Greatest British performances of 2013

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As the 2013 Track and Field season draws to an end with only one diamond league event remaining, we will look back on some of the outstanding performances by British athletes over the summer.

Prior to Olympic year, the world championships in truth didn’t provide the same “athletics buzz” as it did in London, but that was almost a formality. However, most disappointingly was the lack of crowd capacity and atmosphere throughout the main global championships of the year. An example of this came from the marathon where the streets were bare as the athletes trudged around the lonely 26 mile course.

In the space of a year, some of the British Olympic successes have had to face many of their own personal battles, some not making it to the games. Names including Olympic Heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and 1500m runner Ross Murray even spent a whole year nursing their injury problems. Along with this, Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, Andrew Osagie and Eilish McColgan all had injury setbacks coming into the world championships.

Performances could go one of two ways for British athletes. There would either be a moral boost in the camp with such a successful and inspiring games already under their belt, or there would be a slump in motivation levels after some already achieved their life time goals.

After winning six athletics medals at the Olympics, Great Britain achieved a similar feat by winning three gold and two bronze medals despite some of their big names missing.

10. Sophie Hitchon

At number 10 is young Hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon. By throwing a personal best of 72.97 and topping the all-time list by almost four meters, there is no doubt in the talent that the young 22 year old Blackburn Harrier possesses. She also won the England and European U23 Championships but was eliminated in the qualifying rounds in Moscow.

9. Perri Shakes-Drayton

At number 9 is Perri Shakes-Drayton. As reliable as ever to give her best for her country, Peri Shakes-Drayton has had yet another fantastic season, breaking Personal Bests in the 200m 400m and 400m Hurdles. After becoming 2nd fastest all time Brit in the hurdles with 53.67 and 7th all-time in the 400m she has solidified her place as one of the British greats over one lap. Along with this came victories in the European Team Championships and British Championships and the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix. Unfortunately Drayton picked up and injury in the final of which she would have hoped to medal in, but overall it has been a successful season from the London athlete.

8. Shara Proctor

At number 8 we have Britain’s leading long jump woman Shara Proctor who has had a range of consistent performances this year following wins in the Oslo and Zurich Diamond Leagues, third at the European championships and a British Championships gold. Proctor also finished 6th at the world championships, her highest major championship finish after coming 9th at the Olympics.

7. Andrew Osagie

At number 7 is a man who will overall be disappointed with his season after having such a successful summer last year at the Olympics. But Andrew Osagie, one of Britain’s leading 800m athletes still makes the list after such a brilliant performance at the World Championships, especially considering the lack of training he had in the build-up. Before suffering a hamstring injury, Osagie looked lack lustre compared to the 2012 season which allowed him to feature in the fastest all-time 800m final at the Olympics. But when injury struck at the diamond league in Paris, it looked to be season over, especially when rival Michael Rimmer held claim to the fastest athlete in Britain of 2013. But rather than Rimmer, it was Osagie who somewhat eased through the heat and semi-final rounds to finish 5th in the final of the world championships ahead of the world’s fastest athlete this year, Duane Solomon. With such mature performances, who knows what Osagie will be able to achieve with an injury free preparation at next year’s Commonwealth Games.

6. Jessica Judd

At number six is yet another British youngster taking her first steps on the big stage of global athletics. Young Jessica Judd at 18 has had a season she will not forget. With the highs and lows she has had to endure as well as many pressures outside of athletics such as studying for her A level exams, she has faced this season with bundles of confidence and maturity. After becoming the leading 800m runner in the country, Judd has been able to mix it up against the best in the world, mostly coming out on top. After frequently expressing how nervous she has been, her performances have been quite the opposite as she has expressed bravery, determination and a nothing to lose attitude. By winning the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix in a personal best of 1.59.85 against world class opposition and winning at the European Team Championships she has solidified herself as a household name. Unfortunately the World Championships were a disappointment as she was dumped out in the heats, but with many years ahead in her career, we have certainly seen signs of a future world champion.

5. James Dasaolu

At number five we have British sprint star James Dasaolu who has had a huge breakthrough year in 2013. After going second all-time for British 100m running with 9.91 he has now gained a place in British athletics history amongst the likes of Linford Christie. After achieving his milestone time in the semi-finals of the British world trials, Dasaolu opted out of the final, but finished a respectable 8th against world class opposition in Moscow.  We hope to see James Dasaolu medalling at a major championship next year.

4. Katrina Johnson-Thompson

At number four is another Great Britain youngster with the potential to reach the very top. Branded as a future world champion with the potential to de-throne Jessica Ennis-Hill, Liverpool’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson has taken the expectation in her stride as she had a fantastic summer in Moscow. After finishing 5th with a point’s total of 6449, this puts her ahead of Ennis as a 20 year old. Thompson broke 4 PB’s, including a gutsy 800m run on the final night as she appears to be going from strength to strength. From an athletics fans perspective, Katarina Johnson-Thompson has a very bright and exciting future ahead of her.

3. Adam Gemili

Ranked at number three is Great Britain’s sprint prodigy Adam Gemili after running a sensational 19.98 in the semi-finals of the Moscow world championships. At just 19 years old, Gemili becomes only the second Brit ever to break the 20 second barrier after John Regis ran the all-time record of 19.84 in 1994. After finishing 5th in the final, Britain should be getting excited at the potential he possesses.  With bundles of talent and a clear desire to be the best he can be, who knows how far Gemili can go in 2014 and beyond, let’s just hope the British media don’t put him on a pedestal too soon!

2. Christine Ohuruogu

At number two comes the famous victory from Christine Ohuruogu at the World championships. The former 400m Olympic champion and national treasure battled all the way to the line, as she always does to win by a hair in dramatic fashion. Following the heartbreak of coming second in the Olympics, Ohuruogu came back with a point to prove to herself. But it looked virtually impossible as she sat in 5th with 100m to go, but she believed all the way to the line as she agonisingly worked her way to the front, beating Amantle Montsho in a new British record time. In a tear jerking medal ceremony we saw Ohuruogu bear her famous modest grin as the culmination of her hard work and struggle ended in fairy tale fashion on a Moscow summer night.

1. Mo Farah

But staying true to his form of last season, it is double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah who easily tops the top ten list with a number of outstanding performances in this summer’s track season. Never phased, never nervous and never even a hint of fatigue going into races, Farah has again this year given the hope to thousands of athletes worldwide that dreams can come true. Coming off an early season defeat to Edwin Soi, he hasn’t looked back since, after simply dominating distance events at the very top of the sport. His main highlights include such a huge diversity ranging from his 1500m personal best of 3.28 to his marathon preparations at the London marathon. This is also backed by his 50 second last lap finish in Gateshead which struck fear into his opponents all around the world. Another double this year at 10k and 5k surely means that now all Mo needs is a world record to etch his name amongst the legends of the sport.

Notable Mentions

Athletes who also deserve a mention after just missing out on making the top ten is 1500m athlete Chris O’Hare after having a breakthrough season in his first major championship by making the final at Moscow, Eilish McColgan for winning the British Championships and finishing 10th in the World Championships over 3000m steeplechase despite a whole year disrupted with a shin injury and Jamie Bowie for running more than a full second faster than his 400m individual PB on his international 4x400m debut.

Special congratulations must be given to all athletes, coaches and families who have all strived improve and raise the standard of British athletics in 2013.