Dobriskey defies doctor's advice to progress in 1500m


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The Independent Online

Lisa Dobriskey will run in tomorrow night's 1500m final to cap a remarkable recovery from a career-threatening illness diagnosed just months ago, and she will be joined by British team-mate Laura Weightman, who squeezed through as 12th qualifier of 13 following a photo-finish.

Earlier this year, Dobriskey was discovered to have blood clots on the lungs after she complained of having difficulty breathing during training. She was told to take a complete rest from sport for six months, but sought a second opinion and was cleared to run again. Last night she timed her late run to perfection to snatch fourth place in the first semi-final in 4min 3.05sec and raise hopes of improving on her fourth place in Beijing. "The specialist looked me in the eye and said I should give up," Dobriskey said.

Weightman is coached by Steve Cram and has been mentored by Dame Kelly Holmes on the road to London. The 21-year-old showed last night why she is so highly thought of by finishing quickly and intelligently. She was only seventh in the quicker second semi-final but a lunge on the line took her ahead of Lucia Klocova of Slovakia – they were given the same time of 4:02.99 – and into her first major final. "I dipped on the line, I knew it was close," said Weightman. "With 100m to go I saw the girl ahead of me and thought, 'I've got to catch you'. It's unbelievable. It's a dream to be at the Olympics. PB, Olympic final. What more can I say?"

It left Hannah England as the only one of the British trio not to progress. It was a particularly disappointing run for England, silver medallist at last year's World Championships. The 25-year-old, who has been troubled by an Achilles problem, could finish only ninth in the first semi-final, her time of 4min 06.35sec more than two seconds slower than her season's best.

It was encouraging day for the next generation of Britain's athletes. Sophie Hitchon, a 21-year-old ballet enthusiast, bettered her own British record with 71.98m to make tomorrow's hammer final with her last throw. "I was just proud to be on the team and to come here at a morning session, with a full crowd and throw a PB and a British record, it was amazing," she said.

Lynsey Sharp, went some way to justifying her selection by making it to tonight's semi-finals. She finished second behind the defending champion, Pamela Jelimo.

Steve Lewis qualified for tomorrow's pole vault final, but Daniel Awde withdrew from the decathlon after two events with a knee injury. After four events the US favourite Ashton Eaton leads by 161 points from his compatriot Trey Hardee.