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UK Athletics

Thrills and Spills in Daegu

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Harry Aikines Aryeetey


27 August 2011

On the first evening session at the World Championships there was no final action for the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team however there were plenty of thrills and spills to be had in the qualifying stages, including a devastating disqualification for Christine Ohuruogu in the women’s 400m.


However British supporters were cheered at the close of the day’s events with the progression of all three men’s 100m representatives:


In the first round of the much anticipated men’s 100m, Harry Aikines Aryeetey (Michael Khmel) opened successfully for the GB men with a second place in his heat in 10.28 and automatic semi-final qualification.


“It was cool into a very strong headwind and I was up there with one of the world’s best and I had one of the best starts of my life I think,” he said.


“Not only did I just execute my race, I was a bit overwhelmed that I was ahead of Walter Dix for the first 30m and I think because of that I rushed my transition. Christian made the speech in our team meeting about how this is our time to move forward and that really inspired me to go forward and do the best I can do.”


He was then followed by Marlon Devonish (Dan Pfaff) who was just pipped for third in his heat and forced to play the waiting game for fastest loser spots. However it later transpired that his 10.34 would see him through.


Devonish said:  “The middle phase was ok, but I could have come through harder at the end. I think it’s really hard to gauge the first race, it’s probably the most nervous race of the championships.


Dwain Chambers then had the challenge of racing Jamaican Usain Bolt in his heat, and despite a slow start out in lane eight powered through the field to finish second to the reigning World and Olympic champion in 10.28 – matching Aikines-Aryeetey’s performance.


“I was a bit jittery in lane 8 because you’re somewhat running blind, but I handled it really well and done enough to qualify. You’ve got to get used to being in situations like that with competitors of his (Bolt’s) calibre, I’ve raced him before two years ago and it’s great to be in his heat and hopefully I’m fortunate enough to get to the final with him.”


Leading performer from the opening round was Bolt with his 10.10 in Chambers’ heat.


Earlier on Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) suffered the cruel hand of disqualification following her false start in the heats of the 400m. The reigning Olympic Champion clearly broke from her blocks ahead of the pack and was dealt a red card by the official resulting in her removal from the track and the competition.


Ohuruogu, who has worked hard to return from an early season injury was devastated with her mistake:


“I don’t know (what happened), I false started. People false start all the time. I’ve just wasted all that hard work, it’s just wasted. Listen, I’m broken you can all see I’m broken,  there’s nothing else I can say.”


In the meantime there was better news for Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) and former World silver medallist Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) as they progressed to tomorrow’s semi finals. McConnell was third in her heat in 52.75 whilst Sanders progressed as a fastest loser with 52.65 for fifth place in her heat.


McConnell, who has had a superb season over the one lap offered words of comfort to her team-mate:


“We’ve all gone out of Championships in ways we didn’t want to do and this is another way for it to happen. But she’s strong, she’s a strong girl and I’m sure she’ll get over this and we’ll do what we can to help her. I don’t think there is anything you can say, just a bit of a hug and letting her know you’re there.”


Meanwhile Sanders was thankful of a second chance after what she felt was a poor performance:


“I should have been more confident in my own race. I don’t want to do anything different I just don’t want to get drawn into someone else’s race,” she said.


“I was disappointed when I finished but then someone told me I had qualified I was like ok. I am glad I have got a chance to redeem myself. “


Amantle Montsho of Botswana led qualifying with 50.95 to win the fourth heat ahead of McConnell.


Finally, in the women’s long jump qualifying Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) was disappointed to exit the competition with a best leap of 6.34m, having set a personal best of 6.81m earlier this season.


“It wasn’t what I was expecting. I got out there and I was feeling good. I fouled twice then jumped 6.34m. I just couldn’t get a good rhythm,” she said.


“I keep fouling and then it came to the last jump and I guessed I panicked. It wasn’t nerves at all I was too fast for the run up and I just kept fouling.”


Sunday’s action featuring Aviva GB & NI team members includes women’s pole vault qualifying with British record holder Holly Bleasdale (Julian Raffalli), the men’s 110m hurdles with European and Commonwealth Champion Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) and the women’s 1500m heats including World silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey (Ricky Soos).

UKA will provide daily news reports from the 2011 World Championships on www.uka.org.uk and quotes from Aviva GB & NI athletes as well as regular updates via twitter @uka_athletics and Facebook www.facebook.com/UKAofficial

For full results visit: http://daegu2011.iaaf.org/Home.aspx