Lynsey Sharp endured a torrid couple of hours before learning that she will indeed take her place in tomorrow night’s women’s 800 metres final.
The 27-year-old Scot was dramatically disqualified from her semi-final, in which she finished fourth, for an alleged push on Charlene Lipsey of the USA, who finished third in the race, near the finish line.
With only the top two qualifying automatically, Sharp was already facing an anxious wait to see if her time of 1:59.47 would be good enough to secure her one of the fastest loser spots.
Nerves turned to desolation, however, with the news that she had received a DQ against her name after a frantic finish to the second of three semi-finals.
To rub salt in the wound, the third semi was slow, won outside two minutes, which meant Sharp knew she would have been in the final, despite finishing behind gold medal favourite Caster Semenya, the fast-finishing Pole Angelina Cichocka and Lipsey.
A tearful Sharp was led away from waiting press reporters but spoke to the BBC and said: “As far as I’m concerned, I can’t remember anything different to any other race I’ve been in. I can’t remember doing anything. There have definitely been times I’ve been affected more than I affected anyone in that race. I’ll definitely have to go back and look at it with British Athletics [in terms of an appeal against the DQ].
“I’ve been in a lot of scrappy races this year and would put my hands up and say I did something, but I honestly can’t remember anything.”
Sharp appeared to lock arms and push Lipsey in a desperate lunge but just before 9.30pm it was announced that the British Athletics appeal had been upheld, with the ruling that any infringement took place beyond a stage where it affected the outcome of the result. Sharp was warned about her conduct in the race.
The Commonwealth silver-medallist added: “[I spoke to Lipsey and] she just said she got hit a couple of times but so did I. I got kicked in the heats – it’s part of middle distance running. Coming into the finish I was definitely reaching for the line I was so desperate to get there I would have dived across the line, I was ready to hit the floor. I didn’t intentionally run into her or hit her arm or anything.”
Sharp’s GB team-mates Shelayna Oskan-Clarke and Adelle Tracey were both eliminated.
Meanwhile, in the unforgiving world of track and field, where aches, pains and niggles are just a way of life, the Holy Grail of the athlete is to have a prolonged period of peak fitness which provides the platform to produce optimum performance.
That is the happy place 26-year-old Chris O’Hare finds himself in and, after impressively securing himself a spot in tomorrow’s men’s 1,500m final, he made no bones about the fact he is going for gold.
The British champion finished a comfortable fourth in the second semi-final, with fellow Scot Jake Wightman missing out after an eighth-place in the first.
“No-one is going into that final without expecting to win the gold medal, and I am no different,” said the West Linton man, who is in the form of his life.
O’Hare is flying after a full winter’s training, good blocks spent in Arizona and Font Romeu, and a superb season on the track, winning the British trials and posting excellent runs on the Diamond League circuit.
“I feel like my race management has always been there or thereabouts. It’s just about running smooth, being happy where I was and having some gears left and that’s how I felt,” said O’Hare. “I feel like I’ve not had a year like this ever before. It’s great for me to just come in healthy and happy.
“I think it’s the most deeply rooted confidence I’ve ever had.”