On the penultimate Day 9 of the World Athletics Championship 2019, Britain’s 4x100m relay quartets both took home silver, as the US men and Jamaican women claimed the sprint relay titles at the Khalifa International Stadium.
As Dina Asher-Smith grabbed her third medal in Doha, the Bromley Harrier led the women’s quartet home in a season’s best of 41.85, together with Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson and Daryll Neita – ahead of the USA – as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce steered Jamaica home.
With GB forced into making a late change with Imani Lansiquot struggling with illness, Britain’s Golden girl was swapped into the 2nd leg on the back straight, which pitted Doha 100 and 200m champions Asher-Smith and Fraser-Pryce against each other.
After a slightly mis-timed changeover, Asher-Smith opened up a lead, but by the time Shericka Jackson had the baton into the home leg, Jamaican were away, leaving Neita to keep the US women at bay for second place.
The men then stepped out on the track for their event, with Britain looking to retain their sprint relay title they sensationally won in London in front of a packed London Stadium two years ago.
It was always set to be a tall task however, and with 200m champion Noah Lyles driving the US home across the line, Christian Coleman‘s anchor leg set up the win for America, with Justin Gatlin and Mike Rodgers holding an advantage over Zharnel Hughes and Richard Kilty for the Brits.
Going into the final changeover, Britain were in 3rd but after a storming final leg, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake overhauled Japan’s Abdul Sani Brown to nose ahead and take the silver.
Sifan Hassan completed an historic athletic double on Day 9, winning gold in the women’s 1500m in a Championship record time of 3:51.95 to add to the title she won in the 10,000 metres earlier in the Championships, ahead of defending champion Faith Kipyegon, with Gudaf Tsegay claiming the bronze.
In what was the sixth-fastest female middle-distance race of all time, Britain’s Laura Muir put in a gritty and gutsy show, but a lack of training due to injury saw the Scot run out of gas on the home straight. Indeed, of the top ten racers to finish, every athlete – bar Muir – broke either an Area or National record, or clocked a personal best.
With the Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete the outstanding favourite to take a second Doha crown, few however expected Hassan to take the reins from the opening lap, establishing a brutal pace from the outset.
Leaving the likes of Jenny Simpson and Gabriela Debues-Stafford far behind with the relentless pace of the race, whilst Kipyegon, Tsegay and the chasing pack clung on Hassan’s coat-tails, as Muir herself made a move to the front of the field.
As the bell rang, Muir sat in second place and attempted to pursue the Dutch woman and coming around the final bend looked in contention for a first-ever world podium spot.
The Briton dug deep, but had given all she had as Hassan stretched away from Kipyegon and Tsegay, as Hassan becomes the first woman in history to complete a unique middle and long-distance double at a major global meet.
McNeal DQ’d, Harrison, Williams, Ali into hurdles semi’s
As the final track event qualifying of Doha 2019 opened Day 9 in Qatar, American Brianna McNeal was disqualified for a false-start in the heats of the women’s 100m hurdles, as the other three big contenders to take the world crown in Danielle Williams,Nia Ali and Keni Harrison allbooked their places in Sunday’s next Round.
A visibly upset McNeal – formerly Rollins – champion in 2013 in Moscow and reigning Olympic gold medalist from Rio, missed London two years ago after a 12-month ban following three missed drug tests, and here suffered further frustration adjudged to have reacted to the gun in an illegal time.
As World record holder Harrison and fellow American Ali progressed, Williams – who finished the Diamond League season strongest – was perhaps the most impressive and controlled over the barriers, however it was Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan who ran the fastest in the heats in a new personal best time of 12.48. Sunday’s semi-finals will tell us more ahead of the concluding individual track event final in Doha.
British duo into long jump final
In qualifying for the women’s long jump final, Britain’s Abigail Irozuru and Shara Proctor both safely booked their places in Sunday’s final, as Germany’s Malaika Mihambo jumped the furthest with 6.98m.
Just three women cleared the automatic qualifying distance, with Ese Brume and most surprisingly Tori Bowie, the American sprint specialist who pulled out of the latter stages of the 100 and the heats of the 200m earlier in the week.
With Irozuru and Proctor jumping 6.70 and 6.63 respectively, the British duo are outside prospects to take a medal on the final day of competition on Sunday, however with the latter claiming Commonwealth and European bronze during the past two years, there may yet be a late addition to the British medal tally in long jump pit.
The final day of the World Athletics Championships 2019 begin with the semi-finals of the women’s 100m hurdles, at 3:02 pm UK time.
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