Shelayna through to the final

Shelayna Oskan Clarke

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (handicap -2.0) was the only British athlete to qualify for the 800m final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships yesterday.

Shelayna finished first in the second heat. In the process, the 25 year old posted a new personal best of 1:58.86 and will head into the final with a huge level of confidence.

“I’m so happy it seems to have come together at the right time. I feel like I’ve been capable of it for a while,” said Oskan-Clarke.


“It’s just trusting in my ability, being here with the team, training with everyone, being in such great condition, I’m really happy to have an opportunity and to be here.”


Other semi-finallists Lynsey Sharp (handicap -2.5) and Jenny Meadows (handicap -2.1), left the competition finishing seventh and eighth in their respective semi-finals.


Sophie Hitchon put in a stellar performance, breaking her British record twice on her way to an impressive fourth place finish in the hammer. Hitchon, who qualified for the final in sixth place, produced the performance of her life throwing 73.65m in the third round. However, it was a case of saving the best until last for the 24 year old, going out to 73.86m, which was an improvement of nearly a metre on her previous best (72.97m).


The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who beat London 2012 bronze medallist Betty Heidler in the competition said: “As an athlete it feels hard – because fourth is the agonising place but honestly I couldn’t have done anything more. Two national records, two PBs in one competition – I loved it out there and it bodes well for the future.


“I was in ninth and I could have been caught but I brought it in the third round. I try not to think what the opposition is doing, I try executing my technique. If I do that know I am going to throw far and I know that today, I have been training really well and my technique has been there.”


Also in lifetime best form was Zharnel Hughes, who after an impressive qualifying campaign finished fifth in the 200m in 20.02. Training partner Usain Bolt brushed aside his doubters to claim another sprint double, but Hughes will be encouraged by his major championship debut in the Far East.


A reflective Hughes commented: “Sometimes you don’t always get what you want.  I’m not disappointed in myself, I got a PB and made it to the World Championship final, so what more can I ask for?  It’s just that I wish I could have got a medal but I guess it’s not my time just yet.


“My first World Champs and I have many more to come, this one is like in school – sometimes you fail your exams and you study yourself and come back and better yourself.  It’s a great experience and I’ll come back and better myself after going on the drawing board.”


In the women’s 400m, Christine Ohuruogu was unable to retain the gold she won in Moscow, as the title went to USA’s Allyson Felix, who set a world-leading time of 49.26 for her ninth world title. Ohuruogu, who went with the explosive Felix was unable to match her rival, finishing in eighth place in 50.63.


“I don’t think it was (Felix’s fast start), I knew she was going to go out hard and you have to try and match that and go out hard as well. But she had a kick! I didn’t know quite what to do, but you’ve just got to try work the best situation that you have,” explained Ohuruogu. 


“I had a few changes this year, but I’m happy regardless to be here. It’s been an honour to be here – it’s been tough but that’s the beauty of 400m – you never get an easy time.”


In the semi-final of the 200m Dina Asher-Smith continued to take the plaudits with a new personal best of 22.12, just 0.02 outside Kathy Cook’s long-standing British record. Asher-Smith saw off the competition from multiple global medallists Jeneba Tarmoh and Veronica Campbell-Brown, with the teenager even easing down in the closing stages for victory.


Asher-Smith said: “I guess when it’s sprint racing, you have to look confident, but I was quite nervous. I’m quite happy to have won that – racing Jeneba (Tarmoh) and VCB (Veronica Campbell-Brown) are such inspirations to me and Olympic gold medallists countless times. Racing them was nerve-wracking, but I’m happy to have remained composed and execute my race.


“I’m not letting it sink in because it’s great doing well in the heats and semis but where it counts is the final. I’m happy to have got there, but I can’t let myself caught up in the moment.”


Bianca Williams and Margaret Adeoye were unable to match their teammate in the quest for a final berth, but will go home in a positive mood after reaching the semi-final stage.


It was a quiet start to the seventh day of action, earlier this morning, with high jumper Robbie Grabarz the lone British athlete in action in the morning session.


Needing 2.31m for automatic qualification, the Olympic bronze medallist could only manage 2.26m, which saw him miss out on a place in the final. Grabarz, who returned this season after a year out with a knee injury, was buoyed by his return to the world stage despite not reaching the latter stages.


Grabarz said: “I’m just happy to be here, I shouldn’t be saying that – but I am. Surgery was just a year ago, and my body feels great – I just need to get technically fit, which shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s harder to get your body back than your technical things and my body is back. That’s just a nice feeling to be honest


“It is nice having that feeling in my mind that I can come in higher than everyone else and get a couple of clean sheets, but when the bar went up I probably just tried a little too hard, it’s always the way. This surface is unforgiving if you do anything wrong. if you do it right you get massive rewards. Unfortunately I didn’t do it right at the bar that was critical but as the same time, my body is absolutely fine now so I am happy.


“Rio, it’s Olympic year, that’s exciting enough and I’m not starting a winter hampered by my body this year. I’m starting it in the best shape of my life physically, so that’s a nice feeling to take forward albeit to a long cold winter in Birmingham.”


2.40m jumper Andriy Protsenko and Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov were also among the big names to not progress further in the competition.


This evening’s action will see Chris O’Hare (handicap -5.9) and Charlie Grice (handicap -6.1) setting their sights set on final places in the 1500m.



British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China



Mo Farah (10,000m)

Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)

Greg Rutherford (Long jump)