One of Stuart Weir’s most popular columns is the column on British athletes that he does at most of the meets that he attends or covers remotely. This piece is on the Rome DL. I apologize for the three-day delay, as I was juggling four meets and championships in one five-day period, plus beginning to travel myself.
Stuart Weir is on the road right now, as he heads to two more of his favorite meetings.
British athletes in Rome
Nine British athletes were in action at the Wanda Diamond League in Rome. Holly Bradshaw cleared 4.60m to match her season’s best to finish the women’s pole vault competition in equal second place. The Olympic bronze medallist cleared 4.40m and 4.50m on her second attempt, but she comfortably moved over 4.60m at the first time of asking, narrowly failing to clear 4.70.
Holly told me afterwards “I am so happy and stoked. This was just the competition I needed. Over the last couple of months, I have completely lost my jump from 14 steps because I missed the whole winter training through injury. Birmingham was just the second competition with 14 steps, so it’s unfortunate that I have been thrust into the competitive environment to try to figure things out. But I have been, and it has not been going well. So today was a real landmark turn for me. I vaulted well and had my Holly feelings on the pole back. I honestly cannot take a single negative from today. I was very close to 4.70,m and I just need to springboard on from this”.
Laura Muir was third in the women’s 1500m in 4:04.93, commenting: “The race was a bit messy. The pace was up and down as nobody wanted to take it on. It was a bit scrappy. But a solid run for third in a very competitive race. It’s just building on it race by race. I am a bit tired from training, but it is all about the summer. I thought I was going to fall at one point. I was bumped from behind, bumped from the side. But that is 1500m running; it comes with the game”.
In the most highly anticipated races of the meeting, World champion, Dina Asher-Smith, was third in the 200m, behind the Jamaicans, Shericka Jackson, and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. Dina told me: “I am actually happy with where I placed in that race and with the race that I executed. It was a really stellar field, and you never know what women of that caliber are going to do. So I was quite happy to finish quite high”.
Beth Dobbin, who was ninth in a time of 23.36, said: “I really enjoyed the race. I would have liked to have run quicker – for them to have dragged me to a quicker time – but I think I did OK, considering that I had lane 1. I just wish I was running a bit closer to them. If I had been in the shape I was in last year, I would have been. But it is what it is. I can only deal with the winter I have had and have the best season I can have”.
Lina Nielsen continued her excellent 2022 form as she sliced a further 0.03s off her personal best in the 400m hurdles. She told me: “The race was good. It is the first time I have had an outside lane this year, but I just went for it. I clattered hurdle 5, but that gave me an extra push because I said, ‘you can’t let it slow you down. It was a good race, good fun. And I got a PB. I was quite happy with lane 9 because I tend to let go of my race when I see other people”.
Talking about her improvement this year, she said: “A lot of it has been mentality. Sadly, I missed out on the Olympics last year, and that changed me as an athlete and as a person. I have done a lot of mental work and of course physically as well”.
With Jessie Knight in good form, the 400h is very competitive at the moment: “It’s really good. Jessie broke through the rest of us and has set a good level for all of us to attain. It is really great and a friendly competitive environment that we have among GB hurdlers”.
There was a fifth-place finish for Lawrence Okoye in the men’s discus; his furthest throw came on his first visit to the throwing circle, and that measured at 64.72m.
Jazmin Sawyers leaped to 6.61m to finish seventh in the women’s long jump.
Jemma Reekie was ninth in a very fast 800m in a time of 2:00.28. She said: “It didn’t go very well. It’s frustrating because from training, I know I am better than that. But as long as I am ready for the British Champs and the big champs is all that matters”.
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake finished fifth in the men’s 200 in season’s best 20.59 and was not satisfied: “Not happy with the time. Conditions were perfect to run fast today, but I didn’t take advantage of it. Poor execution; I wanted more from it, but it didn’t click today”.