23rd July 2022


Cindy Sember (coach: Jeff Porter; club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies), Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips; Thames Valley) and Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman; City of Stoke) completed a clean sweep of British qualifiers on the penultimate morning of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

With just three British athletes in action as a morning session returned to the schedule at Hayward Field, Sember set the tone by cruising into the semi-finals of the women’s 100m hurdles sixth overall before Ugen and Sawyers followed suit to advance to the women’s long jump final.

Ugen, competing at her first World Championships since 2017, needed just two jumps to qualify for a third global final. After a 6.32m first time out, she leapt out to 6.68m in the second round – 0.14m shy of the mark that secured her world indoor bronze in March.

That would prove to be more than enough for Ugen – who has finished fifth in both her previous World Championship finals in 2017 and 2015 – and she chose to pass on the third.

Sawyers meanwhile may have had to utilise all three of her attempts in qualifying, but it arguably played into her hands and she got better with each effort and would comfortably progress to her first World Championships final.

There was some controversy over her first-round attempt which was ruled a foul, the margin no more than the width of toenail, but Sawyers didn’t let it trouble her as she leapt 6.48m second time out before bettering that to 6.68m with her last effort.

By that third jump, which equalled her season’s best, Sawyers’ rhythm was clear to see and ranked her ninth with teammate Ugen tenth. Sawyers said: “Oh man, why do I always do that?!

“I got it [the first jump which was deemed a foul] measured and it was 6.67m, although my last one was better it would have got me in, it would have saved me some stress. I feel like there were other jumps in the competition that looked the same that they gave as green flags, so I feel it’s not consistent.

“But it doesn’t matter, I did it in round three, I don’t know why I can’t do it in round one and just get the auto-Q but you know what? I just said before, people pay for tickets, I’ve got to give them a full three rounds of entertainment, I did it for them.

“I’m happy – the job in qualifying is to make it to the final. There’s definitely some technical things I can do better, but that’s my first world final at my third try so I’m really happy.”

After some high drama in the first five heats of the women’s 100m hurdles, Sember’s outing in the sixth and final race was relatively low key. Drawn next to world record holder Keni Harrison, Sember matched her almost all the way to comfortably qualify.

The Brit was neck and neck with the American until the final hurdle, finishing just 0.07 seconds off her in 12.67 (-0.4) to rank sixth overall going into the semi-finals. She said: “I was able to get through and that was ultimately my main goal, so I’m quite happy.

“I just really wanted to execute a clean race, but I know I was still a little bit rusty and made a couple of mistakes. Now I’ve got that out of the way, I’m very excited for the semi-final.

“It is a very fast track, and I got to race on it earlier this year so I already kind of knew the feeling of the track but it’s so nice to be racing on it for the World Championships. I am really excited to be racing on it again on Sunday.

“I do have so much confidence this year. I have a different approach this season, and I haven’t competed as much as I usually do, so I don’t feel like I’ve hit my peak quite yet, but I do feel something exceptional is coming.”

Great Britain and Northern Ireland Medal tally:

Gold: Jake Wightman – 1500m

Bronze: Laura Muir – 1500m

Bronze: Dina Asher-Smith – 200m

Bronze: Matt Hudson-Smith – 400m