Personal best for Gemili
All four individual British athletes, as well as the Great Britain & Northern Ireland women’s 4x400m relay team, safely made it through their heats during the morning session of day seven at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
GB & NI’s three representatives in the men’s 200m all advanced to this afternoon’s semi-finals. Adam Gemili (coach: Michael Afilaka) was a clear winner of the sixth heat, smashing his previous personal best of 20.30 as he raced over half a second clear of his nearest rival to set a time of 20.17, the quickest of all seven heats and the fifth fastest time ever by a British man.
Gemili said: “I’m very pleased with how it went so I’ll take that forward to the semi-final and hopefully do well again. I was surprised, I was just looking forward to making the final. If I ran sub 20 at this meet I’d be over the moon but the final is my main aim. If the rest doesn’t go to plan then at least I’ve come away with a personal best.”
James Ellington (Rana Reider) also won his heat, running a time of 20.55 and beating four-time world medallist Wallace Spearmon of the USA in the process. Ellington was relieved to progress untroubled, he said: “I think today was just about getting rid of the cobwebs and making sure I didn’t run a silly race and get knocked out in the heats like I had before.”
Lining up alongside world record holder Usain Bolt, world junior champion Delano Williams (Neil Harrison) wasn’t fazed as he finished second to the Jamaican in a time of 20.72 to join his teammates in the semi-finals.
Williams said: “That was really really nice to run beside Usain Bolt, qualifying for the semi-finals. It was an easy run. After watching my teammates qualifying, I felt that spirit watching Gemili run 20.17. I didn’t try to beat him (Bolt) as he would have probably just turned it on, I was just taking it easy and doing my thing. It felt great hearing that crowd cheer me on.”
Tiffany Porter (Reider) got her 100m hurdles campaign off the perfect start as she won her heat in a swift 12.72 to easily qualify for tomorrow’s semi-final. Porter was pleased to have comfortably made it through her heat and was looking forward to seeing what she can do in the next rounds.
She said: “It was just a matter of working off the cobwebs and just focussing on running a clean race and qualifying, that’s the most important thing and I’m happy I was able to do that today. The main focus this whole season has been here, the World Championships, so hopefully I can put my races together and come out victorious.”
GB & NI’s women enjoyed a routine victory in the heats of the 4x400m relay. The team of Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), Shana Cox (George Williams), Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) and Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) led from start to finish and stopped the clock at 3:25.39.
Last leg runner Ohuruogu, who won individual 400m gold on Monday, said: “The girls did a superb job so I didn’t have to do much work. We always planned to turn up and deliver a good performance and we always do so it’s really great. They’re a brilliant team to work with – they’re a really strong team and I know that everyone is looking forward to this and we’re ready for tomorrow. We all want to do well for the team.”
Adeoye, who ran third leg, said: “I was happy with that, I really didn’t want to let the team down. It was my first run and I just wanted to try and stay in first place. Whatever I do I just wanted to try and give it to Christine in first place and that’s what I did so I am happy with that.”