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ofili and porter in hurdles final

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17 August 2016


Sisters’ Cindy Ofili (coach: James Henry) and Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider) both reached the women’s 100m hurdles final, the former narrowly missing out on a medal with older sibling Tiffany, crossing the line in seventh, on an encouraging day for the British team.

Ofili was in blistering form in her semi-final earlier in the programme, placing inside the top two to automatically qualify for the final later in the schedule. Porter meanwhile, faced an anxious wait to see if she would join her sister and compatriot after finishing fourth in heat one, but her time was enough to squeeze in as a fastest loser.

So they returned short of 11pm local time against a formidable American trio but the race was expected to be an unpredictable affair. Getting out of the blocks strongly, Ofili and Porter started well and were well in the mix over the first few hurdles. However, it was Ofili who was the stronger, in bronze medal contention over the final hurdles but a fast finishing Kristi Castlin made sure it was an American 1-2-3 on the podium, headed by Brianna Rollins. Ofili confirmed a breakthrough fourth place in the Olympic final in a time of 12.63 with Porter seventh in 12.76.

Ofili commented afterwards: “I did my best. I’m so happy to have my sister there. It’s a bit hard to process at the moment. But once I go home I think that I’ll be able to figure out what I just did. It was hard but I’m just happy at the same time.  

“I came fourth but I could have medalled. We both have our strengths in our races. She has a good start and I have a good finish. Working together on both has helped us get better.”

Porter added: “I’m just relieved, I’m glad it’s over, I’m really proud of myself, it’s been a really difficult year for me so be able to keep my composure in the final, I’m proud of myself for that but more importantly I’m really proud of how my sister handled herself today.

“It was a big relief – she and I are each other’s biggest competitors but at the same time each other’s biggest supporters so having her alongside me to experience this I think it’s a bit bitter sweet now but I think we’ll appreciate it a lot more in the years to come.”

Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) produced a performance well above her years to finish fifth in the 200m final, posting a time of 22.31 (-0.1) to show that she is one of the best sprinters in world athletics. After making the final by 0.01 seconds, Asher-Smith seized the opportunity in a fast race, matching her placing from the world final in 2015. Starting in lane two, she was in contention for the bronze medal coming into the home straight and maintained her composure to finish fifth, behind eventual winner, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica.

The 20 year-old said after: “I was quite happy with that considering my rounds didn’t go quite exactly as I hoped and my coach and I planned and I ended up getting into the race last in lane two which wasn’t a great start. But to have pulled a fifth back from there and have been mixing it until 30 to go, 40 to go, I was like really really happy.

“I’ll take that, obviously me being me I want to PB every time and run faster and faster but I don’t think anybody in that race ran a PB, it wasn’t like last year when everyone ran a PB so yes, I’ll take that.”

There were more athletes in finals action with Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) and Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) both competing in their first Olympic long jump final.

European and Commonwealth silver medallist Sawyers opened her series with a 6.55m jump, improving to 6.69m in round two. No improvement came in round three but she placed in the top eight so earned a further three jumps. She made a mark in round four, but it wasn’t an improvement and two more fouls followed so she finished up in eighth place.

Sawyers spoke about the experience, saying: “When you say it like that ‘eighth in my first Olympic final’, it’s good but I jumped 6.69m and I’m better than that and, yes, the goal was to get to the Olympics and then it was to make the final and then it was top eight and it didn't stop there. I stopped there and that’s why I’m disappointed.”

Ugen started with 6.56m in round one and a foul subsequently followed. However, she made a slight improvement to 6.58m in round three but this unfortunately did not put her in the top eight to progress to three more jumps. This meant the world indoor bronze medallist finished in 11th overall.

The men’s 200m semi-finals saw Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) book his spot in the final on Thursday evening. It was a composed run by the athletics team captain, finishing third in his heat in 20.08 (-0.3) behind the great Usain Bolt. He faced a long wait to see if he had progressed but he advanced as a fastest loser and will have a chance to go for an Olympic medal.

Gemili said: “It was a tough watch waiting for that last heat but I’m happy to have made the final. I thought I ran a good bend. I came off it level but then I started tightening up badly so those guys got into their running and I didn’t.

“But I’m through and like I said, I can rest up and recover and hopefully I can get myself in the mix because there were some big names that went out in that third semi-final, so I’m ok, I’m good.”

There was an excellent performance from Danny Talbot (Benke Blomkvist) who set a lifetime best in his semi-final, narrowly missing out on a place in the final. His 20.25 (-0.4) clocking saw him place third but he did not progress. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) posted the same time as Talbot to come fifth in the last semi-final but that was not enough to see him through.