As the temperatures soar in Budapest, so do the lightning performances from the British team.
Certainly a highlight of day four was the men’s 400m semi-finals with Matt Hudson-Smith (Birchfield Harriers, Lance Brauman) flying the flag and what a performance from the Birchfield Harrier! With the renowned Kirani James to contend with in his race, Matt kept his cool with a very strong start out of the blocks. Looking dominant throughout he entered the final straight and used his strength to power towards the line. Slowing slightly to conserve energy, it was an outright personal best and European Record in 44.26!
On his record, Matt said:
“I will be happy when I get that medal, as for today (the record), that is just job done. Coach told me to execute 300 and make sure the job was done, and then when I knew I was clear, I was saving something for the final, and I did that. I just need to get that medal now. My coach told me beforehand to enjoy it. He said ‘have you done this before?’ and ‘do you feel like you deserve to be here?’ I have worked too damned hard to not get to the final. So I am really happy to have made it and it is all about getting that medal on Thursday.”
Just how fast can Hudson-Smith go in the final on Thursday?
Cornwall’s Molly Caudery continued to excel in the pole vault as she has all season jumping 4.60m on the first clearance hoping it would be enough to gain qualification. As more than 12 athletes completed this height, it was onto 4.65m which Caudery cleared on her third attempt booking her spot in the final on Thursday.
After the qualification, Molly stated:
“I never thought it was going to take a 4.65m jump to reach the final but it did. It is my second highest jump ever so I am very happy. I cleared 4.65m on my third attempt which got me into the final. Getting into a world final is something I have dreamed of for years. It is just huge! It’s been the goal all year, so I am so pleased to have achieved it.”
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for Olympic medallist Holly Bradshaw (Blackburn Harriers, Scott Simpson) as she had battled with a stomach bug in the previous week and couldn’t find that jump on the night. She finished in 16th place with 4.35m.
It was the women’s turn to take on the 100m on Monday night, with Dina Asher-Smith (Blackheath and Bromley, John Blackie) the British representative. The strength and depth in women’s sprinting is at an all-time high with Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who hold a staggering 24 world champs medals between them, and the lightning quick American Sha’Carri Jackson who came through to take the gold. After a fantastic start from the Blackheath and Bromley athlete, Asher-Smith unfortunately couldn’t maintain her top speed and finished in 8th place with a time of 11.00.
After two hotly contested rounds, it was time for the much awaited women’s 1500m final with England, Scotland and Wales represented by Katie Snowden (Herne Hill, Dan Stepney), Laura Muir and Melissa Courtney-Bryant.
After an outstanding season so far, the gold medal was already around Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon’s neck before the gun however with such a fantastic field of athletes, the rest of the positions were all to play for. After a new personal best and England record earlier in the week of 3:56.72, Katie Snowden ran a fantastic tactical race, just unable to kick up a gear when Kipyegon continued to push, finishing 8th place, with a time of 3:59.65 after a demanding week of competition. After the race, Katie reflected on her champs:
“It wasn’t actually as quick as I thought it was going to be. When I saw it was a 64-65 second first lap and it was pretty bunched - we weren’t going as fast as I thought. I think the semis took quite a lot out of me. From the first lap I felt quite heavy legged and not as poppy as the semis - that was frustrating. I set a big PB in the last round and now eighth in the world - I can’t complain that much.”
After a fantastic victory in the heats on Monday, Jessie Knight was back in action on day four for the women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals. With a tough ask of a top 2 finish to reach the finals, it was 4th place for Jessie, finishing 12th overall in the world with a time of 54.51. Feeling a mix of disappointment and optimism for the future, Jessie said:
“I’m not going to lie I am gutted. But it’s better than some of the more recent championships that I have done, I really feel like I was in the shape to make that final so it’s a tough one to take but it just wasn’t good enough today.
But two 54s? It was solid. I mucked up the last hurdle which will probably haunt me a bit but yes it was very solid.”
Ama Pipi (Enfield and Haringey, Linford Christie) and Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Beagles, Victoria Ohuruogu) were up in the women’s 400m semi-finals. Unfortunately, with both ladies finishing in 4th spot, it was not enough on the night to gain the auto Q or a fastest loser spots. Keeping her head held high, Pipi said:
“Technically, execution wise, I just don’t think I got out hard enough. So, I had a kick towards the end but it just wasn’t enough to make a world final. So, it is a bittersweet one because I really wanted to make a final.
“I have run 50 seconds this year, so I need more of those in my legs to push myself to the next level. I have grown a lot over the last few years. That was my best semi-final run at any championships, and it is fairly close to one of my fastest times, so I am getting better.”
Cindy Sember (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) opened her competition on day four in the women’s 100m hurdles heats. Having struggled this season to match her times of last year, Cindy stormed to a season’s best of 12.83 to take fourth place in her heat and secure that automatic qualification to the next round:
“The goal is always to qualify and you know I did that, I had a bit of nerves and I’ve had some niggles this year so I am just happy to make it and I am looking forward to the semi. It’s been a little bit of a late start to the year, and so I was a little bit behind, but now I have that confidence knowing I can still hurdle, now I know I can really take it into the semi-final.”
At his first World Championships Tade Ojora was up in the men’s 110m hurdles. After comfortably winning his heat, the semi-final was a messy race with Ojora unfortunately hitting some of the hurdles, finishing in 5th spot in a time of 13.43 outside of qualification.
Qualification was smooth sailing for the 800m representatives of Max Burgin (Halifax Harriers) (1:45.43), Daniel Rowden (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies, Jon Bigg) (1:45.67) and Ben Pattison (Basingstoke & Midhants, Dave Ragan) (1:46.57) who all finished in the top three in their respective heats to secure their automatic qualification into the semi-finals.