Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley) produced the best display of her career as she won the world 100m silver medal in a British record of 10.83 on the third day of the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Elsewhere, there were fourth place finishes for Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn) in the women’s pole vault and the mixed 4x400m relay squad, while all three British men progressed through to the men’s 200m heats.
Asher-Smith captured Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s first ever women’s individual world medal in the 100m, and she did it in style, running her quickest ever time behind the now eight-time world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) who posted a world leading time of 10.71.
After winning the Diamond League title ahead of Fraser-Pryce just a few weeks earlier, the final saw a continuation of her stellar form in 2019, getting out well and holding her form to finish ahead of Marie-Josee Ta-Lou (CIV) who claimed the bronze medal.
Asher-Smith, who had earlier advanced to the final in a time of 10.87 (+0.5), spoke afterwards:
“I have worked so hard for these championships. I’ve worked so hard to this point in my career. Hopefully I’ll go on to do even bigger things, but I was thinking on the line, this is your time to go. I’m really pleased to come away with a PB and national record. That is more than you could ever ask for in a world final.
“I’m a championship performer and competitor so of course I would have loved to have won that race, anyone in that race would have. But Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce) delivered a fantastic performance. That is why she has won so many titles and is an absolute legend.”
She added: “It’s a long season and it is easy to get carried away with the smaller achievements along the way, be it winning the Diamond League final or running well throughout the season. It is quite easy to get caught up in the hype and forget what you are going for. It’s all about these championship moments so for me, it’s been about staying focused, making sure my training is tailored towards this and remember to keep your eye on the prize.”
In the earlier semi-finals, with the first two and next two fastest progressing, Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo; Cambridge) bowed out after placing fourth in the first of the races, her time of 11.18 (+0.8) following on from her PB in the heats.
Imani Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District), on her world championship debut was eighth in the final semi-final, clocking 11.35.
It was a courageous effort from Holly Bradshaw in the women’s pole vault as she finished fourth overall in a highly competitive final. It was the Loughborough-based athlete’s best placing at a world championship, and she was just one centimetre short of her outdoor personal best in the process.
With 17 starters in the final, the Briton made an efficient start, clearing 4.50m and 4.70m on her first attempt, and although she knocked the bar off on her first effort at 4.80m, she sailed over on the second time of asking which left her in bronze medal position.
4.85m proved more difficult for her, fouling her first two attempts, while Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) cleared the height on her second attempt which moved Bradshaw out of the medal positions. With that in mind, she moved up to 4.90m for her remaining final attempt, however, another foul ended her world championship campaign with a commendable fourth place.
Soon after, she commented: “It’s the best form I’ve been in all year – I jumped a season’s best – one centimetre off the British Record, and you know what? It wasn’t perfect there are still so many areas I can improve upon and that gives me hope and confidence moving forward to Tokyo which is less than a year away.
“I’m going to move back to 16 steps now on the 4.60 poles, but also there is discipline, my speed is there – I am fast enough, I’m a good enough pole vaulter to jump 4.90m or close… it’s just a discipline, when I get all over-excited on the run it all goes out of the window. For me when I attempted 90 today it was probably the best jump in my career because I was disciplined on the run. I was on the biggest pole I’ve been on all season, I’ve not touched that pole all season!
“It was super fun and I had a blast,” she added, “It’s hard to convey how those feelings feel when you get it right and today was one of those days where I felt really, really good.”
In the inaugural mixed 4x400m relay, the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team were fourth as the United States of America took the gold medal.
Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams; Newham & Essex Beagles) started the quartet’s campaign well, handing over to Zoey Clark (Eddie McKenna; Thames Valley) who ran a solid leg which left them in contention behind USA, Jamaica and Poland.
Emily Diamond (Benke Blomkvist; Bristol & West) maintained that position holding off 2017 world silver medallist Salwa Eid Naser (BRN), before handing the baton to Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin; Croydon) – in his record equalling eighth world championships – for a dramatic final lap. However, on the final lap for Bahrain, Abbas Abubakar Abbas, moved passed the Briton, and while Rooney caught Poland with metres to spare, it was a fourth place overall for the team in 3:12.27.
Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley) was the fastest qualifier from the men’s 200m heats after recording his quickest time over the distance in three years, 20.06. After a blistering start, he held his form in the home straight, and was significantly stronger reigning world champion Ramil Guliyev (AZE), as he put down a marker ahead of the semi-finals on Monday.
Gemili, who raced in the 100m semi-finals just 24 hours earlier, spoke after his heat:
“This was a bit of redemption for yesterday – for not executing how I should have done. Hopefully this gives me a good lane for tomorrow.
“I’m happy with that – I didn’t feel like I was pushing too much off the bend, I was just high stepping. I had a little glance and saw Guliyev was there or thereabouts but it’s hard to judge when you’re running that fast – but it was a good run and I feel like I’ve got plenty in the legs for tomorrow.”
In the next heat, 100m finalist Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet) returned to the track and comfortably progressed to the semi-final stage. After working hard around the bend, he relaxed in the final 100m to take second place behind Zheng Xie in a time of 20.24, a season’s best.
Last but not least, Miguel Francis (Glen Mills; Wolverhampton & Bilston) made it three out of three British athletes into the next round of the 200m. With Canadian Aaron Brown pipping him to the victory after he eased over the line, Francis clocked 20.11.
All three Britons missed out on spots in the men’s 800m final but Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg; Birchfield) came closest in the quickest of the heats. Qatar’s Abubaker Haydar Abdalla and Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vasquez led out a hot pace on the first lap, and with the home favourite fading in the closing stages 1:45.15, it opened the door for the rest of the field. However, Giles could not find a gap in the home straight to make it into the top two.
Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers) was eighth in the second of the races in 1:48.44 while Kyle Langford (Jon Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet) was involved in a burn-up for the line, but ultimately missed out in sixth place, his time 1:46.41.
British medallists at the IAAF World Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m
Top Eight finishes:
4th Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault
4th Mixed relay team
6th Zharnel Hughes – 100m