28th September 2019


Zharnel Hughes (club: Shaftesbury Barnet, coach: Glen Mills;) clocked 10.03 for sixth place in the final of the men’s 100m as six British athletes and the mixed 4x400m relay team all progressed on the second night of IAAF World Championships action in Doha.

Hughes ensured his spot in the final with a second-place finish 10.05 and returned later in the evening, cutting the tape in sixth place with Christian Coleman (USA) taking gold in a world leading mark of 9.76s.

Team-mates Adam Gemili (Blackheath & Bromley; Rana Reider) and Ojie Edoburun (Shaftesbury Barnet; Steve Fudge) clocked 10.13 and 10.22 respectively for third and sixth place finishes in their semi-finals, both missing out on a place in the final.

After his race, Hughes said: “It wasn’t the best race unfortunately for me tonight but hey, congratulations to the winners and the medallists and all the best to them.

“Those things happen unfortunately, you just have to be strong-minded and refocus and that’s what I’ll definitely do, I’m disappointed but I can’t give up on myself, I still have the 200m to go.

“My body wasn’t feeling up for it tonight unfortunately. When I pushed out I was all over the place and I lost my form and I’m not happy with that, but I live to fight another day.”

Steph Twell (Aldershot, Farnham & District, self-coached), the other British athlete in finals action on Saturday, came home 15th in the women’s 10,000m final in 31:44.79.

Twell took control of her race in the early stages but the pack moved away as the pace cranked up through the gears and the laps progressed, crossing the line in a respectable time in the humid conditions.

“I am pleased if I am honest,” she assessed. “It is my second fastest 10k on the track. I would have liked to have gone quicker and with the group but I stuck to my task and I was really happy with that.

“A 10k at a championships is very different to a paced race. For me, working on the front of the field was more even paced and I was pleased that I stuck to my race plan.

“It picked up after 5k and I knew it was going to be a fast second half. I didn’t quite have the sharper legs that I used to have for the 1500m and 5k to be able to hold onto a pace and in four weeks’ time I have a marathon so I am in a very different champs prep.”

Women’s 100m trio of Dina Asher-Smith (Blackheath & Bromley; John Blackie), Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Sutton & District; Fudge) and Daryll Neita (Cambridge Harriers; Jonas Dodoo) all progressed.

Neita kicked things off by setting a personal best of 11.12, her fastest time since 2017, as she finished second in her heat, with Asher-Smith following her into the semis in 10.96, the third fastest qualifier into Sunday’s semi-finals.

Lansiquot progressed from the final heat, coming home fourth in 11.31, taking the final fastest non-automatic qualifying spot, but Asha Philip (Newham & Essex Beagles; Fudge) unfortunately bowed out, finishing sixth in her heat in 11.35.

After her race, Neita said: “It feels really good to come out here in the first round and get a PB. I know what I’m capable of and this year I don’t think my times are reflecting where I am at, so it’s nice to come here and get an idea.

“I’ve run a PB and I know I could have gone a lot faster. It was a good first run out but I’ve got a lot more to come. We’re from the UK so we’re not used to 40 degrees obviously! But I’m really happy we went to Dubai for the holding camp and I think I’ve acclimatised really well, that camp has really helped me to deal with that.”

It was a clean sweep in the men’s 800m heats as Elliot Giles (Birchfield Harriers; Jon Bigg), Jamie Webb (Liverpool; Adrian Webb) and Kyle Langford (Shaftesbury Barnet; Bigg) all progressed into the semi-finals.

Giles qualified in the third fastest time of 1:45.53 as he won his heat with a measured performance, dominating the latter stages, with Webb clocking 1:46.23 for third in his heat. Langford was made to wait after finishing fifth in the penultimate heat but took one of the fastest non-automatic qualifying spots after cutting the tape in 1:46.14.

Giles added afterwards: “It was a good run, I kept it simple. I knew what I had to do and I didn’t worry about anyone else in my race. I knew I could win the race and had the potential to put myself through to the semis.

“[Captain] Richard Kilty said [in his speech] that over analysis leads to performance paralysis and I just went with that and I thought to myself, ‘just don’t even think of anyone else’. I had fun with it – I was happy and I was chilled.”

The mixed 4x400m quartet of Rabah Yousif (Newham & Essex Beagles; Carol Williams), Zoey Clark (Thames Valley; Eddie McKenna), Emily Diamond (Bristol & West; Benke Blomkvist) and Martyn Rooney (Croydon; Nick Dakin) clocked a European record 3:12.80 as they qualified for the final tomorrow.

A strong first leg from Yousif was backed up by Clark and the British team were in second place when Diamond handed over to Rooney for the final leg. Despite being pipped on the line by Qatar for the third automatic qualifying spot, the quartet ensured they progressed as fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

World Championship debutant Chris McAlister (Thames Valley; Marina Armstrong) continued his fine year as he once again lowered his personal best in the semi-finals of the men’s 400m hurdles on the second night in Doha.

After a conservative start, McAlister finished the second of three semi-finals like a train, crossing in 49.18 – his personal best at the start of the year was 50.36. He said: “It was an incredible experience out there. Stuck out in lane nine, I had to get out hard and I saw some of the boys really early and I thought ‘I have got to keep going here, I have got to push all the way through’ and I did that, stormed through for a PB, which was a great feeling.

“I have run at some incredible meetings this year, lowered my PB five times now – so that is really cool. I am so motivated now to get back into winter and keep trying for Tokyo. Lots of hard work to go but we are almost there now.”

In the women’s 800m, Alexandra Bell (Pudsey & Bramley; Andrew Henderson) and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow; Bigg) both failed to make it out of their respective semi-finals.

Bell cut the tape in 2:01.23 and came home in fifth, missing out on a spot as a fastest non-automatic qualifier, while Oskan-Clarke was in the hunt throughout her semi-final, but did not progress after finishing fifth.

Harry Coppell (Wigan & District; John Mitchell) was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the men’s pole vault in the qualifying stages on his World Championship debut after aggravating a hip injury during his warm up.

Meanwhile, across the City at the Corniche, the men’s 50km race walk kicked off at 11:30 local time with Cameron Corbishley (Maidstone & Medway; Andi Drake) and Dominic King (Colchester; George Nibre) in action for the British team.

Corbishley, the youngest in the field by a distance and second all-time in the UK after his 3:53:20 qualifier back in March, got off to a strong start and was among the chasing pack.

However it came at a cost as he incurred a number of penalties, which lead to a spell in the penalty area, before just over an hour into the race Corbishley was unfortunately disqualified on his World Championship debut.

King, a two-time Olympian and third all-time in the UK after a 3:56:35 at the same race as Corbishley in March, carried on however was to fall foul of the judges on course as he was disqualified just before the two-hour mark.

The British action continues on day three with Holly Bradshaw (Blackburn; Scott Simpson) leading the finals action in the women’s pole vault, the mixed 4x400m relay also battling for medals and Dina Asher-Smith completing her bid in the women’s 100m.