Brits in Brussels

There was a gold representation of British athletes in the Memorial van Damme in Brussels.  The performance of the night was Laura Muir’s victory in the 1500m.  See separate post.  As there had been in the World Championship, three and a half British athletes were in the race. In a race where the top nine finished under 4 minutes, Katie Snowden was fifth in 3:58.03, and Melissa Courtney-Bryant was seventh in 3:58.09.  Melissa and Katie were then on a Saturday morning flight to New York for Sunday’s Fifth Avenue mile.  2022 winner Laura Muir is not defending her title, keeping her spikes dry for the Diamond League final next weekend. By the way, the half is Ciara Mageean from Northern Ireland, who runs for NI in the Commonwealth Games but for Ireland in all other championships!

Another busy athlete is Andy Butchart, who was sixth in the 10K in 28:11.60.  On Sunday, he goes in the  Great North Run (half marathon).  He told me it had been a late decision but that he really wanted to be part of Mo Farah’s last race. Andy plans now to move up to marathon running.

Zharnel Hughes ran his second-fastest-ever 200m, finishing second behind Kenny Bednarek in 19.80. Zharnel told me he was delighted with the time as he was still trying to shake off the effects of the flu, saying: “I am actually very happy with my second place today; I came really close, but to be honest, I´m just very happy. I´m still recovering from the flu this week. I still don´t feel 100%, so I´m happy I was able to run today. I wasn´t sure if I would be able to. But I´m definitely going to go to Eugene and give it my best. I hope to win there!”

In the women’s 400m, Victoria Ohuruogu was fourth in 50.81, with Laviai Nielsen sixth in 50.84, one-hundredth of a second off her PR. Five years ago, Laviai showed great potential but has not built on it as one might have expected.  Hopefully, a good winter will see her getting closer to the 50-second mark.

In the men’s 400, Lewis Davey, running in his first Diamond League outside of England, was sixth in 45.82, his first sub-46 run.  It has been a whirlwind month for Davey as he followed two relay medals in Budapest with a PR in Brussels.  He described his performance in Brussels as “Solid. I was in lane 7, so I knew I had to get out hard, and I just tried to track down the guy outside of me and then pick up a few guys in the home straight”.  He added: “This year has been a bit of a crazy with a couple hamstring issues at the start of the year, two world two world medals, and now first 45 – even if I left it to the last race of the season”.

In the men’s 800, there were, to use Lewis Davey’s words, two “solid” British performances.  Daniel Rowden was fourth in 1:44.12, and World championship bronze medallist Ben Pattison was fifth in 1:44.32, with Bryce Hoppel and Wyclife Kinyamal behind them. Rowden told me: “It was a solid race, and I am happy to be in another Diamond league – a wonderful opportunity to race against some very good guys.  My legs were a bit tired after all the travel. I gave it my best but got a bit stuck on the home straight, but I am happy with a fourth-place finish in a Diamond League”.

Dina Asher-Smith was third in the 100m in 10.97 in the women’s sprints, behind Elaine Thompson-Herah and Natasha Morrison. In the official flash quote, Dina said: “It was a bit of a frustrating season for me. I started really well, and I ran 10.85 in London, which was special for me. I felt really confident about the world championships, but unfortunately, I didn´t deliver there. But that´s how it goes. I was keen on finishing this season at a high level and am satisfied with the result today. I know that I´m in a good place and know what I´m capable of, so I´m excited to run fast in Eugene next week”.

She added that in Budapest, she had been hampered by an injury, which had been very frustrating.

 In the 200m, Darryl Neita was fourth in 22.59, a disappointing time but it has been a season of great improvement in the 200m for her.

Jess Judd-Warner was sixth in the 5000m in PR of 14:51.53, improving her previous best by over 5 seconds. Your correspondent has to confess to not spotting it at the time and, therefore, failing to speak to her.

The following British athletes were listed but did not start: Matt Hudson-Smith (400), Sam Atkin (10k), Aimee Pratt (5K), and Elliot Giles (2K).   I have no information as to why.

See my video interviews with British athletes

Dina Asher-Smith

Laura Muir

Lewis Davey

Zharnel Hughes