6th August 2017
JOHNSON-THOMPSON AND BRADSHAW MISS OUT BUT FINAL JOY FOR LANGFORD
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin) and Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) missed out on the medals on day three at London 2017 but there was joy for Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg) who sped through to the final of the men’s 800m.
Johnson-Thompson had to settle for fifth place at the end of two days of competition in the women’s heptathlon.
Sitting fifth before the 800m – the final event of a busy 48 hours at the London Stadium – the 25-year-old gave everything around the two laps of the track, and quickly moved in to second place behind Germany’s Claudia Salman-Rath.
The home crowd gave her every bit of encouragement around the final lap but despite making up some ground she couldn’t quite catch the leader and crossed the line second with a season’s best 2:08.10.
The result meant Johnson-Thompson finished with a total of 6,558 points; gold went to Belgium’s reigning Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam with 6,784 points.
Reflecting on the competition, the Liverpudlian was upbeat, despite not reaching her expectations in the high jump on day one:
“I’m feeling good. What I have learnt is to have a bit of a change of attitude. I want to try and bounce back from disappointment and give it my all,” she explained.
“I have tried to do that in the past but I have probably been a bit defeatist in my attitude. I am at ease with the high jump. A few things went wrong here but I am not concerned with the high jump.”
Bradshaw missed out on her first senior outdoor global medal after finishing sixth in the women’s pole vault.
Fifth at the Olympic Games last year, hopes were high this time for the multiple British champion who set a new national record of 4.81m last month, but it wasn’t to be this time as she went out at 4.75m.
Bradshaw’s third-time clearance of 4.65m meant that she lost out on bronze on countback too, with Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi (4.91m), the USA’s Sandi Morris (4.75m) and Venezuela’s Robeilys Peinado (4.65m) filling the podium.
“I feel heartbroken to be honest,” said Bradshaw, who sat on the ground with her head in her hands after her final attempt. “I’m in the best shape of my life and I didn’t take advantage of that out there.
“Some of the girls out there did a good job but to get a bronze medal with 4.65m is not the best standard, so I am a bit gutted that I didn’t take advantage of the low height, but I was just a bit unlucky with the winds.”
There was plenty for the crowds to cheer about as Kyle Langford made it through to the final of the men’s 800m after a terrific performance in Sunday’s semi-finals.
The 21-year-old gave the race of his life as he sprinted from fifth up to second down the home straight to secure an automatic qualifying spot in the second semi of the evening.
Positioned in the middle of the field for the first lap, the European Junior champion looked to have given himself a lot do, but his turn of speed over the final 100m was outstanding as he stormed past the likes of Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski and Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir.
“It was perfectly timed at the end there,” said Langford. “I thought I would need to be in a better position going into the last 100m but I felt good at that final stage of the race.
“When they went, I could see them kicking and I saw they were really going for it but I was still with them and I hadn’t even kicked. As soon as I kicked I could feel myself pull away and it felt great.
“The crowd was amazing. That roar was phenomenal – it actually made my ears go funny because it was so loud but that support was incredible.”
Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray) and Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg) faced a classy field in the first semi-final, and it was Poland’s world silver medallist Adam Kszczot and Botswana’s London 2012 silver medallist Nijel Amos who sped home with 250m to go to take the two automatic qualifying spots.
Learmonth finished fifth in 1:46.75 with Giles next in 1:46.95, and the pair sadly missed out the final.
“I need to stick to these guys like glue – that’s the only way you can beat them – but they got away from me and I couldn’t close the gap,” explained Learmonth.
“I have beaten some good guys though. I believe I can beat anyone and take anyone on, but you’ve got to be brave enough and have a big heart and run smart. It’s been a good learning curve, but next time I’ll be way better prepared.”
For Giles, the prospect of watching his teammate race in the final helped to lessen his own personal disappointment.
“I was completely gutted but I watched Kyle’s race and it has completely lifted me. I am disappointed with my performance but no real excuses from me, it just wasn’t there today.
“You don’t get many opportunities like this one and I am disappointed for myself but it all about Kyle now and we will be supporting him all the way.”
Andrew Pozzi (Benke Blomkvist) led the way with one hurdle to go in the semi-final of the men’s 110m hurdles but he lost out on the line in a blanket finish after hitting the penultimate barrier.
“I didn’t get out too well and I was behind at the start but I came through really well,” explained the 25-year-old who finished fourth in 13.28.
“It was hard work but I kind of hit the front, then just where I was carrying speed I got too close to hurdle nine, hit hurdle nine and just lost momentum. I cleared ten but it was hard to push off at the last hurdle and the others were carrying a little bit more so I lost out on the line.
“I didn’t do what I could have done, I didn’t do what I should have done. Undoubtedly things will improve but I was ready to make the final tonight, and I didn’t so that’s the bottom line.”
Five years after lighting the Olympic flame at London 2012, Desiree Henry (Rana Reider) found herself lining up on the track against Olympic champion and world number one Elaine Thompson in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m.
The 21-year-old undoubtedly had a considerable task on her hands, and the field just proved too strong this time, as she finished fifth in 11.24.
“Five years ago I thought it was a dream to come down here and be an athlete competing, so I’m really happy for myself and I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a part of this,” she said.
“I’m just so happy that these championships were in London, because when you go out there and see all the British flags and hear the people roaring, it just fills you with so much confidence, and you want to do well not just for yourself but for the whole nation.”
Four-time British champion Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) and teammate Daryll Neita (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) also missed out.
Philip was quickest out the blocks in the third semi-final, but she just couldn’t hold on in the closing stages and had to settle for seventh in a time of 11.19.
“It’s not the result I wanted but I gave it my all and I’m not going to say I left any stone unturned. What’s done is done and I want to walk away pain free,” said Philip.
Neita was also quickly off at the gun in her race, but the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Dutch world silver medallist Dafne Schippers came through in the second 50m, edging out the Brit who clocked 11.16 to take fourth with Trinidad & Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste also in front.
“It was a pretty tough field and I actually feel like I did do decently well. I am known for having a poor start and I think it was really good. I’m someone who doesn’t put limits on myself massively and I’m always aiming for the best, I’m always aiming for the highest,” said Neita.
Matt Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) and Dwayne Cowan (Lloyd Cowan) were also in action on day three, lining up in the semi-finals of the men’s 400m.
Racing in lane one, Hudson-Smith had Olympic champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekirk to chase down, and after a strong start he was up in third place coming off the final bend.
But the early effort was clearly too much for the 22-year-old who visibly tired down the home straight, finishing fourth with a season’s best 44.74.
“I was up there and I just lost composure in the last 50m, but it’s promising for the future,” explained Hudson-Smith. “One place off the final is a bit harsh, but that’s sport isn’t it.”
“I thought I was there (with 100m to go) but then my legs had gone and I couldn’t pick up my knees. But like I said, it’s sport, you live and learn. I gave it my all and that’s all I could do.”
Cowan sped off very quickly in his semi-final but the final 100m proved his undoing, although he had no regrets about his choice of tactics.
“I felt good, so there are no excuses, I don’t know what happened, I think I went out too fast and I paid for it,” said Cowan.
“I was trying to do something different, because if I’d ran the way I ran yesterday I would have been out anyway, so I thought I’d try and go for it. It didn’t work but at least I went for it. No regrets. I had to do something different from the first round.”