Great Britain and Northern Ireland in strong showing but no gold rush
If the Great Britain and Northern Ireland performance at the 2022 World Athletics Championships was turned into a secondary school attendance report, the team would have received a C plus.
On one hand, the seven medals the team captured in Oregon, United States were the most by a contingent of athletes since 2015 – when Team GB also took home the same number of medals from Beijing.
On the other hand, it was the lowest gold medal haul – one – since Osaka 2007 and the lowest position in the medal table – 11th – since the same championships in Japan, despite the exclusion of Russia this year due to their invasion of Ukraine.
So while stars have cemented their place at the peak of the global athletics scene – notably Jake Wightman with Team GB’s first gold in the men’s 1,500m since Steve Cram in 1983 – others haven’t quite performed to their peak. Below we take a look at the medals won by Britain:
Jake Wightman picked up Team GB’s only gold with a tactically sublime run in the 1,500m. He stuck on the tail of Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigsten before kicking twice inside the last 200m to take top spot in a race that had been devoid of any British male dominance since the era of Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett.
Britain’s first silver came on the final night of the championships as Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson repeated her Tokyo 2020 feat and came home in second to Athing Mu. Mu is so dominant in the event but the Brit pushed the American close when Mu left the inside line open going into the home straight. There were just eight hundredths of a second between Mu and Hodgkinson come the line.
Britain’s first medal came from one of the athletes expected to place in Eugene when middle-distance stalwart Laura Muir came home for a bronze medal. She hasn’t faced the smoothest of seasons but being up there with the likes of Faith Kipyegon and Gudaf Tsegay will be of comfort to the Scot given her rocky ride to the championships.
On the face of it, reigning 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith has gone backwards in earning a bronze in the championships, but the Brit has had an injury-dogged couple of years – which continued in the relays after her bronze – and there were doubts over her form going into the meet. That said, she performed at a level higher than most expected and was beaten by two exceptional Jamacians in Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Matthew Hudson-Smith has had a brutal series of months away from the sport, including a suicide attempt, but shone in an event Brits have struggled with in recent years. His 400m bronze came behind the superb Michael Norman and Kirani James and should have lit another fire under the Brit.
It was a close sprint relay for the men despite the surprise winners being Canada. Besides anything else, the medal vindicates British relay runners tarnished by last year’s doping scandal involving CJ Ujah.
The United States looked like winning this event before the half-way stage but Team GB did well to hang in there and get a bronze medal. The relays finished with a 40 per cent medal achievement, something to work on going forward.