A great championship for Great Britain
In his pre-championship briefing, GB Technical Director Stephen Maguire said that he had no medal target, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he was more than delighted with 10 medals. Only the USA (29) and Jamaica (12) had more medals than GB. To put it in context, countries of similar size to Britain – Italy 4, France 1 (a relay medal on the final evening) and Germany 0. Britain’s records in the past three World Championships were 7, 5, and 6 (with home advantage). By whatever criteria you judge, 10 medals is pretty good.
Katerina Johnson-Thompson Gold Heptathlon gave the team early momentum. She was a medal prospect without a doubt, but turning an expected medal into gold was just the start the team needed.
Katerina Johnson Thompson, photo by Kevin Morris
Josh Kerr already has an Olympic 1500m medal, so another medal could not be seen as a shock. Repeating Jake Wightman’s stunt to take Jakob Ingebrigtsen on the back straight and hold the Norwegian off to take the gold may have been. Not to the GB writers who had placed bets on him, though.
Josh Kerr, 2023 Budapest 1,500 world champion, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
Matthew Hudson-Smith’s silver in the 400 was somewhere between brilliant and disappointing! He struggles with an Achilles injury and shouldn’t be running, but he set a new European record in the semi-final and led the final, failing to hold on for gold by 0.09 seconds.
Matthew Hudson-Smith, GBR, 400m silver medalist, photo by Kevin Morris
Keely Hodgkinson beat Olympic and World Champion Athing Mu in the 800m but was 0.31 seconds behind Mary Moraa, who ran a PR – a silver for Keely but so close to gold.
Keely Hodgkinson, WC silver medalist, 800m, photo by Kevin Morris
Zharnel Hughes has had the season of his life, so his bronze in the 100m was no surprise.
Noah Lyles and Zharnel Hughes, 100m, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics
When Ben Pattison finished second in the GB championships this summer, he did not have the World Athletics qualifying standard for the World Championships. He got it, made the team, and ran himself to a bronze medal. I read his lovely quote: no one cares who is fourth, fifth, or sixth – so it was a medal or nothing!
Men’s 800m, Marco Arop, CAN, gold, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, KEN, silver, Ben Pattison, GBR, bronze, photo by Christian Petersen, Getty Images/World Athletics
Relays are always a target for GB with its relay program (see separate post), but to take silver in the Mixed 4x400m and bronze in the Women’s 4x100m relay, Men’s and Women’s 4x400m was a great return.
Ten medals is a great achievement, but it could have been more. There were a number of near misses or excellent performances which did not end in medals:
Zharnel Hughes fourth in the 200m
Morgan Lake fourth in the high jump
Men’s 4 by 100m relay team fourth by 0.04 seconds
Darryl Neita was fifth in the 200m with a second PR in the championships
Jemma Reekie ran 1:57.72 in the women’s 800 for fifth, yes, fifth
Molly Caudery fifth in the pole vault with a PR
Three athletes in the final of the women’s 1500 – sixth, eighth, and twelfth
There were some disappointments, too, like the 7-meter long jumper Jazmin Sawyers, failing to make the final. Dina Asher-Smith is gold and silver in the 2019 Worlds but seventh and eighth here.
Overall, it was a great team performance.