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Great Britain fall short of World Championships medal target

Great Britain fall short of World Championships medal target
© Reuters
Seven-to-nine estimate for World Championships proves out of reach.

Great Britain recorded their lowest medal total at the World Championships since 2005 after late relay drama.

The squad finished with five medals in Doha, including Dina Asher-Smith’s historic hat-trick haul, short of the seven-to-nine target.

It looked like being six when Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Jodie Williams and Laviai Nielsen were promoted to third in the women’s 4×400 metres relay on the final evening after Jamaica were disqualified for apparently lining up for a changeover wrongly.

However, the Jamaican quartet appealed against the decision and won – and although Great Britain then followed with an appeal against Jamaica’s reinstatement, they failed and subsequently missed out on a bronze medal.

— Team GB (@TeamGB) October 6, 2019

Asher-Smith won 200m gold, 100m silver and 4x100m relay silver while Katarina Johnson-Thompson took the heptathlon title and the men’s 4x100m squad claimed silver at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Despite Asher-Smith and Johnson-Thompson’s landmark victories, performance director Neil Black admitted improvement is needed after the lowest total since Helsinki 14 years ago.

He said: “There’s a lot to feel really, really good about. There’s a lot to feel really, really positive about. But the reality is the medal tally is not that which we would have wanted and expected.”

Black continued: “It could be better, it should be better. We’ll obviously be talking with UK Sport. Our relationship with UK Sport is really positive. It’s a working together, it’s reviewing, planning, what have we learnt, what are we going to do about it, how do we convert the nearlies into medals?”

The 4x400m men of Cameron Chalmers, Toby Harries, Rabah Yousif and Lee Thompson did not finish the final race of the Championships.

Harries failed to hand over the baton to Yousif in the second change with Harries ended up on the floor still holding it.

Harries said afterwards: “I lost a little bit of the lift with the baton and I didn’t quite place it correctly in his hand.”

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Ten – Khalifa International Stadium
There was frustration for Rabah Yousif (right) and Toby Harries (Martin Rickett/PA)

On Sunday, Jake Wightman came fifth, Josh Kerr finished sixth and Neil Gourley was 11th in the men’s 1500m, which was won by Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot in three minutes 29.26 seconds.

“It was tough, I honestly knew that was going to happen but not that quick,” said Wightman. “I thought it would be won in about 3:32 or 33. We were prepared for it.

“But I think that track is quick. It probably glorifies the times a little bit.

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Ten – Khalifa International Stadium
Jake Wightman was surprised by the pace of the men’s 1500m (Mike Egerton/PA)

“You knew Timothy was going to do that when he’s been running so quickly all year. None of can live with him in any other race and it shouldn’t be any different here.”

In the long jump final, which was won by Germany’s Malaika Mihambo with a leap of 7.30m, Abigail Irozuru came seventh (6.64m) with Shara Proctor 11th on 6.43m.

Cindi Ofili bowed out of the 100m hurdles in the semi-final after coming sixth in 12.95 seconds.

She added: “I didn’t execute the way I’d have liked. I’m just happy to be healthy – it’s been a really long journey back and its not just my Achilles but the other injuries that came with that.

“It’s hard but I overcame all of them and I’m excited for next year. Its all go from here for next year, so I’ll just keep going and use this for experience.”

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