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Tokyo: The Verdict

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  • Tokyo: The Verdict

    So now it's all over, time to review the performance of the British team.

    My thoughts:

    There’s been a certain amount of angst at underperformance, but how did the British team do individually?



    Dina Asher-Smith – sadly injured, but still made the semi final, and was a crucial art of our bronze medal relay team. Verdict: disappointing but not her fault. The competition at this level is super hot though, so a medal was not guaranteed. No grade/A for relay.

    Daryll Neita: made the final with a pb 10.95: excellent performance. She can progress from here. A.

    Asha Philip: at 30 her career may be drawing to a close as younger athletes start to come through, but she may continue to be an important relay starter up to Paris. Making the semi was probably above expectations. B+


    Dina Asher-Smith – DNS due to 100m injury

    Beth Dobbin – making the semi final was as good as could be expected, and ran a decent time. B+


    Ama Pipi – exceeded expectations in making the semi. A slow first leg in the relay was disappointing and could have cost the team a medal. B-

    Jodie Williams – PBs in every round and made the final – an excellent performance which she can build on. Also a great leg in the relay. A

    Nicole Yeargin– had been showing signs of the effects of a long college season just before the Olympics, and then disqualified in the first round. Poor. Ran unimpressively in the mixed 4 x 4 but OK in the women’s relay. Requires improvement. B-

    4x100m Relay

    They did well to get bronze. With a fully fit Dina it could have been a different colour. B+

    4x400m Relay

    5th in the final but a pretty fast time. Some tweaking should mean better to come. B

    Women's sprints summary: in very good shape.


    Keely Hodgkinson – what can you say? Superb run to take silver behind a new superstar in Athing Mu and smashed Kelly Holmes’s British record. Combines speed and tactical awareness. Surely the start of a stratospheric career and long rivalry with Mu. A+

    Jemma Reekie – a good run with a PB, and was unlucky not to get a bronze. She might have won if this had happened last year. Fantastic for her first major champs. I expect her to learn from this. A

    Alex Bell – a late addition to the squad, performed above expectations just to make the final, and then got a PB. Excellent. A


    Laura Muir – superb silver medal taking the scalp of Sifan Hassan, and an oustanding British record time. A+

    Katie Snowden – did quite well to make the semi with a new PB, and ran nearly as fast in that semi. Good enough. B+

    Revee Walcott-Nolan: ran a PB in the heat, and was agonisingly close to making the semi. Made the most of her selection. B+

    Women's middle distance summary: fantastic


    Jess Judd – not a great run but didn’t really expect her to make the final. D

    Amy-Eloise Markovc – PB. Can’t do more than that so well done. B

    Eilish McColgan – very disappointed she didn’t make the final after getting clipped, possibly the result of poor positioning. D

    Jess Judd - not at the top level as a senior, but a really brave effort to finish 17th under 32min, collapsing at the end, B

    Eilish McColgan – again, not quite good enough, but a much better race than the 5000 to finish 9th in a solid time. B+

    Stephanie Davis – 39th in brutal conditions, not too bad a performance. B

    Jessica Piasecki – tried to push early on but the conditions did for her and she finished almost last, not good. D-

    Steph Twell – struggled throughout, but doggedly finished, a brave effort but it was all a bit too much for her. D

    Women's distance summary
    : not really good enough to compete at this level but mostly doing their best

    3000m Steeplechase

    Lizzie Bird – excellent, made the final and ran a super new national record. A

    Aimee Pratt – faltered in the Tokyo heat to miss out in her heat. C

    100m Hurdles

    Tiffany Porter – disappointing. D

    Cindy Sember – ditto, especially after some great times earlier in the season. D

    400m Hurdles

    Meghan Beesley (Benke Blomkvist, Birchfield) – lucky she ran well at the trials to get selection, couldn’t perform here. D

    Jessie Knight – awful. Fell at the first hurdle, literally. F

    Jessica Turner – did well to make the semi. B

    Hurdles and chase summary: Mixed bag.

    High Jump

    Morgan Lake – made the final but withdrew with an injury. Not her fault this time, but will she ever realise her potential? B

    Emily Borthwick – equalled her PB but not quite good enough for the final. Has had a great year. B+

    Pole Vault

    Holly Bradshaw – a medal at last. Excellent performance, full of the self-confidence and belief she has signally lacked in previous years. A+

    Long Jump

    Abigail Irozuru – good in qualifying, not in the final. B-

    Jazmin Sawyers – 8th in the final was as much as we could have expected, and 6.80 was above expectations. Well done. A

    Lorraine Ugen – very poor. F

    Jumps summary: mixed.

    Shot Put

    Sophie McKinna – failed to qualify, poor. F


    Katarina Johnson-Thompson – oh dear. Was actually looking like a potential medallist before a new injury felled her.

    Women generally: much better than the men.



    CJ Ujah – semi as much as we expected and a solid leg in the relay. OK. B

    Zharnel Hughes- stupid boy false started. F However, ran very well in the relay, lifting him overall to D.

    Reece Prescod – false started no less than three times and was very lucky he only got DQ the last time. Showed better form and a SB, but really, not good enough. He needs to step it up stat or we will only talk about his potential with the word wasted added. F- if possible.

    Men’s 200m

    Adam Gemili – oh dear, another injury. But I didn’t expect a medal anyway.

    Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake: well below his best. D

    Men’s 4x100m Relay

    So unlucky not to get gold. They ran well, but the Italians were inspired. A reliable Prescod could make all the difference. A+

    Men’s 4x400m Relay

    Awful, but that was all we expected, they just weren’t good enough. Not their fault. D-

    Men's sprints summary: disappointing.

    Men’s 800m

    Oliver Dustin – tactically poor in the first round. D

    Elliot Giles – made the semi but should have been a finalist and medal contender. Poor. C

    Daniel Rowden – also under-performed but I believe there were injury issues? Would probably have done better last year. C


    Jake Heyward – PB to make the final. Good experience he can build on. B+

    Josh Kerr – superb run in the final to get bronze, agonisingly close to silver and a super-fast time. A

    Jake Wightman – looked good in the rounds, just not quite there in the final. B+

    Men's middle distance summary: 1500 great, 800 disappointing.


    Andrew Butchart – ran pretty well in the final. A grudging B+

    Marc Scott – tactically poor to get run out in the semi. Needs to rethink his training pattern. C


    Sam Atkin - DNF. F

    Marc Scott – just not good enough here. D


    Ben Connor – virtually last when he dropped out. F

    Callum Hawkins – was the leading Brit until he dropped out needing medical attention. D

    Chris Thompson - steady run to finish 54th in 2.21. C+

    20km Race Walk

    Tom Bosworth – 25th place. C+

    Callum Wilkinson – a very respectable 10th place. B+

    Men's distance summary:

    3000m Steeplechase

    Phil Norman – dead last in his heat, set a horrible pattern for British athletes. Waste of money sending him. F

    Zak Seddon – made a better effort, just not good enough. C

    110m Hurdles

    Andrew Pozzi – final as much as could be expected. B

    David King - semi, as good as could be expected. B

    High Jump

    Tom Gale – equalled his SB of 2.28 coming back from injury to make the final, didn’t quite match that in the final. Will hopefully progress. B

    Pole Vault
    Harry Coppell – did well to make the final and 5.80 is a strong performance. A-

    Triple Jump

    Ben Williams – poor. 2019 was an outlier of a season for him. F

    Men's jumps summary: mixed.

    Shot Put

    Scott Lincoln – poor. D


    Lawrence Okoye – poor and well below expectations. F


    Taylor Campbell – failed to qualify but still quite a young athlete. Hope for better in the future. D

    Nick Miller – made the final, not great but not awful either. B

    Men's throws summary:

    Last edited by Occasional Hope; 08-08-21, 11:44.

  • #2
    You've missed Revee Walcott-Nolan.


    • Occasional Hope
      Occasional Hope commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, trickstat - knew I'd forgotten someone. Forgot David King too.
      Last edited by Occasional Hope; 08-08-21, 11:42.

    • trickstat
      trickstat commented
      Editing a comment
      She was particularly unlucky to miss going through by 1/100th of a second when you consider she was slightly effected by the incident in which Hassan fell.

  • #3
    So overall a c+ or B-? Our lack of good mens 400nrunners scuppered any chance of another medal in the mixed relay. Look at Poland!


    • Occasional Hope
      Occasional Hope commented
      Editing a comment
      B or B- perhaps. Things certainly improved in the second part of the champs.

  • #4
    I think we need to have realistic expectations and hold people to that. We need to stop with the historical comparisons, because the sport is not the same, for so many reasons. We’re of course elated when people medal and frustrated when people just miss out - but be reasonable…if someone like Lincoln throws well for him but fails to final, that’s about right for where he is.

    The bigger picture stuff (finalists in every event etc) is not for these athletes but the PTB. That requires talent ID (into the sport and into events - how many of our athletes are doing the optimal event for them, how do we know?), coaching pathways, hubs of excellence, competitions like BMC for all events to push competition domestically, people stopping being overly precious about an athlete moving coaches - lots of parts to the jigsaw.


    • #5
      OH, great analysis but you’ve got McKinna totally wrong. 14 days self isolation and a 4kg weight loss isn’t a great build up - most throwers don’t get anywhere near PBs in qualifying and despite that build up she managed to get within 80cm of hers.

      Lincoln I think performed in line with expectations. Wouldn’t say he was poor.


      • drobbie
        drobbie commented
        Editing a comment
        im sure jessie knight was unable to train as well?

      • Occasional Hope
        Occasional Hope commented
        Editing a comment
        In some cases perhaps disappointing means we're disappointed for the athletes rather than by them.

      • Occasional Hope
        Occasional Hope commented
        Editing a comment
        Definitely disappointed by some though, eg Prescod, and I mean his whole build up not just these champs.

    • #6
      I was working on my own 'report card' but our conclusions are very similar, albeit your narratives far superior to what I had written.

      One thing I do want to add, is that i hope that this is a salutary lesson for long distance running in the conditions that somewhere like Tokyo present. Jess Judd was in a very distressed state at the end of the 10000m (were there any water stations mid race? As I dont recall any) and it only reinforces my opinon that there should not have been any 'doubling-up' in the women's distance running, no medal chances were at stake, it was a futile exercise that could have done more harm than good.

      Having said that a couple of minor divergences otherwise pretty much in complete agreement.

      Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake: well below his best. D ... I agree not at his best, but with a lack of alternatives (Gemili injured, Prescod unworthy) he still got the baton to the line for a medal. B-

      Sophie McKinna – failed to qualify, poor. F as Ursus mentioned, extenuating circumstances, C-

      David King - semi, as good as could be expected. B ... I would have hoped for a PB, SB at the very least C
      Last edited by carterhatch; 08-08-21, 13:48.


      • #7
        the other issue I want to raise, is that I read here and elsewhere that some 'big cheese' at UK Athletics wants a representative in every discipline at all senior international events, spreading limited resources for what sort of medal return? Would others rather adopt an Italian model of 5 medals - all golds - from fewer events.


        • Ulster-Scot
          Ulster-Scot commented
          Editing a comment
          don't we already concentrate on fewer events (i.e limited field event representation)? However the mistake we commit is to focus on the track, which has far tougher global participation/competition and hence much more difficult to win medals in

        • trickstat
          trickstat commented
          Editing a comment
          It may be that the limited field event representation is more a result of a lack of coaching at club level in field events rather than a lack of focus on them by UKA.

      • #8
        Actually, one more general point on Covid and the Olympics - all the restrictions helped to prevent the games being derailed. In athletics I think the only medal contender unable to compete was Sam Kendricks?


        • #9
          The only thing I disagree with is your assessment of Nick Miller - he deserves a bit more credit, surely?


          • trevorp
            trevorp commented
            Editing a comment
            And I thought I was a tough marker!

          • Grassmarket
            Grassmarket commented
            Editing a comment
            Maybe we are being tough on Nick Miller, but I think it is realistic to expect more than a good first throw & then no improvement in the next five. That’s not the way medals are won.

          • Ursus
            Ursus commented
            Editing a comment
            Disagree with you there Grassmarket. Firing out a big throw early on is fine and puts immediate pressure on others. Backley for one did it regularly.

            I think he’d also suffered from some injury and he was simply up against some better throwers. On PBs and SBs he finished exactly where we’d have expected. With a clear run I think he’s capable of getting into 80m territory more regularly.

            Check out his Instagram - there’s enough food on there to make Reece Prescod very jealous!

        • #10
          Keely and Laura get distinctions. The only individual A's I'd give are for Jody Williams, Reekie, Bird, Bradshaw and Kerr. Lincoln throwing 20.42 was worth more than a D. Asha Philip after beating Neita in the trials, came up with two lame 11.3's in perfect sprinting coditions, gets an F.


          • MysteryBrick
            MysteryBrick commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't see how Alexandra Bell doesn't get an A - came into the Olympics as a reserve at short notice barely ranked in the top 24 and came 7th in the final in a near 1 second PB.

        • #11
          Apologies, A for Neita as well.


          • #12
            Bell gets a B+. Jodie gets an A because she ran for a medal and Bell in her own words was running, hoping not to finish last.


            • #13
              Originally posted by CAML View Post
              Keely and Laura get distinctions. The only individual A's I'd give are for Jody Williams, Reekie, Bird, Bradshaw and Kerr. Lincoln throwing 20.42 was worth more than a D. Asha Philip after beating Neita in the trials, came up with two lame 11.3's in perfect sprinting coditions, gets an F.
              But she ran well in the relays. Surely a C?


              • #14
                I largely agree with the marks but wondered if people wanted to apply them to the funding…
                podium here

                Podium (16)

                Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie; Blackheath & Bromley)

                Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake; Tonbridge)

                Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson; Blackburn)

                Mo Farah (Gary Lough; Newham & Essex Beagles)

                Adam Gemili (Rana Reider; Blackheath & Bromley)

                Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins; Kilbarchan)

                Sophie Hitchon (Tore Gustafsson; Blackburn)

                Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet)

                Abigail Irozuru (Self-coached; Sale Harriers Manchester)

                Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin; Liverpool)

                Nick Miller (Tore Gustafsson; Border)

                Laura Muir (Andy Young; Dundee Hawkhill)

                Reece Prescod (Mike Holloway; Enfield & Haringey)

                Lynsey Sharp (David Harmer; Edinburgh)

                Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips; Thames Valley)

                Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh)

                obviously some have retired - Mo, Sophie
                of the others Lynsey has to be retained due to the maternity clause. Then I’d keep wightman, Muir, Miller, Kat, zharnel, holly and Dina, bringing in Kerr, hodgkinson, reekie, Williams J and neita. Possibly poZzi - I mean he made the final and has been 60m indoor champ
                Last edited by SprintRelayFan; 08-08-21, 22:35.


                • #15
                  Funding may be a different debate.


                  • jjimbojames
                    jjimbojames commented
                    Editing a comment
                    BBC article says athletics to lose about £1m for the Paris cycle, so savings will need to be made. A good few on the ‘Potential’ list are probably ripe for dropping. Annoying, when some sports are getting increases without success.

                    If Coates’ goals are to be reached, they will need to find even more savings to pay for the new initiatives - unless they can get a lot of sponsorships.

                  • SprintRelayFan
                    SprintRelayFan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Hadn’t seen that, thanks! Yes, potential is over stuffed and relay too

                  • SprintRelayFan
                    SprintRelayFan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I know it shouldn’t follow exactly, hence why I suggested zharnel should stay on, but it’s a reasonable guide I think…