15th July 2022


Nick Miller (coach: Tore Gustafsson; club: Border) threw a season’s best of 77.13m in the men’s hammer to progress into the finals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

Miller, the first Great Britain and Northern Ireland athlete in action at the Championships, saw his first-round season’s best effort of 77.13m good enough to see him through to tomorrow’s final in ninth position overall.

The Olympic finalist and defending Commonwealth Games champion failed to register a mark in his second and third round throws and faced a nervous wait for his spot to be confirmed, but was pleased with how he managed the occasion at Hayward Fields.

He said: “I feel really good, we thought 75.50m would be enough to get through so 77m in the first round I’m happy to make and I’m pretty sure that’ll make it through and tomorrow we have the final.

“I’ve not been throwing very well all year, so I adjusted for that and today I’m throwing well, so I just need to move back tomorrow. I’ll do a little bit of lifting and then just rest, eat and sleep and come back tomorrow.

“It’s nice being in the middle of the stadium for once instead of kind of in a corner. I’m sure when we have the final it’s going to be a little bit louder and I’m looking forward to that. It’s been a little bit quiet in the last few years so hopefully this year it’ll be good.”

In his first World Athletics Championships, Joel Clarke-Khan (Robbie Grabarz; Thames Valley) did not to progress in the men’s high jump, managing a best of 2.21m, shy of the 2.30m auto-qualifying mark.

After sailing over at 2.17m at the first attempt, Clarke-Khan kept himself in the contest at the third time of asking with a 2.21m clearance. However, 2.25m proved to be too much for the Thames Valley man, bowing out 12th in his pool.

Assessing his performance, Clarke-Khan said: “I’ve got plenty more years and it’s great to get this under my belt as an experience. The first one you always learn so much, it’s such a steep learning curve so I think I have a lot to take away from this and a lot to bring back next time I’m here.

“I think out there I don’t need to be as worried. For me, I was enjoying the show at the same time as competing. I saw [Mutaz] Barshim for the first time in my life and growing up in high jump he was the guy. I’m still going through those kind of emotions in a World Championship qualifying round and with time and experience I’ll be a bit more calm, relaxed and chilled out in these situations.

“I just want to bring a bit more fight next time. I think [Gianmarco] Tamberi is a brilliant example, the way he screams there, he wants it so desperately and I want to bring a bit more fire into my competitions over the years and that comes with feeling more comfortable in these environments.”

On the track, a fiercely strong mixed 4x400m heat saw the British quartet of Joe Brier (Matt Elias; Swansea), Zoey Clark (Ryan Oswald; Thames Valley), Alex Haydock-Wilson (Benke Blomkvist; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) and Laviai Nielsen (Enfield & Haringey) miss out on qualification, finishing in sixth position

Running from lane eight, Brier ran an excellent first leg to handover to Clark, who hit the break in third spot and handed the baton over in fifth. An aggressive run from Haydock-Wilson kept the British team in the hunt in the third leg of the race but despite the fastest last leg of all from Nielsen, the quartet cut the tape in a season’s best 3:14.75.

After the race, Brier said: “The Oregon World Champs is something I’ve always looked forward to. Being here at Hayward Fields, the birthplace of track and field, I knew coming here I was in great shape and I could run well.

“I was stuck out in lane eight and had some of the fastest guys in the world on the outside of me but it didn’t faze me at all. Once you zone in, you just focus on your own race. I just wanted to hand over in the top three.

“I know everyone in the team gave it their all, and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day. It is a young team – me and Alex have been racing each other since we were 15. But I don’t want to be developing any more. I went to the Olympics last year and I am going to the Commonwealths this year. I don’t just want to be here; I want to perform here. I want to be making finals and winning medals. I know we’ve got an exciting future ahead.”

Nielsen added: “We’d be lying if we said we weren’t hugely disappointed. We came into the heat with a very confident young team I would say, and we had full hope that we would be running in the final.

“It’s messy in the mixed relay – there always a chance it’s going to be messy – and we lost it a bit and I tried to claw back as much as I could but too much to do at the end there.

“We knew most of the medallists were in that heat. We knew it was going to be tough, we had a couple of meetings to say we need to bring our A game. We weren’t doubtful, we came in with full belief but it’s one of those things that doesn’t quite work out on the day but that’s really, really hard on this team.”

The evening session begins at 1:05am UK time with several athletes in action including Olympic medallists Laura Muir and Holly Bradshaw.