There were two further medals on fantastic final night of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London on Sunday, taking the number of Loughborough medallists for the week to four.
In the final event of a very successful London 2017, Martyn Rooney did a sterling job on his customary final leg, ensuring the British team won 4x400m relay bronze. Handed the baton with work to do, the former Loughborough student ran a great leg, catching, but unable to pass the Trinidadian and American athletes who were out in front.
Having bowed out in the heats of the individual 400m, Rooney got his redemption: “I wish I was in the shape I was in last year because I think I could’ve gone past those guys down the home straight. But it’s still amazing to come away with a medal at our home World Championships. “I’m really proud to be part of this team.”
Just 15 minutes earlier it was a very similar story in the women’s 4x400m relay, alumna Emily Diamond running an outstanding anchor leg to bring the British quartet home for silver medals. Having run the last leg at Rio 2016 when the team won bronze, Diamond was delighted to upgrade that medal to silver, running a quick first 200m to put distance between herself and the chase pack. That was a smart move, as it forced her pursuers to over-commit, meaning the Sports & Exercise Science graduate was never threatened come the home straight.
“We didn’t expect to go to Rio and medal, so it was a new experience. But this year in front of a home crowd, we came in with different expectations. To do this in front of our home crowd is just amazing. We’re getting so much more confident; we noticed yesterday that on certain legs we were coming up on the Americans and we were closing the gap, so we just need to believe in ourselves more.”
In the men’s high jump final, former student Robbie Grabarz equalled current student Morgan Lake’s performance from the previous night as he finished sixth. Having won bronze in the same stadium in 2012, the British record holder wanted more, but eventually bowed out at 2.29m. In the women’s 800m Loughborough based Lynsey Sharp ran sub 1.59, a truly world class time, but had to settle for eighth.
On the penultimate night there was medal success for both British teams in the 4x100m relays, Loughborough based Asha Philip and Danny Talbot getting on the rostrum.
For Talbot, who has been part of the GB sprint relay team for six years, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, but it has all been worth it now he can call himself a world champion. Having looked good in the heats, the Brits stretched their check marks in the final and it paid off as they ran the third fastest time ever to take gold.
In the women’s equivalent no one could stop the American’s, but a strong opening leg from Asha Philip put the team on track for a medal, eventually winning silver [pictured above], one better than the bronze they won in Rio.
In total 19 Loughborough athletes were in action at the IAAF World Championships, including five current students. Amongst those first year psychology student Morgan Lake was the star, placing sixth in a tight women’s high jump final. Jess Judd and Meghan Beesley made the 1500m and 400mH semi-finals, whilst David Omoregie and Jess Turner made their World Championship debuts in the 110mH and 400mH respectively.
A month earlier at the World Para Athletics Championships, Loughborough linked athletes won nine medals, seven of them gold, thanks to outstanding performances from Jonnie Peacock, Sophie Hahn, Richard Whitehead, Stef Reid, Hollie Arnold, Olivia Breen, and Jonathan Broom-Edwards. Incredibly there were also three world records, two for Hahn and one for Arnold.
For more information on Loughborough’s success at London 2017 head to www.lboro.ac.uk/london2017
Report courtesy of Loughborough University