GB Tokyo assessment: could do better


IMG_1262.JPGTeam GB 4x100m relay, photo by Stuart Weir

IMG_1255.JPGLaura Muir, silver medal in the 1,500m, photo by Stuart Weir

IMG_1231.JPGKeely Hodgkinson, silver medal, 800m, photo by Stuart Weir

GB Tokyo assessment

Great Britain gained six medals in Tokyo, the same number as in Rio. None of the medals was gold, the first time since Atlanta 1996, that there has not been a GB gold medal in athletics. It could have been better as there were a few disappointments. I would also add that medals are not everything and there were some excellent performances that did not result in medals. There were also a number of injuries. In British schools, there is a tradition that teachers, unsure what to write about a particular student, put the comment "Could do better". It seems applicable to team GB.

There were six medals

W 1500 Laura Muir silver

M 1500 Josh Kerr bronze

W 800 Keely Hodgkinson silver

W Pole Vault Holly Bradshaw bronze

W 4 X 100 relay bronze

M 4 X 100 relay silver*

*Pending the outcome of the potential doping violation, this medal could be lost.

Medals won is one way of measuring success, but is not the only one. How can Jemma Reekie's fourth place by 0.09 of a second be seen as a failure? Or Jodie Williams running a PR to finish sixth in the 400, in her first season of concentrating on the event? Not to mention Harry Coppell, seventh in the pole vault, and Nick Miller sixth in the hammer. Over 20 athletes reached their finals (including relays).


A fully-fit Katarina Johnson-Thompson would have challenged Nafi Thiam for the gold medal but KJT has been struggling all year to recover from a winter injury. Dina Asher-Smith's hamstring problem hindered her in the 100m and led to her pulling out of the 200m, in which she is reigning world champion. Adam Gemili was also injured.

Positives worth mentioning:

Women's 400m: Jodie Williams ties PB (set in the semi-final) while taking sixth in 400m, in the first year of concentration on the event.

Women's 800: Three athletes in the final, including second and fourth.

Women's 100: Daryll Neita making the final and becoming the second GB athlete ever to run sub 11.

Women's long jump: Two athletes in final

Women's 10k: Eilish McColgan ninth

Women's 3000SC: Elizabeth Bird ninth and NR

Men 1500: three to final

Men 20K walk: Callum Wilkinson 10th


Men's 100: Reece Prescod and Zharnel Hughes false-starts

Men's middle distance. None of the three athletes making the 800 final. A bronze medal in the 1500 but the other two athletes were ninth and tenth.

Men's 400: no entrant in the flat 400 or 400h

Men's 3000SC: the two athletes 40th and 42nd in the prelim.

The Marathons

The outcome of the marathons was very disappointing. In the men's Chris Thompson was 54th with neither of the other two finishing. In the women's Steph Davis was a very creditable 39th with the other two women 78th and 81st. One can only guess at the reaction of Charlie Purdue who was overlooked by the selectors.

Head coach, Christian Malcolm, said afterwards: "It's somewhere in between (a success and failure). I think it's just is a bit of a reflection on the last 18 months, the difficult conditions athletes and coaches have had to train in. The great thing about it is we've shown we have some real athletes with real pedigree for the future as well".

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