IT was a bittersweet evening in the Luzhniki Stadium for Scotland’s Eilidh Child as she finished fifth in the World Championships final but it could have been so much more for the 400 metres hurdler.
Child crossed the line in 54.86seconds, over half a second down on her personal best that she set earlier this season and which would have been good enough for bronze.
The 26-year-old looked in good shape going through the rounds in Moscow along with fellow Brit Perri Shakes-Drayton and the duo were much fancied to challenge the podium positions.
But Child, who was running in lane eight in the final, struggled with her stride pattern down the back straight before finishing strongly to claim fifth while Shakes-Drayton was seventh.
And Child admitted that she had let a medal opportunity slip though her fingers as defending champion Lashinda Demus took bronze 0.05 slower than her personal best in 54.27.
“It feels a bit bittersweet just now,” said Child. “If you had told me I would finish fifth in the worlds then I would have taken it but that was not my best race.
“I didn’t execute it that well and seeing what got medals I think I could have been up there. But it’s the third race in four days and sometimes the legs don’t have it. So I’m happy to have come fifth and hopefully I can get on the podium next time. I lost my stride a bit on the back straight and felt I was trying to fight back the whole way.
“However it had been the home straight I struggled with in the heats and semi-finals. So, if I can just combine the two, it would be a better race,” added the Perth athlete.
Shakes-Drayton, the reigning European indoor champion over the flat 400m, had qualified second fastest for the final. And, while Hungary’s Zuzana Hejnova cruised to the gold medal to cap off a remarkable unbeaten season, Shakes-Drayton faded terribly to finish seventh.
Child was full of sympathy for her team-mate, who relegated her to silver at the European indoors over 400m earlier this year, after her disappointment.
“For anybody who knows Perri that was not her out there, there was obviously something wrong,” she added.
“She wanted to get on that podium more than anything and I think there might have been a problem with her knee but she’s a strong cookie.
“Perri should be proud of what she’s done this year, she’s had a great year with the indoors and the Diamond League.”
Shakes-Drayton herself admitted afterwards that a knee injury before the race had left her hobbling by the time she reached the finish line. And, with both Child and Shakes-Drayton hoping to be involved in the British women’s 4x400m relay squad this weekend the duo will be hoping her injury is not too serious.
“In the race it felt like my knee was wobbling and doing something it should not have been doing,” said Shakes-Drayton, who went for an MRI scan straight after the race. I am gutted obviously, I was doing so well and feeling so good but I was just not in that race. It happened before I clattered into the hurdle.
“I was like ‘Oh God, please hold on’ because I was still pushing. I was just losing control I don’t know what is wrong.”
In stark contrast, Scot Jamie Bowie admitted he had to pinch himself to make sure he was not dreaming after helping Great Britain’s 4x400m relay team into the final.
A surprise selection for just the worlds themselves, the shocks kept coming as Bowie was selected in the quartet for the heats helping Britain through to the final in 3:00.50minutes.
Bowie did not look overawed by the occasion in the Luzhniki Stadium, quite the opposite, as he ran the third leg and put in the joint fastest split time, unofficially clocked at 44.80 seconds.
“It was my first senior international and it was the World Championships as well so I came in not really expecting a run,” said Bowie.
“But I did some really good training out in the Barcelona holding camp and there I was, out in the third leg in the heat.
“I just really wanted to push myself and make sure I didn’t let the team down because the rest of them are all experienced guys and it is a big step up for me and there was a lot of pressure.”
Fellow Scot Laura Muir also enjoyed success making it through to the 800m semi-finals but there was disappointment for Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz.
He had to settle for eighth in the high jump final after clearing just 2.29 metres with the gold going to Bohdan Bondarenko in a Championship record of 2.41m.
Former world silver medallist Hannah England just missed out on the podium places as well in the 1,500m final in fourth while Jodie Williams bowed out in the semi-finals of the 200m.
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