20th August 2009

Rutherford Record In Berlin


20 August 2009

On Thursday Night in the Olympiastadion at the World Championships in Berlin, the Aviva GB and NI team had plenty to cheer about with a UK record and athletes featuring impressively in the 110m hurdles final, the men’s long jump qualifying, the women’s 200m semi finals and the men’s 5000m heats.

In the men’s 110m hurdles, William Sharman (Belgrave Harriers) as GB’s last remaining representative sprung a surprise by not only making the final but finishing in fourth position with a lifetime best of 13.30.

In the semi final Sharman shocked a world class field by getting the best possible start and powering away for a lifetime best and superb win in 13.38. It gave a sure-fire hint of just what was to come later in the evening.

And with an equally impressive start in the final he held his form well across the ten flights to dip for fourth place, demonstrating true championship pedigree.

“It dawned on me after the semi final and I thought ‘ok’ I pranced about a bit in that race and I won my heat. There was only three heats and I won mine so looking at the statistics I’m in with a chance here,” he said.

“The guy that’s out here helping me – Malcolm Arnold –  is very experienced, he calmed me down after my semi final and said to calm it so I could come up again for the final so that I was on a high when the gun goes and not now.

“It made me rational – I had rational expectations. And to do that I was thinking about me, not where I could come or what time the others would run. I was thinking run about that same race – just run.

“I never put nerves or pressure on myself – I love what I do and it gives me a buzz, it gives me a bigger buzz seeing athletes like Usain Bolt out there as though he’s in a night club while he’s on the start line. As long as you are tuned in with a clear head when the starter says set that’s fine. We don’t dance when the starter says set – we’re focused!

“I’m a family man – can’t wait to get home, give my son Joshua a big hug and his mum a big kiss.”

Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes) had a superb long jump qualification where he not only flew past the 8.15m automatic qualification standard, but landed in the pit as the new UK record holder with a massive 8.30m. It ranked Rutherford second only to American Dwight Phillips who soared out to 8.44m.

It was a brilliant comeback for the European Silver medalist who was hugely disappointed with his form in last year’s Olympic final – and his opening jump demonstrated the work he has undertaken with his coach Frank Attoh.

“There is more in the tank, I can jump further than that,” said Rutherford. “I’m confident now – this is the biggest boost I ever had.

“This is exactly what I set my sights on in 2005 when I set the national junior record – again I knew there was more in me.

“Last year when I went to the Olympics I was full of confidence after the first round jump. But I realised when I got to the final I was emotionally spent. I know how to deal with it now – come through it and do the right thing.”

Chris Tomlinson (Newham & Essex) had a strong start with 8.06m in the first round, not as far as he would have hoped, but a good opener in his quest to make the final after disappointment in Osaka. He then leapt 8.02m and 8.00m, and finished in ninth position out of the two pools and meaning that both go through to Saturday evening’s final with high hopes of being able to deliver more.

“I’m pleased to get through to the final. It’s all about booking your place there and now I’m in the big event,” Tomlinson said.

“I’ve jumped nine competitions over eight metres, banging them out week in, week out. I’ve shown that I’m one of the top ten best jumpers in the world – I’ve proven that today. Now it’s a case of really gambling and trying to make it up there.”

In the women’s 200m semi finals Emily Freeman (Wakefield) gave it her all in making sure she put herself in the best possible position to make Friday night’s final.  Finishing third in her heat with 22.64 she achieved a superb PB but also inherited a nervous wait.

With two automatic places from each of the three races and two further spots, Freeman watched on but pleasingly saw the two remaining races fail to dethrone her from that extra qualifying space and she will line up tomorrow in a world class field.

“I’m pleased with the PB, I was hoping it would be good enough to get through to the final,” she said. “I’ll really grasp the opportunity; I can’t wait to race again.

“That was so nerve wracking. I had nothing to lose I just went for it. I feel like there’s more to come too.”

Mo Farah (Newham & Essex) qualified comfortably for the men’s 5000m final with 13:19.94 in a heat won by the 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele. Farah, who worked his way slowly through the pack during the race, moved the pace on with about 300m to go before the traditional home straight sprint. Finding space on the inside he made sure of qualification in what was the fastest of the two semi finals.

“I’m happy with my race,” he said. “Last year I was really disappointed not to make the final – but anything can happen in the final. The stadium was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything else apart from the cheering and cheering. I was confident.”

Earlier on Thursday afternoon Zoe Dereham (Birchfield Harriers) took to the field in an attempt to qualify for Saturday’s hammer throw final.

But she struggled to demonstrate anything near her best form when her first throw landed outside the throws area and her second attempt clattered into the cage, leaving Derham precariously balanced on the abyss of a having no mark registered against her name.

But with her third, the hammer once again failed to clear the cage, leaving Derham down and out in a competition where she would have needed to throw in excess of 70.01m to qualify further.

Despite this she was philosophical about the outcome:

“You’ve got to go for it and I went for it and it just didn’t happen,” she said. “I felt alright – I wasn’t nervous so it was just bits of my final technique and the bleeding cage got in the way.

“I wasn’t catching my delivery at the end – I was overcooking it a bit but with only three throws you can’t afford to go easy or play it safe, you have to go straight for it so that’s what I did and it didn’t pay off but I gave it a go.

“To qualify it would have been a big PB for me anyway so I was looking for what I could do myself. Throwing has been going well, and it wasn’t bad I just wasn’t releasing early enough – I was holding on a bit too long. A millisecond earlier and it would be out the cage. I felt good across the circle so it was just one of those things. It happens, and it happened today unfortunately.”