Shara Proctor captures a silver medal as Team GB sparkle
Great Britain enjoyed a record-breaking night at the World Championships in Beijing as Shara Proctor leapt over seven metres en route to long jump silver and Dina Asher-Smith became the world’s fastest ever teenager over 200 metres.
The seventh day at the Bird’s Nest always looked like it could be a memorable one for the British team and it did not disappoint.
Proctor added to Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford’s gold medals with a wonderful display in the long jump, jumping over seven metres for the first and second time in her career.
The best of those efforts came in the third round and that 7.07 metres leap looked enough for gold, only for Tianna Bartoletta to manage a world-leading 7.14m with her last attempt.
“I don’t know what to feel, I’m speechless but I’m happy most of all,” Proctor said, having extended her own national record by nine centimetres.
“It’s my fifth champs, I finally got on the podium. It’s a silver medal but I still feel like a winner.
“It’s been a long ride. I was on crutches last year at this time (for four weeks after a quadricep injury at the Commonwealth Games).
“I had to learn to walk, I had to learn to run and today I just threw it all together and finally executed.”
British team-mates Lorraine Ugen and Katarina Johnson-Thompson came fifth and 11th,respectively, in a long jump final which ended just before Asher-Smith set a third 200m personal best in as many days.
It was yet another remarkable display from the 19-year-old history student, whose time of 22.07 seconds saw her finish fifth and break Kathy Cook’s 31-year-old British record by three hundredths of a second.
Asher-Smith certainly looks in good shape a year out from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, underlined by the fact her time saw her usurp American great Allyson Felix as the quickest teenage 200m sprinter ever.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” she said, as always, with a smile. “I’ve run three PBs three days in a row and ended with a 22.07 which is also a British record, so I’m a really, really happy girl.
“But to be in a race when two of the girls were running 21.6, I was thinking ‘I know I’m really trying my best but they’re already gone so what on earth is the time going to be’.
“So when I crossed the line, if you see any pictures of me, I was just open mouthed because 21.6 one and two is absolutely amazing and VCB (Veronica Campbell-Brown) was running sub-22, all the medals sub-22. I’m flabbergasted, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Holland’s Dafne Schippers led home the 200m field in a championship record time of 21.63 — becoming the third fastest woman ever after Florence Griffith-Joyner and Marion Jones — while Danielle Williams of Jamaica produced a 12.57 personal best to secure 100m hurdles gold.
That was a time well within the reach of Tiffany Porter, but the American-born British athlete struggled to find her rhythm and could only cross the line in fifth.
“I’m going to have to go back and look at the race,” she said.
“I think I was in a good position, but I just didn’t really execute my last couple of hurdles and that’s what happens in terms of athletics.
“I’m just going to grow from this, you have to brush yourself off and do better next time and I will be back next year stronger.”
Schippers, the first European to win a major sprint title for over a decade and the fastest ever white woman over 200m, insisted she was running clean at an event in which the build-up was overshadowed by a spate of doping allegations.
“I’m a very happy with my time, at my moment,” the former heptathlete said. “I can’t believe it at this moment.
“I know I am clean and I know I work very hard for it.”
Schippers’ coach Bart Bennema says that doubt should not extend to his athlete and nor should anything be read into her acne — a side-effect associated with doping.
“If you walk down the street in Holland, I can point out 10 girls her age with that skin,” he said. “Sometimes you have bad skin.”