“Dai-gu” was the renamed South Korean city where GB’s Dai Greene’s momentum from 2010 propelled him to World Champs gold and where Mo Farah achieved world elite level: Jess Ennis triumphed too but had to wait 5 years for validation as a defending champion.
When the Daegu IAAF World Champs was announced most people searched the map to locate the venue and proof that it was not a well visited place was that the athletes had to be accommodated in a purpose built Athletes Village – to later be sold as private apartments – as the city had so few conventional hotels. T&FT had visited well in advance and secured hotel rooms before the very limited supply had gone and thereafter international fans only had “no service love hotels” as an option! Prior to the group travelling from Seoul to Daegu all clients had a brief or extended stay in the South Korean capital and many visited the De-Militarized Zone at the border with North Korea for an intriguing experience. Whilst most clients travelled south to Daegu on the bullet train others had an extended South Korea Bus Tour. All in all the event became one of the more memorable experiences that T&FT has been involved with including an especially fun T&FT Supporters Party with local musicians, dancers and a choreographed karate display: this show and excellent food was shared with Goldie Sayers, Holly Bradshaw and Sophie Hitchon representing the GB team. The South Koreans were friendly and generous hosts in and outside of the venue as we shared their very well run event – that the stadium finish line seats, that the majority of our clients had booked, included access to the VIP and sponsors hospitality area with non-stop food and drink did play its part in this appreciation too it must be said!
In the stadium the track and field fayre was good too with medals continuing to be being won by athletes from an ever increasing number of nations albeit the USA’s dominance with 28 medals was retained and Kenya, in particular with 18 medals had a very strong showing headed by their new 800m star David Rudisha. Jamaica did well again with the Men’s 4x100m squad “bolting” to their WR of 37.04 the standout performance: Usain Bolt cruising to his 19.40 secs 200m win now seemed normal. Earlier the great man proved unusually fallible in the 100m final with his false start DQ to the dismay of the packed stadium. Two Commonwealth athletes set CRs with Sally Pearson’s 12.28 in the 100mH and Valerie Adams putting 21.24m in the Shot.
Dai Greene like Mo, built upon his European success in 2010 and his Commonwealth Games victory and achieved a very impressive win in the 400mH running down an elite field – rewind and view again > https://youtu.be/Hur8ve5cHs8
Mo Farah had seemed to be on course to win the 10,000m but mistimed his break and had to settle for silver. In the 5000m he did not make the same mistake when sprinting to gold. Similarly Andy Turner’s 110mH bronze extended his 2010 form into 2011. Defending 2009 champions Jess Ennis and Philips Idowu both received silvers at the event but in the case of Jess this was upgraded to gold in 2016 as Chernova, the victor in Daegu, received yet another Russian doping DQ. Hannah England emerged from the pack in the 1500m when, after 1200m of an exceptionally slow race, a mass sprint saw her achieve a silver medal that was not expected: one of the “On Camp with Kelly” graduates making her mark. The GB Women’s 4x400m squad won the bronze medal. The GB team with its 8 medals secured 6th place in both the medals and 1st – 8th placing points table.
Earlier in the year the Paris European Indoor Champs saw Mo Farah retain his 3000m title and was joined by Helen Clitheroe winning the Women’s 3000m too for a very popular gold medal with the British fans. Jenny Meadows continued her run of medal successes when winning the 800m with Marilyn Okoro securing the bronze. Both of these athletes were later part of the W 4x400m squad that won silver, a feat matched by the M 4x400m team. From the Men’s relay squad Richard Buck had earlier won a bronze in the 400m. Dwain Chambers in the 60m and Tiffany Ofili in the 60mH both won silver medals. With 9 medals the GB team had performed well and an extended spring weekend in Paris was, as expected, a delight for our group of fans.
The Bydgoszcz European Athletics Team Championships returned to central Poland and Dai Greene and Andy Turner repeated their previous year’s EATC success in winning the 400mH and 110mH events as their purple patch of form continued as a preview of their later Daegu medals. Jenny Meadows 800m win, following on from Paris, was also in good form but in her case it did not follow through later in Daegu. Charlene Thomas in the 1500m and the M 4 x 100m team were also event winners as the combined GB team finished 4th with Russia winning the event.