Athletics: Benjamin provides glimmer of hope in enveloping gloom

As the rain poured down once again last night, another clutch of aspiring medallists were washed away. First out was Nathan Douglas, third in this year's triple jump world rankings, who failed to reach today's final after managing just 16.53 metres, almost a metre down on his best.

The disconsolate 22-year-old was soon joined by 200m runners Christian Malcolm and Marlon Devonish, who departed at the semi-final stage but showed decent speed in making their exits from the stadium.

Devonish summed up the prevailing mood with just one word: "Rubbish".

The Olympic sprint gold medallist has a way with a phrase - he renamed Edmonton, the less-than-lively 2001 World Championships venue as "Dead-monton".

That event produced little in the way of reward for Britain, but the way things have gone this week, the newly installed performance director, Dave Collins, would happily settle for the gold and bronze provided on that occasion by Jonathan Edwards and Dean Macey respectively.

Britain looked to Tim Benjamin to provide a shaft of light in the gloom as he took part in 400m semi-finals conducted in another drenching downpour that must have made him feel he was back home in Cardiff.

"Come on, Tim," the British supporters cried. Where have we heard that before? And what does the Wimbledon echo say about the state of athletics?

Benjamin missed out on one of the two automatic qualifying spots by one hundredth of a second, recording 45.66, and faced a wait until the last semi to find out if he advanced to tomorrow's final as a fastest loser. He did.

"I am chuffed to bits to get to the final," he said "No other Brits have managed to reach a sprint final at the World Championships this year. I need a bit of luck because I'm probably in lane seven or eight now, but I ran well from lane seven when I beat the Olympic champion at Crystal Palace. I hope to get a medal - it's all much of a muchness in the final.

"I'm so cold I found it hard to concentrate tonight because it was raining so hard. It totally altered my race strategy because I couldn't see anyone else."

Kelly Sotherton, fifth in the weekend's heptathlon, but also performed with honour in last night's long jump, taking eighth place with an effort of 6.42m.

"I couldn't expect to do more from that, Sotherton said. "I was so tired I was just so pleased to make the final."

Douglas had entered the championships in apparently ideal shape, having recorded 17.64m at the trials and then won the London grand prix. Douglas arrived at trackside in a qualifying event that had been postponed from the previous evening ready to jump well. It's just that he didn't.

"I'm not sure why it happened," he said after his best effort of 16.53m left him three places outside the 12 who went through. "I don't think I felt under pressure. I wasn't feeling nervous. I'm heartbroken. I was sitting in the rain at the warm-up track afterwards with my hood up, just trying to work out what went wrong. You feel sometimes as if your whole world has collapsed. It felt like a nightmare."

Malcolm's demise was just as distressing given his encouraging early season form, including his European Cup win in 20.15sec. Although he had delayed his arrival here in order to have treatment on a pelvic injury, he insisted after a buoyant run in his opening heat on Tuesday that he was back to his best.

But his grim demeanour afterward he had finished seventh in a time of 21.09sec insisted otherwise. "I can't blame anything," he said. "I felt a bit tired in warm-up, but that's no excuse. I just ran poorly."

Devonish finished in the same place in his semi-final, recording 20.93 in a race won in 20.27 by Tyson Gay.

The women's 400m title went to Tonique Williams-Darling, who contributed tears of joy to the water nature had already provided on the track after a late surge took her past Sanya Richards of the United States in the final 20 metres. The Olympic champion won in 49.55sec, with Richards recording 49.74.

News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEpic YouTube video features boundary-pushing staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nuclear Project Planner: Sellafield Sites

£40000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Fuel Card, Healthcare + More: Progressive Rec...

M&E Construction Planning Manager: Surrey

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Car, Pension, Healthcare: Progressive Recruitment:...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Application Development

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Applicatio...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star