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.
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.