Usain Bolt’s finale, controversial winners and an outbreak of the norovirus, the 2017 World Athletics Championship in London has certainly been action packed both on and off the track. However, with the Championship coming to a conclusion this weekend Great Britain have fallen short when it comes to medals.
So far, only Sir Mo Farah has won a medal of any colour when he was victorious in the 10,000m on the opening night on Friday. Mo is on course to win another World Championships medal during his final ever race when he competes in the 5,000m on Saturday night and he is hoping to keep Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei at bay.
If Mo is triumphant, he will equal Usain Bolt’s record as the only person to win seven world individual track and field medals. However, away from Mo the British cohort have been extremely underwhelming at their home games so much so that they are actually on course for their worst ever medal haul in the World Championships.
UK Sport had target six to eight medals prior to the Championships but it looks unlikely they will now reach this. So what’s gone wrong? Many pundits have said that mentality seems to be the issue for British athletes.
Former British Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Darren Campbell MBE agrees with this notion and said “I am the last British sprinter to win an individual global medal, at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, but the talent we have is better than that. The problem we have is the mental side of things. We were told that the top athletes who weren’t there were being rested for the Worlds. Well now we’re here, where are they producing what we were told they would?”
Laura Muir and Sophie Hitchon were the most high-profile athletes to miss out on medalling this week. In the 1500m final on Monday Muir was one of the favourites and led the first lap. However, the rest of the pack soon caught up with her and in a nail-biting final few yards she just missed out on a podium finish, ending in fourth place missing out on a bronze by seven-hundredths of a second.
Sophie Hitchon won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the hammer and was expected to match or even better this result in the World Championships. Despite her best efforts which saw her throw a remarkable 72.32m it wasn’t enough as she finished seventh.
Earlier in the day heptathlete Katrina Johnson-Thompson came fifth even though she impressed in the long jump and 800m. As we go into the final few days of the Championship Britain will be hoping for more positivity before Sunday’s final day.
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