Another night of history for Dina Asher-Smith. The distinctions in her career are piling up and so are the medals.
This one, a silver in the 4x100m relay, will lack some of the weightiness of those she took in the individual sprints. But, significantly, it is the one that confirms her place as the first British athlete to ever take three gongs from a single World Championships.
That she has done so at the age of 23 would indicate once more, if there was any doubt, that the forthcoming Olympics could be a special hunting ground.
But while she will draw attention on a night when the men’s cteam also took silver, a hefty level of credit ought to go to her team-mates here.
Unlike the European gold the team won in Berlin last year, when Asher-Smith reversed a tricky situation on the last leg, this race saw a far more even distribution of labour. It also saw her used in a different slot by virtue of a late injury in the warm-up to a colleague, Imani Lansiquot.
Despite those circumstances, the baton passed smoothly from Asher Philip to Asher-Smith to Ashleigh Nelson. Jamaica were clear through three legs based through the brilliance of Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce on the second, but as for the US and Britain it was a battle.
Was there a slither of light in Britain’s favour on the home bend? Maybe. But Daryll Neita and Kiara Parker took their batons at precisely the same time and it was the Brit who crossed first, clocking 41.85sec. The Jamaicans had gone through in 41.44sec and the US were third in 42.10sec. Plaudits will go to Asher-Smith but Neita deserves as much praise if not more for settling the duel.
A silver is always a fine result and this was finer, owing to Lansiquot’s thigh issue. Initially, Philip was due to drop out from the team that qualified second fastest for the final and Asher-Smith was scripted for the final.
That was a significant call as Philip had been part of each of the medal-winning teams at the Rio Olympics, London 2017, the Commonwealth Games and also the European Championships.
Her demotion would have meant Neita switching from fourth leg to first to enable Asher-Smith to take over as the anchor. Ultimately those changes did not come to pass and Neita was in position to snatch a silver medal. Good work all round.
For the men, there was the slight sting of losing their world title to a US team comprised of Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin, Michael Rodgers and Noah Lyles. Gatlin and Rodgers have served doping bans and Coleman has been a fog of his own making all week.
They built a strong lead and Britain, made up of Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake fell short, clocking 37.36sec to the 37.10 of the US.
It was another good result in a discipline that offers no guarantees. The men’s record is the testament to that, with the feast or famine nature of their narrative built on four straight major championships where they were either disqualified or failed to finish between 2011 and 2015 and the world gold that followed in 2017.
There have also been two lesser European golds in 2016 and 2018, owing to a tighter, sharper, better funded operation based on unity of purpose.
Where once the 2015 team descended into an ugly squabble on live television, these days the sprinters have deliberately cultivated social relationships together.
The rationale is that a closer team would be a better one.
This result supported that notion.
The women’s 4x400m team of Zoey Clark, Jodie Williams, Jessica Turner and Laviai Nielsen — two of whom, Clark and Nielsen, took the silver in London — qualified third fastest in 3:24.99, behind Jamaica and the US.
The men’s quartet, which finished third two years ago, were not nearly so sleek. Having lost their strongest component, Matthew Hudson-Smith, to injury in the individual event, the diminished four of Cameron Chalmers, Raabah Yousif, Lee Thompson and Martyn Rooney were second going into the final changeover from Thompson to Rooney.
But after an inside-lane battle with Japan for the position behind the US, Columbia, Italy and Botswana all came through on the straight, leaving Britain fifth on 3:01.96.
A season’s best and Botswana were subsequently disqualified. Britain’s progression depended on the success of a Botswana appeal.
Culled from dailymail