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Team GB have work to do before 2012

MADE HIS POINT: Mo Farah claimed gold in Daegu

The Voice of Sport looks at Great Britain's highs and lows at the athletics World Championships

THE WORLD athletics championships in Daegu combined triumph and frustration for Team GB & Northern Ireland as the nation enjoyed one of its most successful championships.

Gold medal successes for the superb Mo Farah and Dai Greene have been billed as springboards for success in London next year, while mildly disappointing silvers for Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu will be utilised as warnings against any complacencies or deficiencies ahead of the Olympics.

Farah’s triumph in the 5,000m deserves to be remembered as one of the highlights of the competition coming as it did just a week after he was pipped to 10,000m gold by Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan.

The Somali-born Londoner channelled his 10,000m frustration into his assault on the 5,000m and was able to hold off the challenge of America’s Bernard Lagat and Ethiopia’s Imane Merga to cross the line first in a time of 13 minutes, 23.26 seconds.

Some wondered how European champion Farah would cope when pitting himself against the East African long-distance masters in intense competition but his move to Oregon earlier this year to work with coach Alberto Salazar has drawn greater performances from the ever-smiling Farah.

Welsh hurdler Dai Greene overcame two aborted starts in the 400m hurdles final to blow away stiff competition from Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson and South Africa’s LJ Van Zyl to claim gold in 48.26 seconds.

Greene was the least celebrated of Britain’s gold medal hopefuls arriving in Daegu, a curious situation given his position as reigning European and Commonwealth Champion.

Not that he is low on self-belief. Greene predicted his own triumph and intends to claim another gilded finish in Stratford.

Greene and Farah’s golds offset the sprint frustrations of Christine Ohuruogu and Dwain Chambers, who were disqualified for false-starts, and the failure of any other Brit to make the final of an individual sprint event in Daegu.

A desertion of luck saw Britain’s 4x100m relay team drop the baton in their final, while a heartbroken Tiffany Porter, who ran a British record 12.56 seconds in her 100m hurdles semi-final, clipped the penultimate hurdle in the final to finish outside the medals.


DISAPPOINTMENT: Jessica Ennis failed to deliver

Solace was provided by the successes Andy Turner and Hannah England. Turner was awarded a bittersweet bronze in the 110m hurdles when world record holder Dayron Robles was stripped of his gold for touching the 2007 world champion Liu Xiang.

Of the four British silvers in Daegu only Hannah England’s in the 1,500m was greeted enthusiastically.

The 24-year-old, competing in her first global championships, found herself penned in until her storming finish took her past Spain’s Natalia Rodriguez into second place. England was gaining on American gold medallist Jennifer Barringer Simpson but finish line bestowed silver upon the shocked but ecstatic Oxford native.

If England surprised onlookers with her silver, Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu were reminded of the hard work that lies ahead if they are to fulfil their Olympic ambitions.

The 2009 World Champion heptathlete Ennis was reminded that beating your nearest opponent in five of seven events is futile if you perform as badly as she did in the javelin to hand Russia’s Tatyana Chernova gold.

The Sheffield athlete’s 6,751 points beat her gold-winning performance in 2009 and logged her third-best career performance but still fell short of her Russian opponent. Nonetheless Ennis has it in her armoury to usurp Chernova next summer.

A more daunting prospect awaits Idowu, who relinquished his world triple-jump title. The 32-year-old twice beat his season’s best in Daegu, taking the lead with 17.77m, but had to settle for silver behind American 21-year-old Christian Taylor, who leaped a masterful 17.96m.

Idowu, who had emerged from the shadow of compatriot Jonathan Edwards and Sweden’s Christian Olsson in the 2000s, now finds himself up against an improving youngster who appears to have an 18-metre jump in his locker.

Team GB & Northern Ireland claimed seven medals and to finish a respectable seventh in the final medals table behind the traditional athletics powerhouses. Their haul met the target set by head coach Charles van Commenee and augurs well for next year’s Olympics.

Indeed, with better luck and renewed application the London Games could prove even more successful for Britain’s track and field hopefuls.

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