In the two 400-meter finals of the 2022 Commonwealth Games on the final day of athletics, Stuart Weir found some interesting notions on one of the toughest races in the track and field program.
Two 400m finals
There have been complaints on social media about scheduling finals in morning sessions. Nonsense, I say! With a full stadium for morning sessions (30,000), why should they not get a share of the great action? We saw excellence, drama, shocks, and reward for some great racing in the two Sunday morning 400m finals.
Bahamian Sada Williams, the Oregon medalist, was not the fastest in qualifying, but she did the business, winning the final in 49.90. Then came three English girls. Victoria Ohuruogu took silver – didn’t her older sister/coach – know a bit about 400m running?
Vikki got faster and faster as the rounds progressed, 51.34, 51.00, and 50.72. In Oregon, she just missed out on the final, running her first sub-50. In the Commonwealth final, she lowered that PR even further. Ohuruogu has had a strange career. In 2014, she ran 52.71 but did not improve on it for 7 years. Now, aged 29, she is in the form of her life.
Jodie Williams, a finalist in Tokyo, withdrew from Oregon with injury and was, by her own admission, just short of a few races coming into the Commonwealths. She came third in 51.26.
Sada Williams commented: “Coming off of the high of a medal in Oregon and then coming into another championship, you want to do well every time you perform.” And she did!
Ohuruogu commented: “The girls went out hard today, and I knew that I just had to kick on the home straight. I managed to pick off some people, so I’m happy my race plan worked out. But it was just about hanging on, and I got a personal best [50.72], so I’m happy”.
Jodie Williams said of her race: “I was in lane nine, so knew it was going to be rough. I had to run my own race. I am racing rusty for sure. I just thought, ‘get out, commit, and hold on for dear life,’ then battle to the end. I couldn’t see because I was so far out, so I didn’t know where I had come. I saw my name up in bronze and was delighted.
“Last year was my first year over the 400. I dipped under the 50 seconds and made the Olympic final, so I think that justified my step up. But this year has been a bit of a battle. I will run 200m at the Europeans, so I am still dabbling in both, but I’m glad to get my first outdoor international medal at the 400.”
Jodie is a great athlete and a very rounded person. Many will be pleased to see her success.