World Athletics 2011: More medals to come from Great Britain

ATHLETICS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2011

Venue:
Daegu, South Korea
Date:
27 August - 4 September
Coverage:
BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online (UK only), daily video highlights on BBC Sport website (UK only); live text commentaries; watch live on Channel 4
Jessica Ennis

On Wednesday's rest day at the World Championships, I hoped Great Britain's performances would improve and they did so in great style on Thursday with two more medals - including a first gold - to add to the three won so far.

Dai Greene stood tall under pressure to win his first world medal in the 400m hurdles. He talked the talk before coming to Daegu - and put pressure on himself in doing so - but then walked the walk. To keep that confidence and belief coming down the home straight was very impressive.

Hannah England ran a really credible, calm and quietly confident race to take a surprise 1500m silver. Some critics will say she was not positive enough to win but I thought it was a clever strategy to hug the inside line, take the shortest route and use her strong finish to secure a place on the podium.

On Thursday morning, Mo Farah looked good in qualifying for the 5,000m final, answering the question many people had as to whether he would be able physically to recover from Sunday's 10,000m, after which he limped off to collect his silver medal.

Chris Tomlinson has his knee heavily strapped but made it through to the long jump final and, once you have secured a place in a final, you can take the handbrake off and just go for it.

And three women made it through to the semi-finals of the 800m, with Jenny Meadows looking particularly good, weeks after a fantastic race at Crystal Palace in which she obliterated the rest of a world-class field.

Phillips Idowu has to qualify on Friday for Sunday's triple jump final, where he will be under the kosh with two Americans, Christian Taylor and Will Claye, looking in great shape. He had a disappointing performance at Crystal Palace but sometimes that can work in your favour and give you a bit of a reality check.

Great Britain's men qualified for the 4x400m relay final with a time of just over three minutes. Put Dai Greene in there and they could improve by a second or so, which would put them in the mix for a medal.

After the disappointment of her false start in the individual event, Christine Ohuruogu will come back with a point to prove in the relay, and in the sprint relays anything could happen.

Goldie Sayers qualified for the javelin final with her second attempt, which she felt was her best throw of the season and ranked her sixth.

Goldie finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics, which shows her ability to deliver under pressure. Having put herself among the contenders for a medal, she could jump out of the pack and take one, something that happened to Andy Turner in the 110m hurdles on Monday night.

While commentating on 5 live I have been extremely positive about many athletes' efforts - especially those of Jessica Ennis, Mo and Andy, who won the first medals.

But, when analysing performance, you must be realistic in self-appraisal. This is the first and most crucial step in developing a performance culture. If you know where you are, then where you want to go, you will know how you are going to get there.

If athletes are under-performing, they must admit it and - as a commentator - I must say it.

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Turner in disbelief after World bronze

Going into Wednesday's rest day, of the 30 or so British athletes who had competed, 19 did not deliver. I will (reluctantly) give the benefit of the doubt to five others because of inexperience.

Six GB athletes, I feel, performed and did themselves justice in the first half of the event.

I was quoted on Tuesday as saying the GB team had had "a shocker" but I want to make clear that my statement was in reply to a specific question asked around the overall performances of the team other than medallists, and at the halfway stage.

I also made the observation that very few of the team so far had brought their season's best performances to these championships.

That doesn't have to be a season's best distance or time - the swirling winds and headwinds we've seen at times this week can affect that - but you have got to be the best you have been all year.

Martin Rooney was knocked out in the semi-finals of the 400m but recorded a season's best time. That is the sort of performance culture we have to encourage. He was one of very few.

Of the five GB 100m sprinters - men and women - and the three women in the 400m, none performed to their best and Lisa Dobriskey will be disappointed having failed to make the 1500m final.

During my career, I messed up at championships. The worst thing you can hear afterwards is "you did fine" because if you are not brutally honest about where you are, you can't see the elephant in the room and work out how to kick him out of the door.

Having missed out on gold because of a poor javelin, Jessica Ennis will go out and fix it. I'd encourage her to practice it every day, make friends with it. She is a champion, and that is the way champions go to work. Others would do well to follow her example.

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