15th August 2009


14 August 2009

The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team made a positive start to the first morning of competition at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

Top of the morning’s action involved a superb start to the heptathlon by Jessica Ennis (Sheffield), whilst there was also good news in the women’s 400m, the men’s shot, and the men’s 100m.

Jessica Ennis (Sheffield) made it a perfect start for the team by winning the first of the 100m hurdles heats in the heptathlon; her 12.93 earning a whopping 1135 points and continuing to demonstrate her considerable talent as a hurdler. Then, just two heats later, Louise Hazel (Birchfield Harriers) also finished first and set a season’s best of 13.60 for 1036 points.

Onto the high jump and Ennis entered the competition at 1.74m – the last of the multi-eventers to do so, a first time clearance boosting her confidence having waited for the bar to rise to her entry height for three quarters of an hour. Passing at 1.77m, she cleared 1.80m, 1.83m, 1.86m, 1.89m at the first attempt. She then cleared 1.92m at her second effort and although she had three close attempts at equaling her share in the UK record of 1.95m, she left the high jump with an additional 1132 points taking her to 2267 and first place after two events.

In second place, USA’s Sharon Day also had a strong high jump, shadowing Ennis most of the way and finished her morning 181 points behind with a total of 2086.

In the other pool, Louise Hazel performed well as she worked her way through 1.59m, 1.62m, 1.65m and 1.68m before a second time clearance at a PB of 1.71m before failing to clear 1.74m. It gifted the Birchfield Harrier 867 points for a total of 1903 and 18th position at the end of the first session.

The defending World Gold and Silver 400m medalists from Osaka, Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex) and Nicola Sanders (Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) took to the track for the opening round of their quest to once again climb the one-lap podium.

Ohuruogu, ironically drawn in the same heat as USA rival Sanya Richards, was first of the pair to take to the track, and despite her trademark slow start, powered around the top bend to ease home in second behind Richards. Her time of 51.30 to Richards’ 51.06 irrelevant with both athletes easing up down the home straight.

Sanders, enjoying a solid season so far, looked equally strong in her heat taking second place with 51.64 and qualifying for the second round automatically.

She said: “I felt good but I had to try hard because I did not know how everyone was running and I wanted to make sure I was in the next round. I want to make the final and then we will see, maybe I can surprise everyone like in 2007.”

Earlier that morning, the GB and NI sprint trio of Dwain Chambers (Belgrave), Tyrone Edgar (Newham & Essex)and Simeon Williamson (Highgate) took to the track in the first round of the 100m. With the top three guaranteed through in each heat, all progressed automatically to Saturday evening’s second round.

Chambers was up first in heat four and strode away to win in a solid 10.18, ahead of Nigerian Olusoji Fasuba.

Several heats later and Williamson took to the royal blue track. In a close race, he took second in 10.34 behind Andrew Hinds of the Bahamas in 10.30.

In the 10th of 12 heats in a marathon session, Edgar looked impressive following a strong start. He coasted through and eased up at the line for second in 10.42 behind Trinidad’s Richard Thompson.

Carl Myerscough (Blackpool) made it through to Saturday evening’s shot put final with a best throw of 20.17m from qualifying pool B. It ranked the ‘Blackpool tower’ in 10th position from the 12 qualifiers, but he was pleased with his morning’s progress:

“I’m delighted to be getting through to the final.  That was my aim and it is all going according to plan. I warmed up well and I was first up to throw so it was good to get a big one out on my first attempt.”

Poland’s Tomasz Majewski led qualifying with a 21.19m throw.

Unfortunately, not all GB athletes made progress. Helen Clitheroe (Preston) struggled in the women’s 3000m steeplechase heat against a high quality field. With six athletes finishing inside her life time best in the first heat alone it was always going to take something special for Clitheroe to make an impact.

Finishing ninth in the second heat in 9.41.71, after falling off the pace midway, the UK record holder could not progress and she was massively disappointed with her World Championship campaign:

“Obviously I’m devastated, but I’ve got no excuse, I’m really disappointed I was hoping I could just stay up with the leading pack,” she said.

“But I just couldn’t stay with them – I knew it was going to be a tough qualification – I was seventh according to season best and PB going into it so I knew I would have to run a really great race to be in the top four. It was really hot out there, warmer than I expected.”