Stuart Weir travels around the universe, searching out good track meets for RunBlogRun. Stuart is in Rome and is covering the Diamond League. At each meet, I ask Stuart to write about British athletes.
In this piece, Stuart wrote about British athletes and their performances. Last week, at the adidas Boost Boston Meet, I was fortunate to watch the long jump for a few rounds with Desiree Henry. Desiree trains with Rana Reider in Amsterdam. Desiree is a British sprinter. She loves the 100 meters and thinks the 60m is too short and the 200 meters is too long. I enjoyed chatting with Desiree about her upcoming meets. For me, meeting and talking with the athletes that we idolize is part of the pleasure of what I do. I want to know why they jump, run and throw. Why is athletics so important that they give many of the normal things in life for half of their young lives? In the high season, juggling training, racing and travel are essential skill sets for an elite athlete. Desiree is one of the athletes Stuart covered in this piece.
Chijindu Ujah, photo by PhotoRun.net
Chijindu Ujah was the British performance of the night. Ujah took the win in the 100 meters, taking down some of the finest sprinters in the world.
Thanks, Stuart, once again. Writing four stories while watching the returns of the British election had to be a challenge. Stuart was up until 4 am Rome time writing these pieces. We live in difficult times.
Sometimes, our solace are the moments in athletics, when we see athletes challenge themselves to run, jump and throw. Those moments bring some sanity into modern life.
Brits in Rome
It was a mixed night for the eight British athletes in action at the Golden Gala in Rome on General Election night in the UK. The Diamond League produced none of the MAYhem back home. But not to be left out of the election theme, British Athletics chose that day to announce that the captain of the GB team at the London 2017 World Championships would be voted into office rather than chosen by management. The British Athletics statement said: “This is about giving athletes empowerment…We feel it is fitting to announce this move on Election Day”.
The British performance of the day in Rome was Chijindu Ujah, who won the 100 metres – not a Diamond race – in 10.02, defeating Jimmy Vicaut, Ronnie Baker and Michael Rodgers among others. Ujah said: “It was a decent race but a bit scrappy towards the end. I’m trying to be free – that’s the motif for today from my coach. I was just trying to be free and focus on my lane because I know the guys out there are fast. I just had to focus on my own race. It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it. I’m just trying to stay healthy. By the grace of God I just want to remain healthy”. Ujah, who has spent two months this year training at ALTIS, acknowledged the help of Stu McMillan at Altis and Jonas Dodoo of Speedworks.
Holly Bradshaw, who cleared 4:80 Pole Vault in the the Arcadis Great City Games just two weeks ago, went out of the Diamond League competition at 4.40m and had to settle for seventh place. Morgan Lake was fourth in the High Jump with1.91.
There were two British runners in the 5,000m, Steph Twell was sixteenth in 15:24.05, over a minute behind winner, Hellen Obiri, with Eilish McColgan failing to finish.
Desiree Henry was sixth in the 100 metres in 11.32, behind Dafne Schippers who finished in 10.99. Henry’s assessment was: “The time was not there but I think I’m getting my confidence back, I’m taking away the positives from today”. She was particularly pleased with her finish: “as a sprinter you have to finish all the way through. And I was able to power through the last metres. So overall I’m happy”.
Andy Pozzi was fourth in the 110H in 13.24, just 0.05 off his PR but was not satisfied: “I thought it was alright. I sat on one of the latter hurdles and I think that’s where I started to go backwards. It’s a real problem and something that needs to be fixed pretty soon. I think the first half of the race was OK but I haven’t seen it back yet. The time was OK but it needs to be a lot better”.
Eilidh Doyle was last in the 400H in 55.86 after messing up the ninth hurdle. She said afterwards: “I was going really well and until hurdle nine and I just started really badly into it and landed awkwardly off it and lost momentum. I’m annoyed that I messed up that hurdle because I was in amongst it at that stage”. To show that she was not too down in the dumps, she tweeted later: “If someone could have removed hurdle 9 from the race that would of been great!”
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