London 2012 Olympics: Hitchon breaks UK record, Farah into 5000m final

Sophie Hitchon breaks her own British record to qualify for the hammer final, while Mo Farah cruises into the 5000m final

Sophie Hitchon (Mark Shearman)

The highlight of morning six was a British record of 71.98m for Sophie Hitchon in the qualifying of the women’s hammer, which saw her qualify for Friday’s final in tenth place overall.

Hitchon clearly responded to the energy of the home crowd and pulled out her best throw on her final attempt. “I’ve never competed in front of a massive crowd like this and 90 per cent of the whole crowd is cheering for you,” said the 2010 world junior champion.

“Everyone just wants you to do really well. I did the same at the Europeans (leaving it to the last throw) and I don’t know why. I like to put a lot of pressure on myself for some reason.”

Former world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk led the qualifiers with 75.68m – the second-best mark in Olympic history and just 66cm shy of the Games record – while medal favourites Tatyana Lysenko, Betty Heidler, Zhang Wenxiu and defending champion Oksana Menkova all made it through. American Amber Campbell’s 69.93 was the longest distance ever not to make an Olympic final.

There was success for another British record-holder, as Steve Lewis cleared 5.50m on his first attempt in the pole vault to secure his place in Friday’s final. The final will comprise 14 athletes, including defending champion Steve Hooker, but the top two from last year’s World Championships – Pawel Wojciechowski and Lazaro Borges – failed to make it through.

Last year’s European under-23 silver medallist Lynsey Sharp showed that she had not let the controversy surrounding her selection for the 800m affect her. The Scot looked in control throughout and crossed the line in second place behind defending champion Pamelo Jelimo in 2:01.41 to book her spot in the semi-final tomorrow.

Newly-crowned Olympic 10,000m champion Mo Farah looked comfortable in his 5000m heat and was never in any danger of not qualifying. Farah was happy to sit back and conserve energy and came home third in 13:26.00 in a race won by Azerbaijan’s Hayle Ibrahimov in 13:25.23.

The second heat was notably faster and was won by world leader Dejen Gebremeskel, whose 13:15.15 is the fastest time ever recorded in a heat or semi-final at the Olympics. Britain’s Nick McCormick was unlucky not to qualify after finishing twelfth in 13:25.70.

After getting his decathlon campaign off to a fantastic start with a 10.71 100m PB to win race four, Britain’s Daniel Awde recorded two fouls on his first two attempts in the long jump – the first of which was almost certainly better than his 7.47m PB.

But after his second jump he appeared to be in some pain, and his third jump was measured at just 6.83m. He later withdrew from the decathlon and did not compete in the shot.

After three events, world record-holder Ashton Eaton is leading. He clocked 10.35 in the 100m – the fastest ever at the Olympics within a decathlon – and followed it with an 8.03m long jump and a 14.66m throw in the shot.

The American is comfortably on course for gold, but the battle for silver looks set to be a close one between two-time world champion Trey Hardee, Belgium’s Hans Van Alphen, European champion Pascal Behrenbruch and Dutchman Eelco Sintnicolaas.

Former world record-holder and Olympic champion Roman Sebrle also withdrew from the competition, having been carrying a heel injury leading into the Games.

One Response to “London 2012 Olympics: Hitchon breaks UK record, Farah into 5000m final”

  1. Ray Eaton says:

    Superb performance by Sophie Hitchon, in the hammer. Great that the three British teenagers who broke senior records in 2011(Bleasdale, Okoye, and Hitchon), have now gone on the make Olympic finals, just a year later. It is especially pleasing that it comes in three events, that Great Britain don't have a great tradition of success in.
    Steve Lewis will be happy at making the pole vault final. Having broken the British record just prior to the Olympics, it was good to see him, stay in top form. And the British selectors would have been especially pleased to see Lynsey Sharp ease through the 800 metres heats. Sharp was probably one of the most controversial selections, as it denied at least three others, a place at the Games. She went a long way towards justifying her selection, with that run.

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