Team GB @ The World Champs; The Winners, Losers, Highs and Lows

Charles Van Commenee set Team GB the target of seven medals at the Championships and seven medals they delivered. The fact that two of these medals were Gold even managed to exceed his goal of one Gold medal for the Brits in Daegu, so all in all I think it must be considered a job well done. However, there were also some disappointments throughout to balance out the moments of British elation.

My summary of Team GB’s showing in Daegu is mapped out by my own very special prize giving of sorts below, and the lucky winners are as follows…

Athlete of the Champs:

Dai Greene

Welsh Wonder

Our new hero Dai was absolutely stunning this week. From his composure in qualifying to his technical hurdling genius in the final, it really was a masterclass. It must be said that he seemed a little off the pace through the first two thirds of the final but his impeccably clean clearance over each and every hurdle through the latter stages sucked him up and through the field with a little room to spare come the finish line and a new hero of British athletics was born. All the signs were there that he could rule triumphant and he duly delivered. One event, one Gold medal, can’t argue with those stats.

Disappointment of the week:

Jessica Ennis

Too much weight on her shoulders?

There are no two ways about it, Jessica Ennis is a stunning athlete. She is utterly exceptional, a magnificent role model for all and that sadly could be the reason for her “failure” in Korea. The weight of expectation on her shoulders would be immense in any age of British athletics given her class, but when there is less than a year to go until London 2012 the pressure must simply be unbearable for our ‘poster girl’.

Usually a model of consistency, as all top heptathletes must be of course, Ennis seemed off colour throughout and combined PB’s in some events with blow-outs in others, particularly the javelin which she has highlighted as her major weakness. An awful lot of work must be put in to prevent the same inconsistencies occurring come next summer where of course the expectation levels will be heightened even further.

Most Agonising Moment:

Mental and physical pain encapsulated

Mo Farah being pipped to the Gold in the 10,000

I won’t be able to put it better than this fantastic summary from Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail so sit back and enjoy this glorious bit of sports journalism:

“Mo Farah is the 9,980 metres champion of the world. It was only then that it went wrong, Farah’s teeth almost falling out of his face and his eyes bulging from below his skull in one final push, as Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia flogged himself past the Briton’s exhausted and bony little frame.”

This beautifully sums up the sheer agony of Mo’s near miss and I think it is fair to say the whole world felt his pain as his marvellous first 99% didn’t quite manage to deliver the Gold he so deserved.

Proudest Moment:

Golden Boy

Mo Farah winning the 5,000

Never one to lose that winning smile of his Mr Farah learnt from his miniscule tactical misjudgements in the 10,000 and nailed it in the 5,000. I can barely remember a sporting moment which made me happier, hats off Mo, lets make it two Golds in London!

Biggest shock:

About as shocked as the rest of us!

Hannah England

Talking of winning smiles… A magnificently crafted run in the Women’s 1500 final saw Hannah England’s life change in the space of four minutes and five seconds. This performance has marked an incredible rise to prominence and she has gone from a virtual unknown to a 2012 poster girl in double-quick time. There certainly won’t have been many that could have predicted such a huge success, a massive shock indeed, but it must be said an incredibly pleasant one.

Bravest Loser:

No choke this time, but Silver again for Idowu

Phillips Idowu

Ranked number one in the world and big favourite to take the title. Sadly though, he fell agonisingly short but he was absolutely brilliant nonetheless. He struggled to accept a ‘disappointing’ Silver in Beijing when he went in as favourite but this time there were no such regrets. A storng couple of jumps measuring 17.70 and 17.77 would usually have secured a comfortable victory for Team GB’s Field discipline star, but on this occasion he was outdone by a freak jump from 21 year old American Christian Taylor of 17.97.

Most Successful Loser:

Andy Turner

Shock podium finish for Turner

Another of the tournament’s real surprises. A very impressive run to fourth place in the Men’s 110m Hurdles was rather bizarrely rewarded with a Bronze as the race winner Dayron Robles was disqualified for collisions with Liu Xiang. A confused Turner was over the moon but understandably disbelieving when the news was broken to him. He probably would have preferred to have landed the Bronze in happier and more straightforward circumstances but a medal’s a medal, congratulations!

One To Watch in 2012:

Could Porter star in 2012?

Tiffany Porter

The dual-national Porter ran magnificently up until the ninth hurdle of her brilliant PB in the Women’s 110m hurdles only to hit the last and come home in fourth. With 11 months hard work this girl could well prove a major medal hope in London and the sad truth is that this time around she was undone by her own pace. She stated in her post-race interviews that she was “flying” and that she had “never run so fast”, no surprise then that she lost control at the critical time. Nevertheless she performed out of her skin and we look forward to seeing more of her next year.

Overall, the World Championships were thoroughly exciting. From Bolt’s false start in the 100m final, to his outstanding win in the 200, to Sally Pearson’s imperious showing in the hurdles, to Mo’s medal successes, to Dai’s hurdling genius, to Robles’ Gold medal disqualification, I could go on for hours… It truly was a feast of sport packed with emotion, drama, joy and disappointment, bring on 2012!