11th August 2017


Great Britain’s number one high jumper Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) sealed his place in the final of the men’s high jump after clearing 2.31m in the qualifying rounds at the World Championships on Friday.

The 29-year-old, who won Olympic bronze back in the same venue in 2012, sailed over his opening height of 2.22m before going over 2.26m first time too. The bar was then moved up to 2.29m and Grabarz cleared that height superbly on his second attempt.

The World Indoor silver medallist then went on to clear 2.31m on his third and final attempt, much to the delight – and no doubt relief – of the home crowds.

“It turns out I don’t think I needed it, but I didn’t check, I just wanted to get it. It was more of a mind battle – high jump is a mind battle and I made that a battle for myself,” said Grabarz, who equalled his season’s best to book his place in Sunday’s final.

“Dealing with that crowd – it’s going to be bigger, it’s going to be more exciting in the final and I was too excited and ran too fast at the beginning, didn’t control it enough and nearly made a total mess of it.

“To come out there in front of a crowd just screaming my name is so exciting, and it really doesn’t happen that often. I’ve just got to keep calm and jump higher in the final.”

British decathlete Ashley Bryant (Aston Moore) kicked off his World Championship campaign with three events on Friday morning – starting with the 100m sprint.

The 26-year-old, who won Commonwealth Games silver three years ago, clocked a season’s best 11.14 as he finished fifth in the second of four heats – a result which earned him 830 points.

Next was the long jump, and after a red flag with his first effort Bryant put down a solid mark of 7.26m in to a headwind. His third jump was even better, reaching 7.44m, and meant he went in to the final event of the session with a score of 1750.

The shot put rounded off the morning, and the Brit managed a best of 14.09m to sit 17th overall at the end of the session with 2484 points.

Seven events remain, with the high jump and 400m taking place this evening and a further day of competition to come on Saturday.

The heats of the women’s 100m hurdles also took place on Friday morning, with 2013 World bronze medallist Tiffany Porter (Jeff Porter) hoping to see a return to form after a season disrupted by injury.

A strong start out of the blocks looked promising, but sadly the 29-year-old couldn’t come close to her season’s best of 12.75, finishing sixth in heat two in a time of 13.18.

“Obviously that was a very disappointing race but that is what athletics is. You just have to pick yourself up and keep on pushing forward,” said Porter.

“Everything went wrong today, that was awful. My preparation up to this point wasn’t ideal but I wanted to come out here and hopefully put on a good show to claw my way back from injury. But unfortunately I may have just run out of time. I am just disappointed.”

Youngster Alicia Barrett (Toni Minichiello) also took to the track at the London Stadium, having won European Junior silver in Grosseto, Italy, just last month. The 19-year-old finished eighth in the first heat but was delighted to have the opportunity to race in her first major senior competition, even if her performance wasn’t as she had hoped.

“I didn’t really drive out and I think I hit a few hurdles. But I did enjoy it though, which doesn’t normally happen when I do so bad,” Barrett, who clocked 13.42. “We never thought of doing this at the start of the year so to get invited was a bit of a shock.

“It was nice to be in the stadium. I was feeling okay, then after the European Juniors I came back with a bit of a niggle but I’m glad I came to experience it. I am in a lot better shape than that, but I just didn’t do it today.”

Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) opened with two fouls in the qualification rounds of the women’s discus throw, then managed to register a mark with her third and final attempt, throwing 57.71m. But it wasn’t enough for the six-time British champion to reach the final.

“I know I’m not supposed to be satisfied with not qualifying for the final, but I really think it would have been a fairy tale ending had I qualified for that. Given all the injuries that I’ve had from the middle of February that’s okay, it wasn’t a bad performance,” said Lally.