There was a fourth-place finish for Adam Gemili (Blackheath & Bromley; Rana Reider) in the men’s 200m final, while world 100m silver medallist Dina Asher-Smith (Blackheath & Bromley; John Blackie) booked her place in the final of the women’s 200m final, on the fifth day of the IAAF World Championships in Doha last night.
For Gemili, he was in contention for the medals throughout the race, blasting around the bend and leading coming into the home straight ahead of Noah Lyles (USA), the eventual champion. As Andre de Grasse (CAN) moved passed the Briton in the final 50 metres, it looked as though Gemili would hang into bronze, but the Ecuadorian Alex Quinonez edged by in the closing few strides.
Gemili posted a time of 20.03, matching his season’s best from his semi-final, with bronze going to Quinonez in 19.98, while Lyle took the title in 19.83.
He spoke post-race: “I’m just gutted – I had it. I just lost all my bounce at the end. I had nothing left. All my form went out of the window and I just ran like such an amateur. I just can’t believe that, I came so close.
“This was such a good opportunity. I’ve been running so well through the heats; my body feels good and I let it go when I had it. I’m sorry – I don’t like apologising for a performance, but I feel like I’ve let so many people down. There are so many people that have believed in me who have sent me so many nice messages over the last few days.”
He added: “The last two years I’ve been plagued by injuries, but I’ve got back to where I should be, so to not to break 20 seconds is so disappointing and heart-breaking. I had the medal and it just slipped out of my hands.”
Earlier, Dina Asher-Smith made swift progress into the women’s 200m final after a comfortable win in the last of the semi-finals. The 100m silver medallist ran a very composed race as she clocked 22.16 (0.5), going through as the fastest qualifier from all three semis.
British duo Jodie Williams (Herts Phoenix; Stuart McMillan) and Beth Dobbin (Edinburgh AC; Leon Baptiste) missed out on the final after bowing out in their respective semi-finals.
A frustrated Williams felt afterwards that she started her race too conservatively, which ultimately cost her in the closing stages, placing fifth in 22.78 (0.4). For Dobbin, she was sixth in the second of three semi-finals, coming home in 23.11 (0.4)
Both Laviai Nielsen (Enfield & Haringey; Christine Bowmaker) and Emily Diamond (Bristol & West; Benke Blomkvist) did not progress from the highly competitive women’s 400m semi-finals.
Nielsen, out in lane nine, was racing against the clock for the majority of the race, pushing hard over the first 300 metres to give herself a chance against with the 2017 world gold and silver medallist’s Phyllis Francis (USA) and Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) on the inside lanes. Despite her best efforts, she crossed the line eighth in 52.94.
In the third of the semi-finals, Diamond was in lane two, and battled hard with the American Kendall Ellis, just edged into fourth place in a season’s best of 51.62.
Zak Seddon (Bracknell; Jeff Seddon) produced one of the best performances of the day from the Brits, running the second quickest 3000m steeplechase of his career to become the first British athlete to reach a world final in the event for 26 years.
Seddon positioned himself extremely well within the lead pack early on in the first of three men’s heats and, even when the pace picked up and the group strung out, he kept strong and powered down the home straight to clock 8:22.51 for seventh and a place as a non-automatic qualifier.
Only his 8:21.28 from the Rome Diamond League in June ranks better in his career and Seddon said immediately after his outing: “It is my second fastest time and in those conditions, with the race up and down, it is probably a fair representation of where I am at. That was the best I could give today, so I am happy with that. To turn up at a championships, in a championships-style race and get that close to my best is good, I am happy with myself.”
Commonwealth champion Nick Miller (Border; Tore Gustafsson) also looked good in qualifying of the men’s hammer in Doha. Miller – the first Brit in action on day five – threw out to 76.36m with his second attempt, which was just 14 centimetres shy of the automatic qualifying distance.
It mattered little for Miller though and him passing his third and final attempt was an indication that 76.36m was enough to make the final, which it was, ranking him tenth overall as he bids to go even better than London two years ago where he finished sixth.
Seddon and Miller’s efforts were matched by that of Jessica Turner (Amber Valley & Erewash; Nick Dakin) in the heats of the women’s 400m hurdles as she took a chunk off her lifetime best to advance impressively to the semi-finals.
Turner’s opening outing was one to remember as she stuck to her race plan and surged to the line to clock 55.72 for third – a full 0.23 better than the personal best she clocked in Switzerland almost two months ago.
She said: “I went in saying to myself to run as fast as I can and run my heart out and I did. There were still a couple of mistakes in the race so there is so much more to improve on. I am absolutely thrilled. I looked up at the screen and I was like ‘PB!’.”
Meghan Beesley (Birchfield Harriers; Michael Baker) followed suit in the last of the five heats in the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking 55.97 for third herself and automatic qualification – and she shared her theory on advancing in Doha.
Beesley said: “If you run sub-56 you’ll get to the semis and if you run sub-55 you’ll get to the final, so I have nailed it on the first one there – 55.97 – and hopefully tomorrow I have more to come. It was a pretty safe stride pattern but it’s not about being safe in the next one.”
The men’s 400m heats opened up the session and Rabah Yousif (Newham & Essex Beagles; Carol Williams), fresh from two outings already in Doha as the British mixed 4x400m relay team finished an agonising fourth, cruised into the semi-finals in third in the sixth of six heats in 45.40.
He said: “I finished strong and that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to get out but not compromise my finish. I did enough to make it to the next round and tomorrow is about trying to make it to the final.”
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Birchfield Harriers; Lance Brauman) was the first British athlete of day five to take to the track but unfortunately felt his hamstring after coming out of the blocks and did not his heat. He is being assessed by the British Athletics medical team.
British medallists at the IAAF World Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m
4th Adam Gemili – 200m
4th Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault
4th Mixed relay team
6th Zharnel Hughes – 100m