World Championships: Strong semi adds weight to Laura’s medal prospects

Laura Weightman produced a controlled performance before lengthening her stride in the final 100m. PIC: PA
Laura Weightman produced a controlled performance before lengthening her stride in the final 100m. PIC: PA
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Leeds athlete Laura Weightman is determined to make the most of her first World Championships final after running “the race of my life” in yesterday’s 1,500m semi-finals.

Weightman produced a stirling sprint finish to earn fourth place in the third semi and automatic qualification for tomorrow’s final where British team-mate Laura Muir goes in as one of the favourites for gold.

Laura Weightman smiles as she looks at the big screen following her semi-final at the London Stadium. PIC: PA

Laura Weightman smiles as she looks at the big screen following her semi-final at the London Stadium. PIC: PA

Muir underlined her medal potential as she gave an assured performance to finish runner-up in the second semi-final, however fellow Brits Jessica Judd and Sarah McDonald bowed out. The final will also include South African star Caster Semenya, who is running the 1,500m for a first time at a major championships, and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba.

“It’s going to be an exciting race, anything could happen,” said Weightman. “I just want to step off that track knowing I have run my absolute best race. There’s more to come.”

Weightman, who qualified with a time of 4.03.50, has twice made 1,500m finals at the Olympic Games, finishing 11th in London five years ago before a ninth-placed finish at Rio last year. But she has been blighted by injury and misfortune at these championships and Saturday’s race was her first time in a world semi-final.

Her appearance in tomorrow’s final will act as recompense after she was left distraught last November when British Athletics dumped her from performance funding.

But the 25-year-old has come back stronger through the support of Leeds Beckett University.

Weightman, who is coached by former world record holder Steve Cram, added: “I’m really in a good place this year. I am physically strong and I have got that speed. Those two combined, I’m able to run these strong rounds.

“I have a lot left. I have a days’ rest. The crowd in that stadium and the belief I have got this year I think can take me a long way. I’m thrilled to be in the final and hopefully I can be competitive.”

Tomorrow’s session will also include the final of the men’s 110m hurdles, the women’s triple jump and the women’s hammer throw.