12th August 2017
GB & NI RELAY QUARTETS ALL SPEED THROUGH TO FINALS
All four of Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s relay quartets have made it through to their respective finals after qualifying strongly in Saturday’s morning session at the World Championships in London.
The men’s 4x100m quartet of CJ Ujah (Stuart McMillan), Adam Gemili (Rana Reider), Danny Talbot (Benke Blomkvist) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) will line up in the final tonight after clocking a superb 37.76 to finish second behind the USA in their qualifying heat.
Their time was the second fastest ever by a GB & NI team and just 0.03 seconds shy of the national record set at the World Championships back in 1999.
Ujah blasted out the blocks and passed the baton safely on to Gemili who handed on to Talbot, the 26-year-old running a great bend before Mitchell-Blake safely took the baton home alongside the USA – well clear of the other teams and the second fastest of all the qualifiers through to the finals.
Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) Desiree Henry (Rana Reider), Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) and Daryll Neita (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) won bronze at the Rio Games last year and the quartet looked in terrific form again as they took to the track in the day’s first heats, the women’s 4x100m.
All three changeovers looked smooth as Neita brought the baton home in second place behind the USA in a season’s best time of 41.93. The quartet have also booked a place in this evening’s final as the second fastest of the eight qualifiers.
Both 4x400m relay teams will return to the track on the final day of competition at the World Championships tomorrow.
Emily Diamond (Jared Deacon) brought the baton home behind the USA in the first women’s 4x400m heat clocking a season’s best 3:24.74 for the GB & NI team – the third fastest qualifying team from the two heats behind the USA and Jamaica.
Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna) led off at the gun, moving up to second place behind the USA at the handover to Laviai Nielsen (Frank Adams), who held on to second place well as the gap to third extended behind her.
Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) maintained second place before handing on to Diamond for the final leg.
“It was really good fun, I think we were all a little bit nervous coming in to it – the first round is about getting the job done and qualifying for the final, but I think we all ran really well. The crowd just backed us the whole way and it was like a Mexican wave of cheer going all the way round,” said Diamond afterwards.
For Shakes-Drayton, who has endured serious injury problems in recent seasons, a return to major Championship racing was just what she wanted.
“I love it, I enjoyed every minute of it, even though it went really fast. The crowd made me think there was someone on my shoulder so obviously I’m going to give that extra push. I’ve missed being on a world class stage and it felt really good. Roll on the final,” said the 28-year-old.
Clark meanwhile was delighted by the enthusiasm and support of the home crowds.
“It was really exciting, it was amazing. The crowd was crazy and I used it to push me forward -I think everyone did.”
The men’s 4x400m team secured a fastest loser’s spot after finishing fourth with a season’s best of 3:00.10 in their heat behind the USA, Trinidad and Tobago and Belgium.
Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams) led off well, handing the baton over to Dwayne Cowan (Lloyd Cowan) in third place. Cowan chased the leaders hard and finished strongly down the home straight to hold on to third.
Jack Green (self-coached) sped away for the penultimate leg as the field began to stretch out, but Belgium were still hot on his heels as he handed on to Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman) for the final lap.
The 30-year-old, who along with Yousif was part of the 4x400m bronze medal-winning quartet two years ago, came off the final bend strongly before fading in the last few metres as Belgium’s Kevin Borlee stole the third automatic qualifying spot.
“It is all about making it to the final and trying to make it easier for each other and trying to set it up for the others. Hopefully we can go out there tomorrow and do something good in the final,” said Yousif.
The men’s decathlon continued with a second day of action in the London Stadium. Sitting in 16th place with 4101 points overnight, Ashley Bryant took on three more events in the morning’s schedule, starting with the 110m hurdles.
The 26-year-old didn’t run the smoothest of races, although he certainly didn’t suffer the same fate as Serbia’s Mihail Dudas to his left, who stumbled between hurdles and managed to duck under the next barrier as he crashed the floor. Bryant clocked 14.75, crossing the line in fifth place with another 800 points in the bag.
Next was the discus throw, and Bryant threw a best of 43.95m to take him up to 12th with a running total of 5726 before the pole vault. He bowed out in that event at 4.30m, sitting in 18th place with 6428 points going in to the final session this evening, with the javelin and 1500m to come.