16th August 2009

Latest From World Championships


16 August 2009

The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team enjoyed further qualifications on the second morning at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, whilst Jessica Ennis maintained her lead following the fifth event in the heptathlon.

Day two of the heptathlon opened with the long jump. Overnight leader Jessica Ennis (Sheffield) and GB teammate and 13th placed Louise Hazel (Birchfield Harriers) took to the field in the strong morning sun.

Ennis had jumps of 6.19m (0.0m/s) and 6.08m (0.9m/s) before finishing on a high with 6.29m (-0.8 m/s) and taking 940 points for a total of 5064 going into the evening’s final two events. Still maintaining her lead, she remains 269 points clear of second placed German Jennifer Oeser.

Hazel’s series of 6.13m (0.2m/s), 5.93m (1.4m/s), and 5.94m (-0.3 m/s) for 890 points gave her a total of 4392, in 12th position at the end of the second morning.

The morning session also marked the opening round of the women’s 800m; with the top three in each heat assured a place in Monday’s semi finals.

Jemma Simpson (Newquay) was first of the three GB and NI athletes to take to the track and looked commanding leading the field round much of the race, before easing over the line in second position in 2:03.33.

It looked so controlled that there was little hint of the difficulties she had faced mid race.

“My shoe came loose and almost came off,” she said. “It happened at about 400m – it‘s probably my fault for not tying it tight enough, but I’m through.  All I wanted to do was to be strong and to be confident in qualifying.”

Jenny Meadows (Wigan) followed soon after, holding a safe line through her race and also finishing second in 2:02.47.

“It all went pretty much to plan,” confirmed Meadows. “It would be good if one, two or three of us could get to the final! The British girls are competitive and we’re all desperate to get in those world level finals now.”

Finally it was the turn of Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) to tread the track, and she also made it through in an automatic qualifying position of third in 2:03.07. However, her race was not without drama with New Zealander Nikki Hamblin falling badly at 500m whilst running next to Okoro.

“Well I managed to stay on my feet. She was right next to me and I think she was trying to come round me but got caught from behind,” remarked Okoro soon after.

“I felt her arm (as she fell) because when you fall you try and grab onto something in front of you, but I thought – you’re not pulling me down with you.

“It was a bit messy that race, but I did what I had to do to get through. Job done – it’ll be a faster one tomorrow, like the ones I like!”

Finally, Goldie Sayers failed to repeat the form that saw her take fourth place in last year’s Olympic final when she struggled in the qualifying rounds for the women’s javelin final.

Her three throws of 56.44m, 58.58m and 58.98m left her languishing in ninth position and unlikely to progress to the final with a remaining pool of qualifying to take place.

It was a bitter disappointment for the Belgrave Harrier, who suffered a stress fracture in her back earlier in the summer and has made the world championships against expectation. But she refused to blame her injury woes from the season on her below par performance:

“I’ve just wasted two throws,” she said. “I slipped on the first round, wasted the second and then I had to play safe which you can’t do in qualifying.

“I’m experienced enough to know better. My build up was never going to be perfect but I got my back into good shape and that can’t be blamed. It is my own fault, I’m so disappointed.”

In the final of the Women’s 20k race walk British record holder Joanna Jackson’s (Redcar) campaign ended in disappointment when she was disqualified from the race after a positive start.

On the picturesque course, which started and finished at the famous Brandenburg Gate landmark in the heart of the city, Jackson had started well, maintaining a secure place in the middle of the pack in the beginning stages of the race and held 24th place at 5k.

The Middlesborough born athlete, who came into the race ranked 28th in the world this year following a 1:31.16 performance in Lugano, Switzerland in March, then managed to hold a good position towards the back of the leading group as they split but fell foul to the tough technical nature of race walking and the fine line between legal and illegal foot movement before she reached the 10k mark, subsequently incurring three penalties.

After the race Jackson said: “I was at the back of the leading group of about 30 athletes at the start. It wasn’t a quick pace and I felt good. Then from 6k to 8k I had a bad patch and I got the last card as I was coming up to 10k. I must have got two cards in one lap because I remember looking at the board and only seeing one. So it was all within 1k.

“The disqualification is really disappointing but it’s part of the event. It’s just one of those things. There have been a lot today. I think it could be the heat because it takes its toll on your legs which makes them not work as technically as they should. I was pushing myself and when you do that your technique suffers but that’s something that you have to do. I didn’t realise I lost contact.”