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Super Day for GB's Team in Sopok
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) was one of the stars of the final session at the IAAF World Indoor Championships after the multi-event specialist clinched silver in the long jump thanks to a personal best jump of 6.81m.
There were further silver medals for the women’s 4x400m team. However it was Johnson-Thompson’s performance that got the ball rolling in Poland, and she admitted she didn’t come into the championships expecting to take home a medal.
“A good day,” Johnson-Thompson said. “It’s hard to believe isn’t it? I’ve done world junior championships, and now I’ve won my first senior international medal. Everybody knows I’m a heptathlete and I will be going back to the heptathlon.
“I just really can’t believe it. I came here with no expectations at all. I thought if everyone has a bad day or somebody doesn’t turn then I might be able to sneak a medal. It was unbelievable that I was winning but I’m so happy with a silver medal.”
The day ended as it began with another silver medal for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team, making it six for the championships, and leaving the team fourth on the medal table behind the USA, Russia and Ethiopia.
There was another stellar performance by the women’s 4x400m team, with EIlidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), Shana Cox (George Williams), Margaret Adeoye (Christie) and Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) adding bronze to the gold the team won two years ago.
GB & NI captain Eilidh Child said: “I’m delighted – I just wanted to come here and get a medal. We knew it was going to be really tough because the Americans had a really good team, Jamaica bought in two athletes, plus the Russians. We knew there would be four teams in the mix.
“The team last night with (Richard) Kilty and Tiffany (Porter), you felt a real buzz around the hotel. We’ve carried that on today and bought home a couple more medals.”
Asha Phillip (Christine Bowmaker) continued to show her world-class pedigree posting a time of 7.11 in the women’s 60m final to finish agonisingly just one place outside the medals. Flanked on either side by the gold and silver medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Murielle Ahoure, Phillip was just two hundredths of a second shy of her personal best, and had mixed feelings about her performance.
“I know in my heart and soul I could have gone quicker. I came fourth in the world, and it’s more than I could have asked for because coming from my background I didn’t think I’d get this far.
“I’m gutted I didn’t do what I did in the heats and semis. It was a great experience because I’ve missed out on finals for so long (since 2007) so I can take pride in what I’ve done.”
Sophie Papps (Dan Cossins), the youngest member of the GB & NI team, finished a credible sixth in her semi-final earlier in the session.
Papps said: “I was really nervous going in and that could have affected it, but I've had a really good time and I'm not going to dwell on it. I ran really well yesterday making it to the world semi-final, so I'm really pleased with how I've done overall.”
In the women’s long jump, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) was unable to follow teammate Johnson-Thompson into the medals, finishing fourth in the women’s long jump with a best jump of 6.68m.
“It wasn’t my day. I came out with a season’s best. I’m unhappy about it as I so wanted a medal because I was the reigning bronze medallist and I wanted to defend that. I had trouble finding my rhythm but I don’t want to make any excuses. Today was a day to perform and I didn’t perform.”
There was disappointment for Holly Bleasdale (Scott Simpson) in the women’s pole vault final, as she finished in ninth place with a best clearance of 4.55m.
“I'm really disappointed,” she admitted. “I felt really good coming into it. I had a great session yesterday, but activation just wasn't there.
“I'm really frustrated and really upset. I have been on a long road back from injury to be here and perform and it's not gone well so I'm obviously gutted. But I'll learn from it and improve as I always do.”