Doha world athletics championships: Five things we learned on Day 6
A champion falls. A new king arises who hails his awesome parents. And Jamaica appropriates a British treasure.
Finish the mission
The review loves some of the phrases athletes bandy about. “Finish the mission” has been heard along with “laser focus” which to us sounds like a training course for Imperial Stormtroopers. Star wars on day six brought some surprises. Omar McLeod, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles, went supernova in the final. The Jamaican said he felt a tweak in his hamstrings after the first hurdle but managed to continue. However there was a meltdown at the end when he hit a hurdle, strayed into the lane of Orlando Ortega and fell. The Spaniard, who was looking good for a medal, was sufficiently impeded and finished fifth. McLeod picked himself up to cross the line but was disqualified. Mission terminated.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde broke down and cried in front of reporters. The cameras got the shots. And the review didn’t ask: “Are you sad because you got the bronze?” His was France’s first medal of the championships. “There’s enough pressure when you come into a major event,” he said. “And then you’ve got everyone criticising the athletes saying they’re not going to win anything – that’s even more of a load on your back.” Martinot-Lagarde clearly benefited from Omar McLeod’s hamstring blowout. “I was fourth at the world championships four years ago and fourth at the Olympic Games in 2016. Now I’ve got the bronze medal. It’s the smallest of the medals but it is big for me.”
We are family
Grant Holloway from the United States won the 110 metres hurdles and burst into tears on the track. Why? “So many people bailed out on me when I wasn’t running well,” the 21-year-old told the review in the interview zone. “But my inner circle didn’t. My dad is awesome. My mom is awesome … there she is … come over and meet her …”
We really are family
Latasha Holloway was given a huge hug and the tears flowed as dad Stan joined the throng. Holloway fils was dragged away to extol the wondrous awesomes and to go through doping. “I usually don’t tear up,” Holloway père told the review. “But when he crossed the line, it got me this time. I’m a proud dad, proud father, proud coach. For me to teach him hurdles from an early age … to be hard on him knowing that he can be great. It all makes sense to him now. He’s a humble kid and even if he wasn’t mine, I’d say: ‘Wow, that’s a good humble kid.’”
Take and give
Grant Holloway is managed by the former sprinter John Regis. He’s got a few medals himself. Regis ran the third leg for the British 4 × 400 m relay team at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo where they edged the United States to win gold. Once he was out of the Holloway hugfest, we spoke about Dina Asher-Smith who had just become the first Briton to claim a world championships sprint gold. Not that you’d know it so vocal was the Jamaican support for her. The 23-year-old – born in south-east London to JAMAICAN parents - claimed the 200m in a British national record time of 21.88 seconds. It will shine with her silver from the 100m. “I’ve known Dina since she was little,” he said. “She’s done all the right things and works her socks off. It’s a great achievement.” Imperialism becomes so much clearer now.
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