Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the Brits success in Zurich, plus the whys and wherefores….
Brits in Zurich
It is hard to evaluate performances at the Weltklasse without looking at the context. Coming one week after the GB Champs and selection trials, athletes are still recovering from their Herculean efforts. And with the Diamond League final coming before the World Championship rather than after it, many athletes are prioritizing the World Champs.
The stand-out performance was Dina Asher-Smith coming second in the 200m in 22:08. Shame – from Dina’s perspective – that Shaunae Miller-Uibo decided to run a World Lead, National Record and Diamond League record of 21.74!
Dina told me afterwards: “It was good. Obviously, I am a competitor so I always want to go into every race and win. That is always my aim and was definitely my aim today. In the race, I was irritated to see myself in second but when I saw Shaunae ran 21.7 which is faster than my PB, sometimes it’s like what can you do? I was happy to run 22.0 which is the fastest I’ve ever run going into a major championship so it bodes well for the worlds”.
And, with Asher-Smith beating Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson and double defending World Champion, Dafne Schippers and with Miller-Uibo only running the 400m in Doha, Dina is a serious contender for the gold.
At the GB trials Adam Gemili won the 200m and was second in the 100m. Zharnel Hughes second and third. In the 100m in Zurich they were sixth and seventh in 10.15. Disappointing on the night but does it rule out a good performance in Doha? Not at all.
Andrew Butchart won the GB 5000m title in 13:54. In Zurich he ran 30 seconds quicker but found himself 11th. He will learn a lot from the experience.
Jemma Reekie ran 4:05.34 in the 1500, a race in which 10 women finished in under 4:03. She told me afterwards: “I think it was all right. I did what I thought was right and picked off as many people as I could. It was a great experience for me. [being in the Diamond League final] was a surprise and not something I really thought of for this year. So I am sure being here at 21, the experience will help me in the future”.
Eilish McColgan was 12th in the 1500m but her focus is on the 5000m in Doha.
Laviai Nielsen was a late call-up to the women’s 400m and finished fifth in 51.70. Afterwards she struggled to be clear about how to assess the race, saying: “I’m a little bit disappointed. It was probably my worst race of the season. But the time would have been a PB this time last year. So saying that shows that I’ve come a long way in the last year. My aim was to come in the top three so finishing fifth is not the greatest. But being here is such a bonus because I didn’t think I would qualify for the Diamond League final. I didn’t think when I was setting my goals for this year that I would be doing the Diamond League final. So being here today is so amazing”.