Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Aston Moore, club: Liverpool) reclaimed her world heptathlon title and Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet) took a brilliant 100m bronze as the British team added to their World Athletics Championships medal tally in Budapest.
Johnson-Thompson capped an excellent weekend with her second personal best of the day, chasing home Anna Hall (USA) over 800m in 2:05.63 to reclaim the title she won in Doha in 2019.
Her final score of 6740 added 184 points to her season’s best as she became only the second British woman in history to claim two world championship heptathlon titles.
After retaining her world title, Johnson-Thompson said: “I’ve actually got no words. I can’t believe it. It’s like being in a dream. I have been thinking about this for months and months and nobody else could see the vision apart from me and my team. I’m just so happy that it’s come true. It’s a dream come true to do it again.
“I feel like this time last year I came away from Eugene, it was such a horrible experience to be in the competition but not competing for the medals. All I ever wanted was a chance at gold and I’m so happy.
“I had no nerves coming into the 800m and when my name got called, I could see the montages. I saw my 2019 self and thought all I’d wanted was a shot at gold and I’m so happy I was able to take that opportunity today.”
The 800m run took nearly two seconds off her previous lifetime best and admitted it was one of the simplest runs she’s produced.
“That was the easiest run I’ve ever done in my life! I didn’t know the time until halfway around the victory lap. It’s so easy to run when there’s something on the line.
“I’m so happy that I’m able to commit. I committed to the vision and committed to trying again, committed to getting my heart broken and this time I didn’t. It’s all come good and I’m so happy.”
In the final action of the night, Hughes became the first British man in 20 years to win a world championship 100m medal, dipping to a phenomenal bronze in 9.88 (0.0).
Hughes flew out of the blocks and was neck and neck with Americans Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman at the halfway point. He continued to press and closed brilliantly, sneaking bronze by three-thousandths of a second as Lyles won in an equal world lead of 9.83s.
He reflected: “I’m super, super, super grateful right now. Thank you to my team, thank you to my coach, thank you to Linford [Christie] round there as well, he gave me a talk. This one’s for you guys back home and means the world to me.
“My heart is full with emotions, I’m just super grateful. I’m glad I finished healthy and believed in myself. I honestly wanted a gold medal but hey, leaving this championship with a medal around my neck I’m so grateful for.”
Hughes’ time was just 0.001s off silver medallist Letsile Tebogo (BOT) and 0.003s ahead of training partner Oblique Seville (JAM), but his achievement made him the first British man since Darren Campbell in 2003 to win an individual world 100m medal.
He has a chance to double up in the 200m later this week and is relishing that prospect.
“Honestly I thought I’d got him [Lyles]. I didn’t know Tebogo was up there. When I saw the results and I saw Tebogo’s name I thought ‘where did he come from’ but nevertheless I’m up there as well.
“The 200m is my baby, I love the 200m. For me, I’m just going to go back now and recover, get some good sleep tonight and go again.”
Eugene Amo-Dadzie’s (Steve Fudge, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) maiden world championship ended in the semi-finals finishing fourth in his heat in 10.03s (0.3), missing out on a spot as the fastest non-automatic qualifier by 0.02s. Compatriot Reece Prescod (Marco Airale, Enfield and Haringey) was eighth in his semi-final in 10.26s (-0.3).
Team captain Laura Muir (Steve Vernon, Dundee Hawkhill) led the way as she, Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Rob Denmark, Poole) and Katie Snowden (Stephen Haas, Herne Hill) all booked their places in the women’s 1500m final.
Muir and Snowden ran measured races putting themselves in prime positions as the pace quickened at the bell. As the lead group of six pulled away, both were able to ease through in fourth and fifth respectively, with Muir clocking a season’s best 3:56.36 and British champion Snowden taking over three seconds off her lifetime best in 3:56.72 – the second quickest on the UK all-time list.
In the first semi-final, Courtney-Bryant was boxed into the inside line at the back of the field through the early stages and was in danger of missing out as the pack hit the bell. With 150m to go, the Poole athlete kicked out into lane two, taking the fifth automatic qualifying spot in 4:02.79.
Muir assessed, “That was fast. When I crossed the line, I was like ‘wow’ because it was quick. I’m so chuffed for Katie, I knew you could run 50s!
“I was waiting for that big time for her [Katie] and it’s really, really special to break 4:00 and make a world final. I’m really happy for her, Millie and myself and it’s really exciting to have three girls in the final. It’s been a long time since I’ve had company in the final so I’m excited.”
In the men’s 1500m semis, Scotsmen Josh Kerr (Danny Mackey, Edinburgh) and Neil Gourley (Stephen Haas, Giffnock North) secured their place in the final with polished performances, but compatriot and Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg, Birchfield) missed out.
Kerr put in a measured performance, gliding to the front of the field and cranking up the pace lap by lap. He held his form despite coming under late pressure from Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), coming home second in 3:35.14, with Giles run out of things, finishing 12th in 3:39.05.
In a rapid first semi-final, Gourley required another home straight surge to book his place in the final after a frantic three and three quarter laps, coming home sixth in 3:32.97.
The field was strung out early on as Kenya’s Abel Kipsang picked up the pace from the off, leaving Gourley eighth at the bell. As he hit the home straight, he picked his moment to push through down the inside, throwing his arm across the line to book the final automatic qualifying spot by 0.01s.
Kerr reflected: “I really enjoyed it. I’m never scared of taking the front. I was really confused why no one came up on my shoulder but it’s one of those adrenaline things where I wasn’t looking at splits.
“I can bring a lot faster running than that but I enjoyed it out there and today was about getting through to the final on Wednesday with as little energy and as few problems as possible.”
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland medal tally:
Gold (1): Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Women’s Heptathlon
Silver (1): Mixed 4x400m Relay
Bronze (1): Zharnel Hughes – Men’s 100m