This is Stuart Weir’s piece on Team GBR and their medal count.
British Medal quest
UK Government funding of sport is medals-driven. Sports are set medal targets which have to be reached to secure the following year’s funding. RunBlogRun understands that the GB medal target for this week is seven, one more than the six obtained in 2017. Two years ago the six medals were won by Mo Farah (two) and relays (4). Seven was always going to be a tall order in Doha.
Dina Asher-Smith has taken over the mantle of Farah, winning the 200m and coming second in the 100m to deliver 2 medals. Katarina Johnson-Thompson took gold in the heptathlon. And the two sprint relay teams delivered, both silver, but there the medal count ended.
Now it is an obvious thing to say that regarding third place is success and fourth place as a disaster is nonsense, but that is how medal counts work. There were three individual fourth place finishes:
Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault
Adam Gemili’s in the men’s 200m
Callum Hawkins in the Marathon
All of these were magnificent achievements. On another day, one or two of them might have sneaked into the medals. There were two fourth places in the relays – 4 by 400 Mixed and women’s*. Both were in contention for third place but could not quite full it off.
Good performances don’t stop at fourth. Jake Weighman and Josh Kerr were fifth and sixth in the 1500m, part of a group of five chasing two medals on the finishing straight, but not quite able to get there. Laura Muir, after 10 weeks off with injury ran 3:55 in the women’s 1500m, a great performance but on the day only good enough for fifth. Zharnel Hughes’ sixth in the 100m was a disappointment. On the other hand Tom Bosworth, seventh in the 20km race walk and Laura Weightman seventh in the 5000m seemed outstanding performances.
As with any major championship, some athletes over-achieved. Others under-achieved. Some gained valuable experience, others found out that they are no longer the power they once were. One thing emerged clearly – with Tokyo in mind – just how hard it is to win a medal on the world stage. GB makes a massive investment in Track and Field but that does not guarantee medals.
*Britain won either five or six medals according to when you count! The women’s 4 by 400 finished fourth; then Jamaica were DQed – GB in the medal position; then Jamaica are reinstated, GB lose the medal; GB appeal the appeal and lose. Medal count stays at 5 but what a farce.