found out the results of the other two semi-finals, Britain’s second-fastest ever 200m runner said:
“Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve! The race is done now. I have just got to play the waiting game and hopefully it is enough to get through. I feel like given the opportunity, I definitely will seize it and leave it all on the track.”
Zharnel Hughes (Patrick Dawson) needed a superb performance to qualify from his heat but it proved out of his reach this time as he finished seventh in 20.85 – Jamaican Yohan Blake missed out too.
“Unfortunately today just wasn’t my day but I will learn from this and bounce back,” said the 22-year-old.
“I can’t do anything about it now. I am not making excuses but this is a learning experience and I just came back from injury last season, so I will take my time to get back into the sport.
“The 200m is wide open and anyone can win it on the day. I want to wish Nethaneel all the best going into the final as a GB athlete. My respect to him for making the final and I wish all eight guys the best of luck.”
There was a tough line-up too for Danny Talbot (Benke Blomkvist) in the third semi-final. The European bronze medallist ran a strong bend along with South African Wayde van Niekerk, Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev and the USA’s Ameer Webb, but he lost out in the final 50m, finishing fifth in 20.38 behind Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre who came through strongly at the end.
“It is disappointing. I need to work out why I wasn’t able to come back and repeat the same performance because the heat felt very easy,” said Talbot, who had looked in great shape clocking a personal best in the first round 48 hours earlier.
“Obviously today, you have more guys around you so it is a step up but I wasn’t able to step up. I can’t blame the conditions, it is the same for all 25 of us so I have to go back with my coach and have a look at it.”
Rosie Clarke (David Harmer) and Lennie Waite (Jim Bevan) lined up in the first event of the night, the women’s 3000m steeplechase heats.
Waite raced in the opening heat and the Scot remained part of the leading pack until the penultimate lap when she began to lose touch, crossing the line in tenth place in 9:54.97.
While the cold, wet conditions didn’t trouble the 31-year-old, the race didn’t go as she had planned.
“The weather was so cool and rainy, nobody wanted to take it, and I’m the type of runner if I get stuck in the wrong rhythm it’s hard for me to get out of it,” explained Waite.
“I don’t mind running in these conditions, the conditions didn’t worry me personally. The thing that I think I wasn’t so prepared for was how it changed how everybody else raced. I wasn’t prepared to go off that slow.”
Racing well at the start of the third and final heat, two subsequent falls proved costly for Clarke as she finished ninth in 9:49.36 – only her second race of the season, having suffered an injury in June. Still, the 25-year-old remained upbeat.
“I was so excited for that. I’ve never fallen in a race before and I’ve done that twice in one day now, so that’s one thing,” she said.
“I was really proud how I picked myself up and got back in it, especially after the first fall. I got right back on them and I felt so good, I thought that’s fine, it’s not taken anything out of me. Even finishing up I was too far to get back to them, but I still felt good.
“I’m disappointed because I fell, but I’m pleased because I felt strong and I know I will be able to do better next time.”
World Indoor silver medallist Lorraine Ugen returns to the London Stadium for the women’s long jump final on Friday after leaping 6.63m – the third furthest in a field of 30 athletes.
“I’m really happy to be able to make it through to the final, and to be able to battle for the medals. I know that coming in to the next round, I need to hone in and make sure I’m getting more valid jumps rather than fouls, so that’s something I’ll work on,” said Ugen, who failed her final two jumps.
“I’m going out there trying to get a medal – I’m definitely going out there with those kind of aspirations, and I’ll just see what happens on the day.”
Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) finished an agonizing 1cm off the last qualifying place with a best of 6.45m and Jazmin Sawyers (Kelly Sotherton) also failed to progress, registering 6.34m.
Proctor, who was involved in a car accident on her way to the British Championships last month, reflected:
“Obviously I’m disappointed, but it’s been a long season; it’s been a tough season for me. It’s a miracle that I’m here today so I’m happy that I walked away healthy.
“Congrats to Lorraine, this is not the end for me but I hope Lorraine goes on and gets a medal and represents Great Britain to the best of her ability.”
Sawyers meanwhile was disappointed not to recover the form that earned her European silver and a place in the Olympic final last year.
“It just wasn’t good enough tonight, first round was getting the jump in, second one I felt like it could have been a good jump and I collapsed on my knee and the third one it just wasn’t far enough,” said Sawyers.
“It’s been a really poor season for me especially after such a good year last year, it’s one of those things that I think just happens in the sport, I’ve done all my training, I’ve worked really hard all year. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong particularly, it just didn’t click and that’s just been the story all year.”
British record holder Nick Miller qualified for the final of the men’s hammer throw with his first and only throw of the competition – 75.52m, and he was suitably pleased.
“First throw – job done. That was the plan, just take a nice easy throw, confident, and walk away. I felt good, I’m in good shape, I just wanted to do myself proud,” said the British champion.
“Last year I had a stress fracture in my spine and I kind of went in (to Rio) knowing it was a long shot, but now I’m healthy and things are looking good.
“This year is a new year and now I’m here, I’m ready to play. It’s a great crowd – I can hear my Dad whistle. It’s great to know my family is here supporting.”
A best of 72.05m from Chris Bennett unfortunately wasn’t enough to secure his place in the final alongside Miller.