16th August 2016

Doyle Through To Semi Final

16 August 2016

On the fourth evening at the Olympic Games athletics programme a polished run by Eilidh Doyle (coach: Malcolm Arnold) saw her win her 400m hurdles heat with ease to advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals, with Andrew Pozzi (Arnold) and Lawrence Clarke (Samba-Koundy Giscard) also progressing in the sprint hurdles.

Running from lane six Doyle ran hard through the first 300m, holding her stride pattern to build up a decent lead, allowing her to take her foot off the gas and coast home as a clear winner in 55.46.

“It was alright – a good solid performance. I was quite nervous tonight, I have to admit, quite unusually so. I always get nervous but I felt quite anxious tonight. Seeing everyone in the village I just wanted to get started.

“I’m relieved to have got through that round safely and can go back and just relax and prepare for tomorrow. It’s nice to get things out of the way. It’s difficult because you are trying to conserve as much energy as possible but also get your strides in so it’s difficult, not easy in the 400 hurdles.

“Everyone is just buzzing now. You only need to see that this morning when Sophie won her medal. Obviously you are used to seeing Jess, Mo and Greg win theirs, but when someone like Sophie who perhaps would not have been expected to, wins a medal, you can see how much it means to her. It’s great for the team and we’re all hoping we can go out there and perform too.”

Britain’s male sprint hurdlers also made a safe passage into the semi-finals despite torrential rain inside the Rio Olympic stadium delaying proceedings.

Up first was Pozzi and he qualified second in 13.50 (+1.4m/s). It wasn’t all plain sailing though as running from the outside lane he clipped hurdle eight and clattered the hurdle, but thankfully he and winner Dimtri Bascou were far enough in front that it didn’t affect the result.

“I managed to qualify in second so its job done, but it was a messy race at the end. I felt pretty good until then and felt I was in contention, and then I just made stupid little mistakes, which you can’t afford to make at the Olympic Games. Thankfully, I kind of lived to tell the tale, but it is not something I will be repeating tomorrow. The eighth hurdle I clipped a little bit and then ploughed into the ninth hard; I then recovered a bit and drove as hard as I could to the line to make sure that I qualified.”

Lawrence Clarke went in the final heat knowing a top four spot would see him through automatically, and a clean run saw him do exactly that. A clear third in 13.55 (-0.2), the Briton will have eyes on a place in the final, where he finished fourth four years ago.

“It was good – I got out remarkably well but I didn’t want to take any risks. I had the same thing in London knowing I had to keep it clean and the false start in the race before me just reminds you that you can’t make mistakes. I’m into the Olympic semi-final now and anything can happen. Last time I made it through as a fastest loser so tomorrow night I’m coming back with my game face on and it’s a do or die race.”

Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) unfortunately finished down in fifteenth place in her discus qualifying pool with a best throw of 54.06m. Struggling in the wet conditions, the Briton was unable to find her best form, finishing some six metres short of the mark needed to advance to the final.

“I don’t know what to say really as obviously physically I’m in good shape. I didn’t like the circle and that clearly showed. I don’t know what to say – I can’t perform in a wet circle, it’s clear, and I have struggled with wet circles in the past, but I thought I’d made some good tactical choices. I have made steps forward in training and in some other competitions I have made steps forward, but today I just didn’t like the circle.

“I had five pairs of shoes with me and none of them did the job. So I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I’ve done physically everything I can and I’m in great shape. I don’t know where else to go.”