21st July 2019

WORLD LEADING MARK FROM MEN’S 4X100M AMONG BRITISH VICTORS AT MULLER ANNIVERSARY GAMES

  • Victories for men’s 4x100m, Lynsey Sharp (800m), Stef Reid (T44-64 long jump), Sophie Hahn (T35-38 100m) and Dillon Labrooy (T53/54 800m) on second and final day of the Müller Anniversary Games
  • Asher-Smith goes sub-11 seconds twice and finishes second in final event of the weekend, with Miguel Francis clocking sub-20 for second over 200m
  • Full results are viewable via london.diamondleague.com

Both British middle-distance running and relays took centre stage on day two of the Muller Anniversary Games, thanks to stellar performances from Lynsey Sharp (David Harmer; Edinburgh) who won a rapid women’s 800m and Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s men’s 4x100m relay quartet who ran an incredible world lead of 37.60 – the 2nd fastest time ever run by a GB&NI 4x100m team.

Featuring earlier in the programme, the quartet of CJ Ujah (Jonas Dodoo; Enfield & Haringey), Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet), Richard Kilty (Middlesbrough Mandale; Benke Blomkvist) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Denis Shaver; Newham & Essex Beagles) combined rapid foot speed with slick changeovers to the delight of the London Stadium.

Running second leg and eating up the metres on those outside of him, Zharnel Hughes reflected on the team’s achievement after, saying: “The team is so versatile and we are all fast at the moment, there is still a lot of us missing which allows us to challenge and push each other to our own limits; which enhances our overall performance to the next level. We’re still not sure what we are capable of, but it bodes well for the world championships.”

In a heavily domestic 800m, Lynsey Sharp’s winning time of 1:58.61 won a nail-bitingly close race that saw three other British athletes achieve the World Championship qualifying standard.

Alexandra Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley) did so by running a personal best of 1:59.82 to come third – her second ever sub-2-minute run, with European ndoor champion Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) finishing just behind Bell, dipping under 2 minutes herself with a 1:59.83 season’s best for fourth.

Meanwhile, US-based Hannah Segrave (Chris Layne; Middlesbrough Mandale) lowered her personal best by a large chunk to 2:00.18 – more than 2 seconds quicker than her previous best and good for a sixth-place finish.

Sharp outlined her plans for the rest of the season after the race, saying: “I’m happy with my time. Last week was good but it was so nice to back myself up here as well. Hopefully I will be racing Birmingham Diamond League; after that, it will be trials so it’s just a few weeks of training now on the road to Doha.”

Tasked with bringing the curtain down on the weekend, and after equalling her season’s best with a 10.91 run in her 100m heat, European champion Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) came 2nd to double Olympic Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a time of 10.92, demonstrating her consistency this season.

Now no stranger to the sub-11 barrier, Asher-Smith spoke post-race:

“I love running at the Anniversary Games. I made my senior debut back in 2013 and since then I’ve made so many great memories here. I did my first sub-11 second 100m here and obviously today I ran two sub-11’s against the World and Olympic Champion which was amazing.

“I am in really good shape – I wanted to go 10.8 today, so seeing that time in the final was a bit frustrating. But I really can’t be disappointed with two 10.9’s and I’ll definitely look to push to faster times as the season progresses.”

An hour and a half earlier, there were strong performances across the 100m heats from a sizeable British contingent, despite Asher-Smith being the only one to make the final.

Imani Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District) and Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo; Cambridge Harriers) both ran 11.24 to narrowly miss out on the final, Asha Philip (Steve Fudge; Newham & Essex Beagles) opened her season with an 11.37, Kristal Awuah (Matthew Thomas; Herne Hill) returned from reaching the final of the 200m at the European U23 Champions in Sweden last week with 11.35, and Rachel Miller (Linford Christie; Thames Valley) improved her season’s best to 11.44.

In fellow spring action, the men’s 200m saw a trio of British athletes take to the track, with Miguel Francis (Glen Mills; Wolverhampton & Bilston) undoubtedly the pick of the bunch as he clocked 19.97 to finish second and notch his second ever sub-20 second outing.

Getting quicker with each race, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake produced a time of 20.28, a season’s best, for 5th, while Shemar Boldizsar (Harlow; Vincent Lawrence) continued to make a name for himself by running a personal best of 20.56 to follow his European U23 title last week and English U23 title earlier on in the season

Excitingly, Miguel Francis still believes he has a lot more to offer: “I think it went very well, the curve especially, I think that went extremely well. I was relaxed and fast and wanted to carry that into the straight; however I started to lean back which threw me a little off my performance. But other than that, it was a great race and performance.”

In the Emsley Carr Mile – an annual race contested in the United Kingdom since 1953 – the 2017 champion Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh) lead the Brits in third with a personal best of 3:52.02, which was followed by an outstanding haul of 3 personal bests and 3 season’s bests for British athletes.

The trio who joined Wightman in running personal bests were Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey; Edinburgh) in 8th with 3:53.88, Piers Copeland (Bob Smith; Wimborne) in 12th with 3:56.05 and James West (Ben Thomas; Tonbridge), who came 13th in 3:56.79, while Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon, Edinburgh) was the second Brit behind Wightman in season’s best of 3:53.35 for 7th ahead of Kerr.

Post-race, Wightman said: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be third. It was a pretty stacked domestic field. Anyone of us could’ve come out on top because every one of us is running well.”

Jake Heyward (James Thei, Cardiff) was another in the mix for tenth in a season’s best 3:54.78, while further back, steeplechase specialist Zak Seddon (Bracknell AC) clocked 3:58.90 for 15th, with Scot Neil Gourley (Mark Rowland, Giffnock North) was 16th in 4:05.80.

There was an array of impressive performances from para athletes throughout the day, the highlight of which was 2016 Paralympic champion, Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste; Charnwood), winning the T35-T38 women’s 100m.

Clocking 12.45, a time only two hundredths of a second slower than her 12.43 T38 world record she set in May at the Loughborough International, second behind Hahn came the 2016 European champion Olivia Breen (Aston Moore; City of Portsmouth) in a personal best of 13.08.

Behind the duo, Ali Smith (Chris Zah; Guildford & Godalming), who came fifth at last year’s European Championships, ran a 13.36 personal best of her own to finish in third.

Two-time Paralympic silver medallist Stef Reid (Aston Moore; Charnwood) also emerged victorious in the T44-64 women’s long jump as a result of her 5.36m second round attempt within a competition plagued by headwinds.

An athlete who always enjoys a London Stadium outing, Reid reflected on the experience and competition, saying:

“There was a moment when I was getting ready to go and realised nothing else was going on, so I thought you know what? I’m going to get the crowd going. I felt like the entire stadium was cheering for me and it was so cool. When you’re having a good time it shows in your performance. There’s nothing better than sharing what you love doing with the crowd.”

Early in the afternoon, during the aforementioned display of long jumping from Stef Reid, Dillon Labrooy (Jenny Archer; Weir Archer Academy) beat Richard Chiassaro (Jennifer Banks; Harlow) to the line in the men’s 800m wheelchair race after being neck-and-neck throughout. Labrooy’s performance was more than worthy of a 1:38.13 season’s best, while Chiassaro’s time was recorded officially as 1:38.29.

In the women’s 5000m, personal bests of 14.51.78 for Laura Weightman (Steve Cram; Morpeth), 15:16.47 and 17th for Jess Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn) and 15:19.75 and 18th for Rosie Clarke (David Harmer; Epsom & Ewell) were the highlights for the British athletes, while the ever-impressive Eilish McColgan clocked another sub-15 time of 14:51.89 for 13th. Notable is that all four times are inside the qualifying mark ahead of this year’s World Championships.

In the same race, Amy-Eloise Neal (Wakefield) was 20th in 15:35.02, while Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark, Poole AC) did not finish.

In the field, Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson; Thames Valley) produced from the off, with a first-round effort of 6.62m revising her season’s best and serving as a strong sign that her season is heading in the right direction after a difficult start to the year.

The European and world medallist ended the competition in 5th place, with compatriot and multi-events specialist Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool Harriers) claiming 7th courtesy of a best of 6.47m. Disappointingly, three fouls for Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers) meant her competition ended early.

In 400m hurdles action, the reigning British champion and European bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker; Birchfield Harriers) ran 55.20 to finish 6th, the time a season’s best and inside the Olympic qualifying mark.

In the men’s discus, British fans were pleasantly surprised to see the return of British record holder Lawrence Okoye (Croydon) after 7 years away from the sport, and despite coming 9th his first-round throw of 60.80m was evidence that he still has what it takes to mix it in the event. Alongside Okoye, Greg Thompson’s (Neville Thompson, Shaftesbury Barnet) best of 60.42m came with his third throw.

Late in the afternoon, World Indoor champion Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon) and British Indoor champion David King (James Hillier; City of Plymouth) both featured in a strong men’s 110m hurdles field, crossing the line in 6th and 8th place respectively.

In the lead at the midway point, Pozzi clattered two hurdles leaving him with work to do, with his time of 13.52 good for sixth ahead of King’s 13.66. Fresh from European U23 bronze, there was disappointment for Cameron Fillery (Michael Baker, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) as he was disqualified for a false start.

Finishing shortly before that race was the men’s high jump, in which last week’s European U23 champion Tom Gale (Denis Doyle; Team Bath) came 5th with a 2.24m clearance and Chris Baker (Graham Ravenscroft; Sale Harriers Manchester) ended in 8th with 2.20m being his best successful jump on the day.

Read DAY ONE review here.

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