The curtains have been drawn and the dust is settling in the arena of the Daegu stadium as the 13th World Championships passed into history so it is a good time to look into the particulars of the British team on show and reflect on the overall performance and results thereof. But let’s get the statistic lowdown of the team first:

Medals (7)

Golds (2): Mo Farah (5000m), Dai Greene (400mh)

Silvers (4): Mo Farah (10000m), Jessica Ennis (heptathlon), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Hannah England (1500m)

Bronzes (1): Andy Turner (110mh)

Top 8 places (12)

4th places (2): Tiffany Porter (100mh), Women’s 4×400 (Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell, Perri Shakes-Drayton)

5th places (2): William Sharman (110mh), Yamile Aldama (triple jump)

7th places (1): Men’s 4×400 (Richard Strachan, Chris Clarke, Nigel Levine, Martyn Rooney)

Also finalists (5): Steve Lewis (pole vault), Brett Morse (discus), Helen Clitheroe (5000m), Barbara Parker (3000mSC), Goldie Sayers (javelin)

DNF (1): Men’s 4x100m (Christian Malcolm,Craig Pickering, Marlon Devonish, Harry Aikines-Ayreety)

UK Records (1): Tiffany Porter (100mh)

PBs (3): Porter, Emma Jackson (800m), Anuika Onuora (200m)

SBs (5): Martyn Rooney (400m), David Webb (marathon), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Steve Lewis (pole vault), Yamile Aldama (triple jump)


Overall, there has been a mixed bag of goods and feelings over the display of the team as the best medal haul attained since Britain’s most successful world championships ever in Stuttgart 1993 was considerably contrasted by a low number of other top eight finalists, as well as subdued figures in PBs and SBs across the board, which could be a cause for concern. Of course, that doesn’t reflect the actual strength or landscape of British athletics as there was a wide spread sense that many athletes failed to arrive adequately prepared off the last stage of their build-up or/and were caught out by developments and turns of events. Furthermore, there were those who were either struck by misfortune, simply caught on a bad day at the office or could not do themselves justice on the grounds of injury.

It was a championships of stark contradictions as the number of individual medalists almost doubled  on Berlin two years ago, despite the fact that neither Lisa Dobriskey nor Jenny Meadows reached even their respective finals, to provide a phychological boost and a larger medal cushion in view of London next summer although the absence of any finalists from 100 through to 1500m in men and from 100 to 800 in women was admittedly disheartening and the controversial selections and failure of relay teams to pick up a single medal was anything but flattering.

Phillips Idowu is surprisingly beaten to silver by an astonishing 17.96m from Christian Taylor (USA)

Nevertheless, there is more upside rather than downside to the whole affair so arguably a lot more ground to take heart from than meets the eye. Mo Farah, Dai Greene, Hannah England and Andy Turner have come to substantially extend the range of recent global medalists while Tiffany Porter and Yamile Aldama moved onto the fringes of that territory, the former Cuban returning to a familiar place for her after years. Whereas at first sight it appears that Britain have moved up by a single medal on Berlin, 7 to 6, the effective gains have been considerably larger since individual medals rose by a sound three, 7 to 4, which carries considerably greater weight.

An encouraging thought that could come to mind is that a relatively underperforming team still yielded seven medals, a figure that could be interpreted as a near floor of performance, so one could well speculate what sort of numbers would have been feasible if a larger rate among athletes had performed to the mark.It’s a good feeling to know that you have reached your target and there was still plenty to spare on your potential.

There weren’t any relay hardware coming in which was frustrating, true, but it is much easier to sort out your relays and return stronger next year than lay out new medal contenders on the stage within the same amount of time. There are arguably some five, maybe six, sound gold medal shots for London next summer compared to only two at the beginning of the season, as well as a proportional rise in overall podium prospects during the same time.

In fact, formation and order of most relay outfits were badly misplaced and messed up by coaches in charge to the extend of considerably affecting their medals chances. It was crying out from the heats that the men’s 4x400m team needed more pace in the early stages to get out in front and enjoy freer runs rather than have to run around bodies and chase hard from well behind. The women’s long relay performed well in the heats only to see Perri Shakes-Drayton so poorly wasted on the lead-off leg, even if she led the team off to a swift 50.5 secs run, and Christine Ohuruogu thrown in deep waters outside lanes as usual after a solid first-round lead-off of 51.6 secs. With so much pumped into the relays, how can certain persons afford to fall into such blunders time and again really?

In a more favourable light, four out of the five minor medals claimed were silvers and arguably leaning closer to golds than bronzes by the manner they came by. Phillips Idowu managed a world-class 17.77m to be beaten by an astounding one-off of talented American Christian Taylor, Jessica Ennis endured a horrid javelin to concede her crown to Tatiana Chernova (RUS) who put together her virtual perfect heptathlon, something most unlikely to emulate again, Mo Farah was pipped in the dying stages of the 10000m by an athlete that very much ran out of his skin, Ibrahim Jeilah (ETH), and Hannah England was bearing down on winner Jennifer Simpson down the home straight of the women’s 1500m.

Hannah England formed the breakthrough package in Daegu

Among the disappointments, Dobriskey more of got ensnared into a race that didn’t suit her to crash out the same way as Olympic champion Nancy Lagat in an identical race a round on rather than was short of shape, having beaten England convincingly in her last outing leading up to Daegu. But she carries full responsibility in that she didn’t attempt to shift the shape of the race at any given moment and will hopefully take that on board. Further, she still needs to improve her response time to turns of pace around her so that she doesn’t slip instantly into poor positions and is left with too much to do.

Meadows was apparently doing everything right until 50m out when caught out by a vastly unpredictable Maggie Vessey (USA) for second place in the women’s 800m semifinals, Dwain Chambers was so unfortunate to be disqualified on a mere twitch in his blocks in the semifinals of the men’s 100m and young Holly Bleasdale may have had a very long season coming into these championships.

Along mystifying lines, Olympic champion Ohuruogu will probably like to forget this affair as soon as possible after an unwarranted false-start in the individual 400m and a very poor 52.0 secs contribution to the long relay in the final, while Goldie Sayers must have been groping around to find out what went so awfully wrong to crash out of the javelin final the way she did. Captain Christian Malcolm was well short of his best in the 200m and Harry ‘Hulk’ Aikines-Ayreety will have to learn to literally pull his weight more efficiently around in a relay – though he missed narrowly out on a place in the dash final.

Britain were substantially down in top eight places gathering only 12 compared to 20 in Berlin, a disappointing aspect, although they were unfortunate to lose Greg Rutherford and Kate Dennison through injuries while on their way to the long jump and pole vault finals, where Chris Tomlinson efforts were hampered by a knee injury, and Shakes-Drayton missed out by the narrowest of margins in the 400m hurdles, which would have reduced the deficit substantially.

On a different note, Nicola Sanders‘s 50.4 secs leg in the women’s 4x400m final could suggest that she is steadily getting back to reasonable form, Emma Jackson performed brilliantly on her first showing on the big stage to deliver a PB of 1:59.77 over 800m and the U23 duo of Jack Green and Nathan Woodward both reached the semifinals of the men’s 400m hurdles on the back of long seasons, an encouraging sign for the event behind Greene.


Phillips Idowu’s silver medal bolstered up triple jump’s place as Britain’s top event in the history of the championships having claimed three golds and seven medals overall (3-3-1) between him and Jonathan Edwards, with Andy Turner adding a bronze to sustain the 110m hurdles as the event that has won the most silverware with nine pieces between him, Colin Jackson, Tony Jarrett and Jon Ridgeon (2-5-2).

Jessica Ennis won Britain’s fifth medal in the heptathlon (1-3-1), Denise Lewis and Kelly Sotherton having a share, and Hannah England a third silver in the 1500m, the other two won by Kelly Holmes and Dobriskey – Hayley Tullett adding a bronze to the tally.

Dai Greene wins Britain’s first ever gold in the 400m hurdles

Mo Farah broke the duck to bring a first medal (silver) in the 10000m after Steve Binns and Richard Nerurkar had been the closest in fifths and also won Britain’s first gold in the 5000m, ending the medal drought since Jack Buckner‘s bronze in 1987, while Dai Greene also claimed a first gold and second medal ever apart from Kris Akabussi‘s bronze in 1991.

On the other hand, Britain remain without a male 800m finalist since Curtis Robb and Tom McKean in 1993 and without a medal in the 400m since Roger Black‘s silver in 1991. Moreover, Steve Cram‘s gold in the inaugural edition in Helsinki 1983 still remains Britain’s only silverware over the men’s 1500m in 28 years.


As concerns athletes that didn’t perform to their form, there should be taken into account that:

Mike Rimmer‘s summer training and racing had been seriously curtailed due to a pelvic injury after a superb start to his season.

James Shane late build-up was apparently affected by an achilles complaint picked up early last month.

Greg Rutherford sustained a hamstring injury during the long jump qualification and had to pull out.

Chris Tomlinson was competing on a troublesome knee out of a road accident.

Kate Dennison got injured towards the end of the pole vault qualification and missed out by a mere place despite withdrawing.

Jo Jackson was also carrying a knee complaint that reduced her to 23rd in the women’s 20km race walking.