Tag Archives: Shara Proctor

Top 10 moments of Berlin 2018

Pure Dina-mite

Dina Asher-Smith’s scintillating sprint speed and beaming smile lit up the championships. The 22-year-old was untouchable in Berlin with world-leading marks and British records at 100m and 200m before anchoring the GB 4x100m team to gold on the final night to seal a hat-trick of titles.

Asher-Smith is a joy to watch and at the height of her powers. Or is she? For perhaps Doha 2019 and Tokyo 2020 will see her deliver even greater results.

Inge-brilliant

If winning the 1500m aged 17 wasn’t amazing enough, Jakob Ingebrigtsen completed a phenomenal double by taking 5000m gold in emphatic style 24 hours later.

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 17, beats brother to complete golden double at European Athletics Championships. Photo: Getty Images

He’s not even old enough to drive a car or buy a beer in his native Norway but in Berlin he breezed away from his rivals in both races and even had the confidence to high-five his brother, Henrik, part-way through the 5000m.

Prodigious pole vaulting

This was a championships where two youngsters redefined what is possible as a teenager in athletics. After Ingebrigtsen’s double gold, Armand Duplantis, who is 10 months older than the Norwegian and a mere 18 years old, first cleared a world under-20 record of 6.00m and then sailed over 6.05m to stun a German crowd that notably appreciated track and field events in equal measure.

Celebrating in style

Nothing helps boost the atmosphere at an athletics event more than host nation success. So when German javelin throwers Thomas Rohler and Andreas Hofmann finished one-two in the men’s javelin, the crowd was guaranteed to go crazy.

Rohler celebrated by leaping into the steeplechase water before delivering one of the quotes of the championships. “We have so many strong throwers because we share knowledge,” he said, “we put our heads together, the secret is not to have secrets.”

Marathon drama

Berlin is famed for its super-fast marathon in September, but the European Championship women’s race last weekend was full of drama when winner Volha Mazuronak first suffered a gory, mid-race nose bleed before later almost veering off in the wrong direction when going toe to toe with Clémence Calvin in the closing stages.

Volha Mazuronak won the women’s marathon at the European Championship in Berlin

Clash of the titans

The head-to-head of the championships, for me, came in the heptathlon. Many felt Nafi Thiam, the Olympic and world champion, would be a class apart, but it was closer than most imagined as Katarina Johnson-Thompson put up a terrific fight.

Even when needing a seemingly impossible 14-second victory over the Belgian in the climactic 800m, Johnson-Thompson ran with bold, front-running tactics as she sent out a strong message ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Doha next year.

Long jump battle

Malaika Mihambo delighted her home crowd by taking women’s long jump gold but the event featured a tremendous scrap for medals with Maryna Bekh of Ukraine and Shara Proctor and Jazmin Sawyers of Britain producing their biggest marks in a dramatic final round.

Malaika Mihambo delighted her home crowd by taking women’s long jump gold. Photo: Getty Images

Sawyers was the unlucky athlete to miss out on a podium place but won a gold medal for sportsmanship by going up to Bekh to congratulate her only seconds after the Ukrainian had nudged her out of a medal position.

Thrills and spills

There was another good-natured moment in the women’s 800m rounds when Renee Eykens of Belgium fell dramatically in the closing stages of her race only to be consoled and helped up by the winner, Nataliya Pryshchepa. The Ukrainian was rewarded for her sportsmanship, too, as she went on to win gold in the final.

Hudson-Smith’s superb semi-final

British 400m runner Matt Hudson-Smith was an emphatic winner in the one-lap final but rich potential was probably more evident in the semi-finals when he looked phenomenally easy coasting home in 44.76. If he maintains this form, surely it’s only a matter of time before he breaks Thomas Schonlebe’s European record of 44.33 and Iwan Thomas’s UK best of 44.36.

Berlin erupts at steeplechase victory

When Gesa Krause accelerated into the final water jump in the 3000m ’chase in the final session on Sunday, her home crowd went crazy. The 26-year-old produced a brilliant climax to the championships for the hosts as she stormed past Fabienne Schlumpf of Switzerland to take the title. Germany enjoyed a great week, too, with six golds and 17 medals but Krause was the nation’s only track winner.

Five areas for improvement

It was a brilliant championship but not perfect and here are some parts that could have been improved.

» Some of the timetabling was bizarre, such as scheduling the women’s 400m final on the same evening as the women’s 4x400m final.

» Making some athletes compete in an extra round was unfair and, at times, pointless. The qualifying round of the men’s 110m hurdles, for example, saw just three out of sixteen athletes eliminated.

» The European Championships is a superb event when it does not have to compete with the Olympic Games. But it lost its lustre in 2016 and the same will happen in 2020 when the main goal for athletes will be Tokyo. In a crowded calendar, once every four years is surely best.

» It looks faintly ridiculous to see the “I run clean” anti-doping logo on the chest of throwers, jumpers and especially race walkers. Is it really too hard to put “I jump/throw/walk clean” on the bib numbers instead?

» The creators of ‘Dynamic New Athletics’ probably thought they’d picked a great moment to launch their idea by announcing it during the European Championships but many were left non-plussed by the concept (which includes an assault course-style race with sled and parachute pulling) especially when the (traditional) track and field in Berlin was so entertaining anyway.

Source: athleticsweekly.com

Muir Strengthens Her Lead atop the Diamond League Standings With Season’s Best In Lausanne

Laura Muir (club: Dundee Hawkhill, coach: Andy Young) was the standout British performer as she claimed second place in a season’s best in a highly competitive women’s 1500m in Lausanne.

Muir ran a smart race and kicked with 250 metres to go, leaving a trail of four runners in her wake, only to be caught by Shelby Houlihan (USA) in the closing stages, who set a new meeting record and personal best of 3:57.34.

Muir held off the challenge of the rapidly advancing Sifan Hassan (NED) to clock 3:58.18 and earn herself seven Diamond League points in the process to maintain her lead at the top of the women’s 1500m standings.

After the race, Muir said: “I knew it was going to be a fast race that the girls had asked for. I was happy to sit in on the first half, work hard and use my strength in the second half.  I felt a lot better than I did in the race a couple of weeks ago so it’s a step in the right direction.

“I could see Tsegay was tiring so I thought I had to go at that stage and not leave it to a sprint finish. I just wanted to run as far as I could. I nearly got the win so I’m really pleased with that.”

Fellow Brits Laura Weightman (Steve Cram, Morpeth) and Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill, Liz Nuttall) recorded season’s bests of 4:01.76 and 4:01.98 respectively to take the final two spots in the points.

Commonwealth Games medallist Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark, Poole AC) could not make her way into the points, finishing tenth in 4:06.27.

In the field, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider, Birchfield Harriers) was the best of the Brits in the women’s long jump, claiming four Diamond League points with a best of 6.62m (wind: 2.0m/s). Malaika Mihambo (GER) saved her best jump until last as she matched Ivana Spanovic (SRB) with a mark of 6.90m (1.3m/s), taking victory via countback.

Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson, Thames Valley Harriers) could not replicate her world leading mark of 7.05m set at the Muller British Athletics Championships, finishing seventh with a best effort of 6.48m (-0.1m/s) set in the third round.

Proctor assessed: “It was OK.  I was consistent but not as good as some days.  I have a number of things to work on but I have two weeks before London.  I’m excited to be going back for more training and some technical work.  I made some mistakes tonight and I will fix them for next time.”

Following her jumps, world lead Ugen added: “I was a little bit flat after all the stress I put my body through last weekend, getting the PB. It was hard getting my body going again and jumping that far. I probably need to get back into training and to have a cool down before I get back up again. It was a good competition and I had fun out there, hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back on top form.”

Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon, Edinburgh AC) clocked a new season’s best of 2:01.22, as she claimed one point in a fast women’s 800m, won by Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) in 1:57.80.

Jack Green (June Pews, Kent) made the most of being promoted from the B-race into the Diamond League race by clocking 49.52. Abderrahman Samba (QAT) won the race in 47.42 – his seventh victory on the circuit this season.

Green added: “They’re fast boys!  This event has really stepped up so it’s about time I did as well.  I have lots of work to do.  It’s hard to race here just after the trials but if you’re seeking excellence, this is the kind of thing you need to be able to do and get better at.  This is a very long year, starting with the Commonwealths. I’m still holding on, just.

“Samba is impressive, being able to put together races back to back, 46 seconds one week, then 47. He is consistently there all the time, he’s obviously put the work in. But it is not just that because he’s executing races, whatever the conditions – which in 400m hurdles is really hard to do. I’m looking forward to being in more races with him and hopefully watching him against Benjamin next year.”

Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman, Croydon) took victory in the men’s 400m B-race in 46.16, a shade outside his season’s best, with Owen Smith (Matt Elias, Cardiff) third in 46.90.

Marcel Hug (SUI) claimed a closely fought men’s wheelchair 1500m in a tight finish in 3:19.87 with Great Britain’s Richard Chiassaro (Jennifer Banks, Harlow AC) fourth in 3:20.75.

Niall Flannery (Matt Elias, Gateshead Harriers) came home fourth in the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.57, behind Luke Campbell (GER) who clocked 49.54 to take victory, with Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix) producing a good run to finish fourth in women’s 200m in 22.85, a race won by Gabrielle Thomas (USA) in 22.47.

britishathletics.org.uk