6th August 2017
POZZI, GREEN AND CLARK PROGRESS THROUGH HEATS ON DAY 3 IN LONDON
In-form hurdler Andrew Pozzi (Benke Blomkvist) looked in complete control as he cruised through to this evening’s 110m hurdles semi-finals with a win in the morning’s heats.
Quick out of the blocks and smoothly over each hurdle, the 25-year-old made light work of his opposition as he crossed the line in 13.28.
“That was a really solid race, I got out really well and then once I got to half-way just focused on staying smooth and not hitting any hurdles,” explained the European Indoor champion.
“There is a lot more in there but it was a great first round for me, I’m very pleased. The atmosphere was unbelievable – you’ll hear all the athletes harp on about it but you just don’t expect it until you get in there, it really is fantastic.”
Racing in his first major championships, fellow hurdler David Omoregie (Benke Blomkvist) was run out in the opening heat, finishing sixth in 13.59 after what he admitted was a messy race, hitting four hurdles in succession.
“It’s a little disappointing, I clipped a few hurdles and it wasn’t the tidiest race,” he said.
After a strong start in the second heat, British champion David King (James Hillier) looked to be in contention but the end of the race didn’t go as he would have wanted, knocking the hurdles on his way to the line and finishing eighth in 13.67.
“I was executing fairly well until hurdle four or five, then I clattered one, then clattered the rest of them from there on and I was just fighting to stay with everyone,” said King.
“It’s really disappointing because in my races in the past I’ve struggled with the front end of the race and the back end has been fairly good. So it was the opposite – I had a really good start but then messed it up. I don’t know if I just got a bit excited – I felt like I was up there and in a good position to qualify for the semis. Maybe I just got a little bit ahead of myself and was rushing it.”
British champion Jack Green (self-coached) qualified for Monday’s 400m hurdles semi-finals after securing the first of the fastest loser’s spots in the day’s heats, despite knocking over a hurdle on his way round.
The 25-year-old ran a superb first 300m but wobbled after hitting the eighth hurdle coming off the final bend, momentarily losing momentum.
Still in second place over the last hurdle, he was chased down in the final few metres and finished in fifth place – but he was quick to take the positives out of his performance.
“I’m in really good shape, I’m in a little too good shape, which was why I hit hurdle eight – I was ready to go, I got too close, that’s never happened before. It’s a nice positive, I’d rather be too close, knowing that I can run faster, than stretching and messing it up that way,” said Green, who stopped the clock at 49.55.
British champion Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna) went off strongly in the fifth heat of the women’s 400m, quickly up on the shoulder of Ukrainian Anastasiia Bryzgina to her outside.
The 22-year-old continued to look strong as she held her form well down the home straight, automatically booking her place in Monday’s semi-final with a third place finish in 51.88.
“I knew it was going to be tough but I didn’t want to change my game plan too much – go out fast for the first bit, stay nice and relaxed and make sure I have enough left in the home straight to give a bit of a kick,” said Clark, who finished just 0.04 seconds outside her personal best.
“It makes me feel like I belong, especially because I got an automatic qualifying spot rather than just a fastest loser, so that’s given me a lot of confidence.”
Emily Diamond (Jared Deacon) had earlier faced a tough task in heat two, lining up against Bahamian Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo as well as Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson. Finishing fifth in 52.20, she had to face an anxious wait to find out if she could grab a fastest loser spot, but sadly missed out.
“It’s a difficult one, I feel like I gave it everything I could in the race, and 40m to go I just had nothing left in me. I was pushing so hard for the line and my legs just felt a million times heavier than they normally are,” said Diamond.
It wasn’t to be for Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) either – the 32-year-old, who was part of the Olympic relay bronze medallist quartet alongside Diamond last year, couldn’t match her rivals as she finished eighth in the final heat, clocking 52.58.
A huge first effort of 6.56m in the long jump was the perfect way for Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin) to start day two of the women’s heptathlon competition.
After a blistering 200m the previous night, the Liverpudlian was able to add more vital points – only Belgian Nafissatou Thiam managing to jump further, with a best of 6.57m.
In the javelin throw, Johnson-Thompson threw a season’s best of 41.72m with her first of three attempts, collecting 700 points. The 24-year-old ended the morning session in fifth place overall with a total of 5,565 points. The 800m takes place tonight.
There was disappointment for the British contingent in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase heats as all three athletes failed to progress to the final.
Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon) went off in the first heat, and with two laps to go, he was still in touch with the front of the pack. But on the final lap the leaders moved up a gear; Seddon tried hard to keep up but the pace proved too fast this time – the 23-year-old came through in tenth place in 8:32.84.
“I felt good in warm up, the race went off fast then it slowed a bit, and I knew that to qualify for the final I was going to have to do something special,” said Seddon.
“I moved up in the pack to the front; in hindsight, I maybe went too hard too soon but I would not change it because that’s just me – I like to get out there.”
Up against Kenya’s defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi and US world number one Evan Jager in the second heat, Ieuan Thomas (James Thie) faced a massive task to qualify for the final and it proved too much as he finished at the rear of the heat in 8:52.96.
“It’s my first major championships, there were no real nerves coming in, there was excitement on the line, the crowd were amazing. I took that in the first two laps and felt incredible, then when the pace started picking up a little bit I noticed a few laps ticking off that weren’t as quick as I thought they felt,” said Thomas.
“People started going past me and I started trying to react and I felt I was fighting more than I should have been. I was pushing as hard as I possibly could and I was going nowhere. There are a few positives and a lot to work on, but I wanted to come here and prove I deserved my place on the team. I’m just disappointed not to go out there and perform like I know I should have.”
Three-time British champion Rob Mullett (Andrew and Amy Begley) was unable to match his form from earlier in the season as he finished back in 15th place in the final heat, clocking 8:47.99 after being clipped early on.
“Someone caught my leg and my arm down the back straight and it just shot me right back and I just couldn’t pass them. I made a stupid move a couple of laps later trying to get past. I’m devastated with that,” explained the 30-year-old.
“It was unfortunate – the rest of the race sucks but I just didn’t recover from it maybe as well as I need to. It was just disappointing, it was so slow. I’m able to close with the guys that are making the final; I’m devastated with that.”