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10 Aug 2017

Lake soars into World Championship final

First year psychology student Morgan Lake soared into the women’s high jump final at the London 2017 World Athletics Championships with a confident performance on Thursday evening.

With first time clearances at 1.80m, 1.85 and 1.89m, Lake needed two goes at 1.92m, but in reality made very light work of advancing to the final.

“I am really, really happy. The aim was to make the final today so it is great to do it. I felt that my 1.92m attempt was a really good jump, so I now have time to recover. I knew it was going to be an amazing crowd and an amazing atmosphere but I didn’t realise just how great it would be!

“I am feeling good. I have taken this year out just to focus on high jump so I’m focused on the final. Training with Fuzz Ahmed, Robbie Grabarz and Isobel Pooley up in Loughborough and having that sort of environment has really helped.”

On the track it was also a case of job done for alumnus Jake Wightman, the 1500m man putting on an impressive front running display to qualify for the semi-finals. Leading for the last 800m, Wightman wound up fourth in 3.38.50 to advance to the semis fourth fastest.

“The atmosphere is electric for every single British athlete, there’s a roar which is just unreal. I took it on earlier than I was going to as I knew the other heats were slow, so as long as we ran a decent enough time we’d be alright. I need to rest up for the semis now, as it’s going to be hard!”

Loughborough based Lynsey Sharp was another middle distance runner to advance into the next round, second in her 800m heat. On a night where eight Scottish athletes were in action, Sharp was asked what was making the likes of her and Wightman succeed.

“Everyone keeps asking ‘what do you do in Scotland that makes you so good’. I think it’s off the back of Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] - that was a real legacy and the team next year [for the Gold Coast Games] is going to be so competitive which is good.

“It’s so competitive to make the final here; I’ve just got to take each round as it comes and run tomorrow as a final, that’s all I can do.”

Earlier in the week Sophie Hitchon was the first Loughborough finalist, the Rio 2016 hammer bronze medallist again hoping to climb onto the podium. Having qualified with ease, Hitchon couldn’t quite find the same rhythm as she had on Saturday, eventually having to settle for seventh place with a best throw of 72.32m.

“I think I showed in qualification that I was in good shape, but I just couldn’t find the rhythm from the beginning. The result obviously wasn’t what I wanted but that crowd was absolutely amazing. I am just sorry I couldn’t produce something better for them.”

Another Loughborough based athlete, Danny Talbot, just missed out on place in the men’s 200m final, falling just 0.1 second short. Having run a 20.16 personal best in his heat, Talbot was drawn in an extremely tough semi and couldn’t quite do enough; he’ll now turn his attention to the relay.

In the women’s 400mH MSc student Meghan Beesley made up for an injury ruined season so-far, sealing a spot in the semi-finals and acquitting herself well. After a 56.41 run in the heats, she backed it up with 56.61 in the semis, attacking the race and really giving everything to make the final. In the end it wasn’t to be, but a great effort considering her limited training this year.

“I didn’t think I’d even be here - I hurt my foot in April but I don’t think of that as an excuse. I know that training has been going better, but it’s been a race against time.

“Looking back at it I think I’ll feel happy, but obviously now I’m quite disappointed with myself and feel like there could have been things I did better. I just think I didn’t quite have the zip there. It was always going to be tough running two days back-to-back for me having missed a lot of training, but I thought if I got through this I’d be fine for the final – but I didn’t quite get there.”

Jess Turner has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season, the final year student winning European U23 silver to qualify for London 2017. Lining up at her first senior championships, Turner gave it a good go, but was fractionally short of a semi-final place. She’ll undoubtedly have learnt a lot from the experience, and now has her whole senior career ahead of her.

Beesley and Turner are coached by Loughborough Students Athletics Club coaches Michael Baker and Nick Dakin respectively, so congratulations to them too.

Rosie Clarke also had barriers to contend with as she lined up in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase heats. In torrid conditions, she was in the mix to make the final but unfortunately hit a couple of hurdles, which ultimately halted her progress as she finished ninth.

With Robbie Grabarz and the relay teams still to come, Loughborough past and present are still hoping for a golden moment.

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Pete Matthews
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University