World Championships: Christine Ohuruogu sets example as medals keep coming


Simon Turnbull
Sunday 18 August 2013 00:56

Following on from Mo Farah's flying finish in the 5,000m final on Friday, the British medals kept coming in the home straight of the Luzhniki Stadium on the penultimate day of the track and field World Championships. First Christine Ohuruogu, winner of the individual 400m crown on Monday, anchored the women's 4 x 400m relay team to bronze. Then Tiffany Porter – the 100m hurdler from Michigan with the British parents and the UK passport – took bronze in her final.

All of which, with one day to go, and possible medal shots in both the men's and women's 4 x 100m relays, leaves the British team with a haul of five medals: three golds (including Farah's prize from the 10,000m) and two bronzes. UK Athletics did not set a goal going into the event but that running total is just one short of UK Sport's target, and also one shy of the return from the home Olympics a year ago.

For the 4 x 4 girls, it was a mission accomplished despite the handicap of being minus the crocked Perri Shakes-Drayton. In the absence of the Londoner, back home on crutches after suffering a knee injury in the 400m hurdles final on Thursday, the GB quartet of Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye and Ohuruogu bagged bronze in ultimately comfortable fashion.

As Russia and the USA fought it out for gold, the Britons fleetingly dropped behind the French into fourth but once Ohuruogu grabbed the baton in third a podium finish looked in the bag. Thus it proved, as the British team captain held off Floria Guei of France by 1.80sec to secure third place in 3min 22.61sec.

"I'm really proud of the team," Ohuruogu said. "They're phenomenal athletes: Eilidh, with what she's run; Margaret, who stepped in at the last minute for Perri; and Shana, who always runs a good leg. I'm happier for them than I am for myself." Not that very many of the crowd in the stadium seemed even to notice the Brits clinching bronze. The majority were gripped by the red-hot battle for gold. As Antonia Krivoshapka dug deep to meet the challenge of the closing American Francina McCorory on the final leg, the crowd hit fever pitch as the Russians prevailed.

Still, there was further joy to come for Britain on the medal front – thanks to Porter. Following her transfer of allegiance from the USA, she was denied a medal when she hit a barrier in the 100m hurdles final at the 2011 World Championships.

Yesterday she made no mistake, taking bronze in 12.55sec – 0.01sec shy of Jess Ennis-Hill's GB record – behind the American Brianna Rollins (12.44) and Aussie Sally Pearson (12.50). "I'm just so happy to come out today with a PB and a medal for GB," said Porter. "I believed in myself and I'm proud to have won a medal."

James Dasaolu out, but Britons aim for relay record

Brace yourselves for two surprises on the final day of the track-and-field World Championships. Firstly, the Great Britain men's 4 x 100m relay team will not include the fastest British 100m runner of the summer – indeed, the second-fastest of all time. James Dasaolu, the only Briton in the individual 100m final last Sunday, has been excluded from the quartet because he has not been available for relay practice.

Secondly, according to Rana Reider, the former US coach of the year who has been enlisted to end the saga of British sprint-relay disasters (four cock-ups in the past five major championships), the chosen quartet will actually manage to get the baton round safely. Despite Dasaolu's absence, in Reider's estimation they are destined for a place on the podium – quite possibly in British record time.

We shall have to wait and see on that front. What is certain is that Dasaolu, eighth in the 100m final and a 9.91sec performer, will not be involved.

"The running order will be Adam Gemili to Harry Aikines-Aryeetey to James Ellington to Dwain Chambers," said Reider.

Might they even break the British record? "I think so," Reider replied.

Simon Turnbull

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