The column by Stuart Weir is important, as it helps us in US see how other countries see their team’s performances. Actually, Team GBR is the success story of the 21rst century after falling to absolute dismal status.
Brits day 1
In London 2017 GB won six medals and we are all playing the “where can we find six medals this year”?
It was a mixed opening day for the Brits.
Holly Bradshaw qualified for pole vault final, needing only one jump to do so, afterwards revealing her strategy secrets: “That was always plan A – we decided to open at the auto qualification height. I’ve done it a couple of times in training and I felt really good for it, so I went for it and it went really well. I usually open at a 4.50/4.55 in a qualification anyway so I had to wait maybe an extra 10-15 minutes. It’s always pretty good practice for me as at the British champs I have to wait quite a while. I knew I was going to have to wait 90mins to two hours – that doesn’t really bother me, I have quite a good strategy for that. I’m ready for the final now”.
All three men progressed to the 100m final. Zharnel Hughes won his heat in 10.08, Adam Gemili was third in his. Ojie Edoburun was 24th fastest as 24 made the semis. But tomorrow is new day.
The women’s 800m included three strong Brits. Shelayna Oskan-Clarke was second her heat, using her experience to keep calm when boxed in. Alex Bell was third with three to qualify in her race.
The first British disappointment at Doha 2019 was the elimination of Lynsey Sharp in the 800m. Having run 1:58.61 already this year, she looked to have a shot at a medal. However, you have got to be in it to win it and Sharp failed to progress though the heat. In a slow race the top four were separately only by 0.21 seconds which Sharp who had looked comfortable all the way round, run out of it at the finish. Run out of it by 0.13 seconds but should an experienced athlete have let herself get caught like that? As one former international 800m tweeted, “why would you allow a 63 second first lap in the final heat”.
None of the three British women made the final in the 3000m steeplechase but that does not tell the whole story as Elizabeth Bird and Aimee Pratt both ran PRs. Bird, who was 16th overall with 15 making the final, said afterwards: “I’m happy with that – I felt a lot better than I was expecting. My aim was to really stay strong in that middle K, because that’s where I have been struggling a little bit recently to hang on and I did. The group kind of got away from us which was a bit disappointing but I thing I managed to hold on, just enough to get a couple of girls at the end. And the time is obviously a big bonus – I could see it!”
High jumper, Morgan Lake, whose 1.97 earlier in the year is the seventh best in the world, could only manage 1.85. A real disappointment for an athlete who was sixth in London 2017.
We have previously discussed the GB selection policy of top two in trials plus a discretionary selection. It is always a hidden agenda, how well did the selected athletes do and might a different choice have done better. We may return to that theme.