GRABARZ FINISHES FOURTH IN OLYMPIC HIGH JUMP FINAL
Robbie Grabarz (coach: Fuzz Caan) jumped an outdoor season’s best of 2.33m, his best jump since 2012, to finish an extremely credible fourth in the Olympic high jump final.
A first time clearance of 2.29m, the height that saw him win bronze at London 2012, followed by a first time clearance of 2.33m put him right in the mix, but ultimately it wasn’t to be.
After a challenging four years since winning Olympic bronze, Grabarz can be pleased with his effort and fourth place finish, even though a first time clearance at 2.25m would have seen him win bronze.
“It was my own mistake at 2.25m and its cost me a medal. It’s a pretty upsetting and frustrating place to be but Olympic fourth is still something to be pretty damn proud of.
“I’m really happy and I’m really proud of it. Being that close to a medal, whilst it is really frustrating, if someone said even six weeks ago that you’re going to come fourth I’d have been really chuffed. But in the heat of the moment when it is that close you are absolutely gutted.”
Laura Muir (Andy Young) put everything on the line in her pursuit of an Olympic medal, but in the end fell short as she tied up with 150m to go in a typically tactical 1500m final. Going through 800m in a pedestrian 2.27, pre-race favourite Genzebe Dibaba took up the running in earnest throwing in a 56 second lap. At 1200m Dibaba led with eventual winner Faith Kipyegon and Laura Muir hot on her heels, but in the end Muir finished seventh in 4.12.88.
“I went for it – it’s not every day you find yourself in an Olympic final. I know I’m in great shape, it’s just that last 150m wasn’t quite in me and the girls were just better on the day. This is my first Olympics and I gave it all I could, but it just wasn’t enough on the day, but I’m really proud of how I ran.”
Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) left everything on the track to make it through to her second Olympic final and she battled hard all the way to finish 11th in 4.14.95
“That was completely different experience – I scrapped to get into the final and I thought I’d done well to get there, but I’m a little bit disappointed with that final today. I thought I should have been and could have been a little bit more competitive but I couldn’t go with the pace when it happened.
“I think we have made huge steps forward. The final today was much better than in London but at the time of London, I was only 21 and I didn’t really know what was going on. My eyes have been opened a lot more in the last few years but I really believe that I have come a long way since then. That was a much better final.”
Despite missing out on a top two spot in her semi-final on the line, Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) advanced to the 400mH final on Thursday evening courtesy of her 54.99 time.
Running a clean race, Doyle looked to be amongst the top two, however a fast finishing Ashley Spencer pushed her down into third place on the line.
“Obviously I would have liked to have got the automatic qualification but I’m actually really happy with how the race went – it was smooth and there were no errors like yesterday, so I felt like I gave it everything. It’s wide open this year, so although there isn’t anyone out there dominating there are a lot of us very close together.”
Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) made it through to the women’s 200m final taking the final fastest losers spot by one hundredth of a second.
Running in the first of three semi-finals, Asher-Smith clocked 22.49 (0.1) in fourth, and was made to sit and watch, hoping no one outside of the top two would go quicker. Thankfully they didn’t, which means the 20 year old will line up in her first Olympic final having been a kit carrier four years ago in London.
Knowing she was drawn in the hardest semi-final and would likely needed a fastest losers spot, the youngster tore round the bend, to finish fourth. It was enough though, and after a nervous wait commented:
“It was a hard one; when you’ve got the world gold and silver medallists in the heat it’s always going to be a fast race. I’m a bit disappointed in how I ran as I am in better shape than that. It’s frustrating to have messed up in such an important and crucial race, but at the same time it’s something that happens in elite sport.
“It was a really good bend and a safe 160m, but I went into the wrong position on the straight and you kind of end up running leaning back and you end up slowing down, which is disappointing. I’m quite disappointed as I know I can run better than that and I’ve got the opportunity now to do that in the final.”
Running from lane one Jodie Williams (Ryan Freckleton) faced an uphill task to qualify for the 200m final, and in the end she finished eighth in 22.99 (0.1).
“I’m really disappointed with that – that’s not what I wanted to come out and do. No Olympic semi-final is going to be easy but I’m just disappointed with myself. To be honest I feel so fortunate to even be here – only 24 people in the world every four years make the Olympic semi-finals, so in hindsight I’ll probably be okay with it, but right now I’m just disappointed.”
In the field three British women were chasing a place in the long jump final, with Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) leading the way in Pool A. With just three athletes across the two pools achieving the 6.75m automatic qualifying mark, Ugen saved her best until last, leaping to 6.65m to finish seventh overall.
“My first jump was a bit dodgy. I don’t know, it was just a bit flat. I knew I had to slow it down and land it cleaner. Then it would be a good jump.
On the final she added:
“I know it’s going to need at least a 7 metre plus jump. Obviously I haven’t got one out there yet, so I’m just hoping to come out here tomorrow and get one out. I am going to get a massage, chill, get something to eat and get ready for tomorrow.”
In Pool B, British champion Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) produced a final round 6.53m to bag that twelfth and final place in the Olympic final.
“It was different – it’s hard to qualify – you can see that by the fact that there are a lot of amazing jumpers that didn’t. I’m not happy with how I jumped and all I was thinking was I can do better – but I get the chance to, because luckily I put myself in a position just to be able to do that. I get the chance to go again tomorrow and overnight work out exactly what went wrong – I’ve got some ideas – and fix it because tomorrow is where it counts.
“I think it’s just me – it’s psychological – it’s the biggest thing ever. There’s a fine line between ‘it’s just long jump’ and ‘this is the biggest thing ever’. I’ve got be able to absorb that energy, enjoy it for being the Olympic Games, whilst at the same time going ‘you know how to do this’.”
There was disappointment for Shara Proctor (Rana Reider), as jumping in the same pool as Sawyers her best of 6.36m was only good enough for 21st place.
“Basically I just couldn’t get on the board. Each jump I was more and more behind the board so I had to keep on adjusting, so I didn’t feel comfortable on the runway and it was just a big mess. I know I messed up – I should have been able to adjust.”
Try as they might neither Lawrence Clarke (Samba-Koundy Giscard) or Andrew Pozzi (Arnold) made the men’s 110mH hurdles final, as clipped hurdles cost them dearly.
Clarke finished sixth in 13.46 (-0.1), a tenth down on a fastest losers spot.
“I had a go! I was in the lane next to the world number one and he got out. But I was going well early on but you have to get into that fastest loser spot so I pressed, took the risks and hit two hurdles, so it’s not to be.
“It’s been an amazing journey here and I can’t thank the people enough who’ve got me here, particularly the National Lottery, British Athletics and all my sponsors. I’m quite emotional as this is the last Olympics I’ll come too, but I’ve come fourth at one and I’m a semi-finalist at the other, so I can’t complain. Athletics has been my life for the last eight years and to represent my country is a real privilege and an honour. I love this place, I love this stage and I couldn’t ask for any more.”
It was a similar result for Andrew Pozzi (Malcom Arnold), who running in the first of three semi-finals ran an uncharacteristically messy race, clattering hurdles to fall out of contention for a top two spot. Quick out the blocks he clipped the first couple of barriers but somehow dragged himself into contention before smashing the final few to slip to fifth in 13.67 (0.5).
“That was just abysmal – absolutely awful. It was a no go from the start really and I’ll be honest, I really can’t describe what went wrong because there was nothing that went right in that race.
“From the moment I left the blocks it was just uncomfortable, I just didn’t get into the race at all and I was hitting hurdles left, right and centre like I had never been over one before. To be honest I’m just embarrassed; I’ve never, ever run that badly and I can’t begin to describe why.”
In the men’s one lap hurdles Jack Green (Jane Plews) was in the mix coming off the final bend but hit hurdle eight, which threw him off his rhythm and saw him drop down into eight place.
Of his 49.54 run Green said:
“I missed a stride going into hurdle eight and lost everything at that and it’s a wasted opportunity – it’s a shame but welcome to sport! That’s definitely the best I’ve committed to a race but I missed hurdle eight by half a stride and at this level you can’t do that, and unfortunately I did.”