The men’s 100 meters at the British Trials were also fascinating. The British system, to an American, is much more complicated, but also, as Stuart Weir explains, complex once again.
The race of the day was the men’s 100m. British sprinting is at an all time high. Let me mention for the 147th time in this column, reluctantly, and solely because it makes a point that the British men’s 4 by 100 are in fact the world champions having beaten the Jamaicans and the Americans in London 2017! Even with Reece Prescod injured, today’s field was loaded.
There were three semi-finals – this column struggles of the logic of there being three semi-finals but has come to accept it – won by Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes both 10.26 and Ojie Edoburun 10.15. The times are rather meaningless as Gemili was running into a -2.2 wind, Hughes into a -1.6 wind, while the wind had dropped completely by the time of Edoburun’s third heat.
In the final, incredibly all three were given the same time, 10.18 against a -1.9 wind. I understand that the process of separating them went to hundredths of a second, but for some reason this has not been included in the official results sheets. The results awarded were:
1 Ojie Edoburun
2 Adam Gemili
3 Zharnel Hughes
Hughes with a PR of 9.91 and the 2019 time of 9.95 was the favourite going into the race. Gemili has a PR of 9.97 whereas Edoburun has never gone sub 10. In fourth place was CJ Ujah, 2017 Diamond League champion, who seems to have dropped down the pecking order in the past two years.
Odoburun could hardly contain his excitement with this victory. He commented revealingly about his internal battles coming into the race, saying: “I thought I could win but there were so many voices in my head telling me that I couldn’t. I had flashbacks of bad experiences coming through my head, getting disqualified, cramping up, anything you could have imagined. I’ve always had a problem at British Champs and I thought that would haunt me again. Today, I stopped listening to the voices and just had to run. I felt it was mine for the taking and I knew that. I kept composed, felt a bit of cramp towards the end but held my own and couldn’t care less because I’ve got the medal and that’s the important thing.”
“I knew no one was going to think about me because of all the hype around others but I knew what I was going to do. I backed myself and I feel like a champion”.
Gemili, often seen more as a 200 metre runner, commented: “It’s so bittersweet because I would have liked to run a better race myself, I know I’m in better shape but I got the auto-qualifying mark and that’s what matters. I don’t feel tired and hopefully I’ll do the same in the 200m tomorrow and hopefully run a better race”.
One would expect Hughes to get the discretionary third place. I am assuming that Gemili wants to double up in Doha. The selection of the six relay runners will be intriguing.