World Championships 2013: The dream dies as Perri Shakes-Drayton limps over the line in Moscow
British medal prospect injures knee on first bend to end hopes of challenging Zuzana Hejnova
the Luzhniki Stadium
Thursday 15 August 2013
Britain had dared to dream of a third gold medal in Moscow. This was billed as a showdown between Perri Shakes-Drayton and Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, the finale to the former's coming-of-age season.
In the end, from a British perspective, it ended with clattered hurdles and shattered dreams as Shakes-Drayton injured her left knee early in the race, struggled throughout and limped over the line.
Even had the Londoner managed to make it over all 10 hurdles cleanly and injury-free, she was never going to be a match for Hejnova, who won by over a second in a truly dominant display of exquisite hurdling technique.
It could not have been in starker contrast to Shakes-Drayton, who went in lane five with the fast-starting American Lashinda Demus inside her. Sally Gunnell had been the last British female to win the 400m hurdles world title, in Stuttgart 20 years ago, and beforehand had advised Shakes-Drayton to run her own race and not go off too fast.
In truth, she never had the chance. Over the first hurdle her knee "just felt funny". Whereas in the heats and semi-finals she had sailed through with ease to break her duck of qualifying for a first major global final, where a medal seemed to beckon, come the final she stumbled over the line in seventh.
"I'm gutted obviously," she said. "I was going so well. It felt so good but, in the race, it went wrong. Before I hit the hurdle, I felt it [her knee] and I lost control – I don't know what's wrong with it. It's not the way I would have liked to have finished. But tonight after the first bend, I was just going back and back and back. I don't really know what happened."
Despite the knee problem, on which she had an ultrasound scan in the bowels of the Luzhniki Stadium afterwards, she remained in contention, improving in the back straight and initially holding off the challenge of Demus. But at hurdle six, things again went awry with her rhythm and she hit the subsequent obstacle heavily. From there, she steadily went backwards, crossing the line three and a half seconds behind Hejnova.
Shakes-Drayton's race will have major ramifications for Britain's medal count. UK Sport has set a medal target of six at these Worlds. Another gold looks on the cards for Mo Farah in tomorrow night's 5,000m but, the women's 4x400m and men's 4x100m relays aside, it is difficult to see where the medals will come from. Even those relay ones are somewhat in doubt, particularly bearing in mind the sprint relay runners' penchant for dropping the baton.
Eilidh Child was the first Briton across the line in fifth place, just half a second off a medal, but was left knowing that a personal best would have been enough to get her on the podium. "If I'd run how I've been running then I would have got on that podium but that's just the way championships go," she said.
Hannah England came even closer to a medal in the 1500m final, ending her race in fourth place and unable to repeat her heroics two years ago in Daegu, where she came away with a silver medal. On times alone, a medal had not been an expectation, more a hope. But in a race awash with pushing and shoving throughout, she held the inside line and produced her trademark fast finish for a fourth place, a good second off a medal.
"It's hard to watch other girls get a lap of honour," she said afterwards with tears streaming down her cheeks. "It's obviously where I want to be. It's still good, it's a lot better than last year," a reference to the Achilles problem that effectively cost her the chance of an Olympic medal in London.
"I'm pleased coming fourth in the world – it's a very good achievement especially from what happened last year," she added. "I'll have to watch the race back and see whether I did as well as I could do. I felt like I got a clean run so I can't use that as an excuse at all. I didn't get bumped around. I think a long sleep and lots of cake and I'll feel a lot better tomorrow."
Moscow must-sees: Friday's highlights
6.45am BST Women's 100m hurdles heats (S Pearson, T Porter)
7.35am Men's 200m heats (J Ellington, A Gemili, D Williams, U Bolt)
8.30am Women's 4x400m relay (Great Britain & Northern Ireland)
4pm Women's hammer final
4.05pm Men's 1,500m semi-final (C O'Hare)
4.30pm Men's long-jump final (A Menkov)
4.40pm Men's 200m semi-finals
5.15pm Women's 800m semi-final (L Muir, M Okoro)
5.45pm Men's 5,000m final (M Farah)
6.15pm Women's 200m final
6.30pm Men's 4x400m final
Latest in Sport
Petr Cech demands talks over Chelsea future as Thibaut Courtois begs him to stay – as mentor
Angel Di Maria: Manchester United to push ahead with £50m move for Real Madrid winger
Marcos Rojo to Manchester United: Sporting Lisbon confirm deal with Nani heading back to Portugal on loan
Arsenal player ratings vs Besiktas
Besiktas vs Arsenal player ratings: Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers - who was the Gunners star man?
- 1 The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
- 4 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 5 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermeister and vodka
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - ASSET FINANCE - An outstanding...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...
£16 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...
£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...