An amazing day 2 for GBR team. Stuart Weir reminds us of the amazing journey of Katerina Johnson Thompson, another smart run by Laura Muir and Asha Philip’s gutty run.
Day two was a good day for the host nation with Katarina Johnson-Thompson taking gold comfortably in the Pentathlon. She had a narrow lead going into the final event, the 800 meters, with the stadium announcer telling the crowd that she needed to finish within 2 seconds of her nearest rival. She kept in touch until the final 100 meters and then ran away from the field to win the race and the gold medal.
She seemed to be on the verge of a global medal but it never quite happened. At the 2015 World Championships she was in second place at the end of day one but then recorded three fouls – one of them hotly disputed – in the long jump, her best event, to finish well down the field. She was sixth in the 2016 Olympic heptathlon. In London 2017 she missed out on a medal, finishing fifth, when she could only high jump 1.86. Days later in the individual high jump, she cleared 1.95!
It all came good tonight and Johnson-Thompson commented: “I can’t believe it; I’ve dreamt of this for so long and to do it here at a home world championship is incredible. It has been a long time coming but I am finally a senior world champion, so I am so happy. I just wanted my family to actually see me achieve something. It has been up and down; a long old day but the crowd have really pushed me on. Thanks to them for coming out in the snow, they got me around that 800m”
Bronze medallist in the 3000m last night, Laura Muir successfully reached the final of the 1500. . Elliot Giles, who runs for the Birmingham club, Birchfield, reached the final of the 800m.
In a day dominated by disqualifications, the semi-finals of the women’s 400m were bittersweet for the home nations with first none and then two home athletes reaching the final. First Eilidh Doyle finished third behind Shakima Wimbley (USA) and Lea Sprunger (Swizerland) in a brutal only the first two in each of three semis reaching the final – no fastest losers. When Sprunger was disqualified, Doyle was in the final. Zoey Clark looked like being the unluckiest athlete in the arena when she finished three thousandths of a second behind Justyna Swiety-Ersetic (Poland) in a semi won by Stephenie Ann McPherson. When McPherson was disqualified, Clark joined Doyle in the final. While I am delighted for two British girls, I do think that the large number of DQs is quite unsatisfactory.
So my nomination for the unluckiest athlete of the day is Asha Philip who found that her semi-final contained Elaine Thompson (Olympic Champion), Dafne Schippers (World Champion), Javianne Oliver (2018 World Lead) and Murielle AhourÃ© (who was to become 2018 World Indoor champion). Philip was fifth in 7.13, a time which would have given her second place in either of the other two semis and a place in the final.