Catch up with all of the action from the final day at the World Championships in Budapest
It was a long wait for Olympic and World silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson (Leigh Harriers, Trevor Painter) with the highly competitive women’s 800m one of the final events of the championships. Facing Commonwealth Champion Mary Moraa and World Champion Athing Mu, it was going to be a tough race for Hodgkinson who qualified second fastest for the final.
A lightning start, Keely slotted in behind Mu at the break with teammate Jemma Reekie for company. Once the pace increased at the bell, the Leigh athlete remained composed as Moraa and Mu made their break. Racing several 400m races this season, Keely’s top speed was put to the test, moving through the field into third place with 100m to go. With athletes of this calibre, it was all down to who had the sprint finish. As Mu began to fade, Hodgkinson and Moraa were in a battle for top spot, with the Kenyan just beating her to the line to take the title, giving Keely a stunning silver medal (1:56.34). A courageous race, and with Paris just around the corner, another major medal puts Keely Hodgkinson in a fantastic position entering the winter. After the race, Keely said:
“To be consistently up with the best in the world is all I want from my career. [It is] another podium, another medal so that is definitely a positive, but I did think I was going to come through on the inside. The line just came quicker than I thought it would.
“I gave it my all, like I always do. I don’t think I put a foot wrong – I’ll have to go watch it back again – but consistency. Another silver – it’s not bronze, it’s not gold – we’re still on the podium.”
The final British athlete to take to the field was Morgan Lake (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow, Robbie Grabarz) in the women’s high jump final. After a nervous start in the qualification round, Lake settled into the competition and looked ready for the final. Opening her competition at 1.85m, Morgan had a comfortable clearance, progressing to 1.90m which she also successfully negotiated first time.
With the bar rising to 1.94m, Morgan Lake showed her experience in competing at this level and despite the pressure of a world final, managed to clear this height on her third attempt to take her to 1.97m. Again, succeeding on the third attempt, Morgan cleared to equal to her outdoor personal best. Sitting in fourth place and teetering on the medals, it was a tense conclusion to the competition with Lake unable to clear the next height of 1.99m, seeing her bow out in a respectable fourth place. With her best World Champs finishing position, Morgan Lake can leave Budapest with her head held high looking ahead to the Olympic year:
“It is a bittersweet moment right now, but I think in a few weeks’ time I will look back at this moment and be really proud of this. Fourth in the world is something I am very happy with. I was so close to a medal which stings a bit. But I am so grateful with how the season has panned out.”
As with most championships, the relays provided the perfect conclusion to a fantastic week of competition. First up was the men’s 4x400m quartet of Alex Haydock-Wilson (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow, Benke Blomkvist), Charlie Dobson (Colchester, Benke Blomkvist), Lewis Davey (Newham & Essex Beagles, Trevor Painter) and Rio Mitcham (Birchfield, Leon Baptiste). Leading off the men was Haydock-Wilson, the individual bronze medallist from last year’s European Championships. He ran a superb leg, confidently passing the baton on to Charlie Dobson in second place behind the fantastic American team.
Continuing the fantastic run, Dobson kept the pace and handed over to third leg Davey in second place. With an incredible surge from the French team Davey managed to stick with them keeping Britain in medal contention for the final 400m lap. Medalling earlier this week, Rio Mitcham knew what needed to be done and despite the chase from the Jamaican team managed to cross the line in third, securing the bronze for GB (2:58.71). Reflecting on the race, Alex Haydock-Wilson said:
“We come out here and we know that these are the worlds best. In fact it wasn’t long ago that all of us were just watching them on TV thinking ‘man, where would I be in a race like that?’ – and here we are on the podium in a race like that.”
The women’s quartet of Laviai Nielsen (Enfield & Haringey, Phillip Unfried), Amber Anning (Brighton & Hove, Chris Johnson), Ama Pipi (Enfield & Haringey, Linford Christie) and Nicole Yeargin (Pitreavie, Boogie Johnson) closed the championships with their 4x400m relay. After a fantastic result for the men’s team, the women demonstrated their position on the world stage taking home their own set of bronze medals!
A fabulous first leg from relay superstar Laviai Nielsen set up the team perfectly, handing over to the World Championships debutant, Amber Anning. Contesting with a fast Jamaican team, Anning managed to hold on to pass to Pipi in second place with the Dutch team behind in third. With Femke Bol taking the last leg for the Netherlands, Nicole Yeargin tried to stick with her and the Jamaican team as they advanced, crossing the line in the bronze medal position. Speaking after the race, Amber Anning said:
“I knew the second leg was going to be the strongest. I wanted to go out there and run similar to how I did in the heats. I wanted to get us in a good position and help Nicole and Ama. It was fun. Watching the boys get the bronze gave me so much energy. I knew we could do it and I am just so proud of the girls who brought it home.”
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:
- Gold (2): Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Women’s Heptathlon, Josh Kerr – Men’s 1500m
- Silver (3): Mixed 4x400m Relay, Matthew Hudson-Smith – Men’s 400m, Keely Hodgkinson – Women’s 800m
- Bronze (5): Zharnel Hughes – Men’s 100m, Ben Pattison – Men’s 800m, Women’s 4x100m relay, Men’s 4x400m Relay, Women’s 4x400m Relay
Images by Getty/World Athletics