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Analysing Ennis - what next for GB heptathlete?

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Tom Fordyce | 15:22 UK time, Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Daegu, Korea

So, just like Mo Farah on Sunday night, British gold-medal favourite Jessica Ennis saw her dreams of a world title ebb away on the final straight of Daegu National Stadium.

Where Farah found himself hauled in by Ibrahim Jeilan, Ennis could not open the nine-second gap she needed in the 800m to force Tatyana Chernova back into silver.

For those who have watched her storm to World and European gold, and for those who had prematurely hung next summer's Olympic gold around her neck, it may have been something of a shock.

But was it? And where - if anywhere - did Ennis go wrong?

Jessica Ennis (L), British athletics' golden girl, missed out on gold at the world championships in Daegu. PHOTO: GETTY           

On a day of fascinating facts and alluring stats, one seemed to offer instant explanation: had Ennis matched her personal best of 46.71m in the javelin, instead of managing just 39.95m, she would have beaten Chernova by a single point.

Even in her warm-up she had thrown over 45m. So why did she not deliver when it mattered a few minutes later?

Technique first. "Jess was crowding the line when she was throwing," says Steve Backley, four-time European javelin champion and here in Korea as an expert summariser for BBC Radio 5 live.

"What I mean is that she was getting too close to the line by coming in too fast, which then messed the timing and rhythm of her throw. It's almost because she's in such good shape - rather than running in, she was bounding in like a triple jumper, and all that energy and elasticity was being lost in every stride rather than being stored.

"Different throwers like different strategies. Personally I lined up for big competitions wanting to smash it first go, but if you're a little uncertain of your technique, you might hold back and just try to get a solid, safe throw in first to take the pressure off.

"For Jess that would have meant a throw of something like 43m. She could then let rip for a PB with her two remaining throws. But once that first throw doesn't work, you can suddenly find yourself in a negative tailspin."

There was talk within the stadium that a large rectangle of re-laid track on the javelin runway was making the heptathletes lose their footing. Could that have been a factor?

"When things are going wrong, you tend to notice the cracks on the windscreen," says Backley. "Because the timing wasn't quite right, you become aware of other things going on.

"What was more important was that the javelin came at the end of the morning session, rather than at the start of the afternoon. That meant Jess came to it from the long jump, and she carried the rhythm from her long jump approach with her into the javelin."

Ennis has a big team with her in Korea - coach Toni Minichiello, doctor Neil Black, masseur Derry Suter, biomechanist Aki Salo. One member absent is Mick Hill, Ennis's javelin coach.

"It's not so much about being in the stadium, but that Mick wasn't at the warm-up track," says Backley. "Had he been there he could have watched what Jess was doing, reminded her of the five or six things she needed to do.

"It's not an excuse. An athlete needs to take responsibility for their own performance. But the javelin is a very technical and very specialist event."

Time for a few more of those stats. While Ennis's record of setting an overall PB at every major championships she has competed in since 2003 has come to an end, this was still a hugely impressive two-day performance.

Her final tally of 6751 points was her third best ever, bigger than the total that won her world gold in Berlin. She produced big personal bests in both shot put and the 800m, equalled her lifetime best in the long jump and ran a 200m that would have been a best had it not been for the stiff headwind.

As much as that javelin lost Ennis the title, Chernova's brilliance won it.

The Russian has been flagged up as the future of the heptathlon for a long time, ever since claiming the world junior title in sensational fashion.

The sum total of her individual PBs has long been better than Ennis's. The difference here in Daegu was that, for the first time at senior level, she delivered across the board.

Chernova's tally of 6880 points was enough to move her to ninth on the all-time list.

Minichiello summed it up nicely: "On the second day of a competition involving Jess and Chernova, it's David versus Goliath. Goliath just woke up."

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Former world 1500m champion Steve Cram knows both Ennis and her coaching team inside out.

"Chernova has upped her game," he says. "Jess now needs to do the same. She knows that when she lines up in London next year that she'll have to be as good in every single event as the Russian was here.

"Chernova deserves enormous credit. In multi-events it's very hard to put in top-class performances in all seven events in one competition.

"There are two analogies I would use. First, when you look at a 4x400m relay team, you can never work out their likely final time by adding up each individual runner's PB.

"Secondly, heptathletes compete as often as marathon runners - ie sometimes as little as once or twice a year. You might think training is going well, but until the day of competition itself you just cannot be certain."

What of the Olympics next year - does the result here mean that Chernova will be favourite for gold in London too?

"It just shows that Jess is human, not a plug-in robot," says Kelly Sotherton, former World and Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist. "She'll bounce back from this very quickly.
"I still believe Jess is the better athlete, and will come through. She has been outstanding for two years. This is the first time anyone has been able to get near to her.

"Just because she has had a blip doesn't mean her and her team have done things wrong; she has scored PBs in almost all her events this year, so they're clearly doing loads of things right.

"Jess has learned how to be a successful athlete. The best in the world learn from their mistakes and get better. She'll be kicking herself and asking why she didn't win, but she will learn from it."

Cram is also cautiously optimistic.

"When I look at Chernova as an athlete, I see someone who is strong, but not someone who is going to go beyond 7000 points," he says.

"She is not as athletic as Jess. She has got better, but she has to be careful she doesn't get too big. It might help her in some events, but it'll hurt her in others. Jess might not be able to deliver the same power, but Chernova might not have that much more to give.

"Any athlete prefers to be number one in the world, whatever pressure that brings. But if you're not number one you want to be in a position where you're close, and Jess is."


  • Comment number 1.

    Bad Luck, Jess. Bad performances in two events made the difference.

    We'll all be behind you in the stadium next year and if that doesn't give you a PB in every discipline then nothing will. Still lots of hard work ahead!

  • Comment number 2.

    Might be wrong but I'm not sure Kelly Sotherton won Olympic or World gold medals.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well at least a medal - more than half the other "athlete's" will bring home - good luck for 2012.

  • Comment number 4.

    #2 you're right, Sotherton won World and Olympic bronzes not golds. She was good, not legendary! I've told Tom via Twitter, since I cannot for the life of me find the official BBC website feedback form any longer.

  • Comment number 5.

    did bernie the bolt's false start and instant dq upset Jess's javelin?

  • Comment number 6.

    "As much as that javelin lost Ennis the title, Chernova's brilliance won it."

    Wise words. Chernova produced a fantastic performance, a class above that of any of Ennis rivals in 2009 and 2010.... yes the javelin was a disaster, but let's accept the fact that however excellent you are, on the day someone might be even more excellent. That's sport.

  • Comment number 7.

    Bit confused re: Kelly, the article refers to her Olympic and World bronze medals both of which she won?

    I agree with #6, Chernova was excellent and it was more of a case of her winning rather than Jess losing as it were. At the end of the day, technical events like javelin and hurdles do have the potential to go very wrong and watching Jess' javelin was pretty uncomfortable. From the first throw you got the sense it just wasn't going to go well. A big shame perhaps that Mick wasn't there to try and help correct.

    I think she'll come back strong. Jess' shot was pretty weak earlier on in her career and it's slowly come on so I'm sure she can do the same with the Javelin.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think the important thing is Jess knows what went wrong in that she threw poorly in the javelin & was also a bit below par in the High Jump. If she puts 7 strong events events together she is capable of 7,000 points.

    I don't think this is disastrous in the long term for her & I still remain confident that she will win Olympic Gold next year. She is made of stern stuff - you don't come back from a career threatening injury to win the world title the following year otherwise.

  • Comment number 9.

    I really enjoyed the event. The other girls put Jess under pressure and she did not handle it quite as well as I thought she would be able to. Her first two events are key and she made errors/underperformed when Fountain put some pressure on her.
    Then when Chernova put more pressure on in the Javelin, she cracked again.
    Chernova's final total is 6880 the best since Kluft got over 7000 points in Osaka, I think to win the Olympics Jess will need to break the British record. But I think that Chernova can get better, she is so tall that surely she can do better then 1.83 in the high jump.
    I don't get the lack of pressure angle you want to win the world champs before the Olympics because of the confience boost that gives you and the message that sends out. If Jess had won it would have reinforced that "I can win from the front" message to her rivals. Instead Chernova has told Ennis that "I can peg you back on the second day and beat you even from 150 points down.

  • Comment number 10.

    Chris1977 - Yes winning would be great of course but I don't think it's the be all & end all to win the world champs. In fact of British athletes who have won world titles the year before the Olympics only Daley Thompson in LA & Christine Ohurougu in Beijing have then gone onto win the Olympics, Likes of McColgan & Edwards were regarded as shoo-ins & faltered and Jackson was finally going to break his olympic hoodoo in Sydney many said & that didn't happen either.

    I also remember everyone writing Denise Lewis off after Barber beat her in Seville. Barber could only improve etc. etc. & we all know what happened in Sydney. I can see history repeating itself next year in the Heptathlon.

  • Comment number 11.

    Good show by Ennis. Looks like she beat the gold medalist in most events but fell down in the odd couple. Good luck for the Olympics. Also a word for Mo Farah who was whiskers away from a gold but got pipped at the last minute.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Tiger Rose, I sort of agree about Lewis/Barber except Denise was never a world champion. I always thought too that Barber was the more talented one of the two and like Jess she excelled in the sprinting/jumping events but very injury prone. Of course Jess can improve she needs as Steve Cram says to be good in every event and I think that over 6900 can happen for her, but Chernova has stepped it up too and if she performs like this in London will be very hard to beat.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ennis did well but it looks like a new force has come in at just the wrong time for her. Chernova's points score here was higher than Jess has ever scored and as the younger athlete by 2 years she will only improve.

    Ennis needs to improve big time to win gold in 2012. Lets hope she's up to the challenge and we can enjoy the battle even if she falls short.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think we all need to stop putting this much amount of pressure on Jess. Yeh shes a former world champion and current European champion but we can't get caught up too much in the build up for next year.

    I as much as the next person am hoping she wins the gold but I think for the first time since Berlin, Jess cracked a little under the pressure. Chernova had gone a put a monster javelin out there and Jess seemed uncomfortable.

    I think its time we removed that gold medal we have hung around her neck because Chernova doesnt look like she is going to go away. Plus Dobrynska wont want to lose her title too easily and if Fountain improves her shot she has a realistic chance as well.

    Though as someone said before, Lewis won silver the year before she triumphed in Sydney and she also won the European title two years before. So thats as good as omen as always. But it will not be easy I can guarentee you that.

  • Comment number 15.

    Have to take you task Tom for your comment that Ennis 'could not open the nine-second gap that she need in the 800m......' She did open the gap as she surprisingly finished ahead of the Russian girl by a few strides. But there was never any suggestion that she could beat the Russian by more than 9 seconds (60 yards?). Anyone who knows their athletics would appreciate that this was an impossibility.
    The fact is that while Ennis herself and others are blaming her poor showing in the javelin for her not taking gold, even if she had equalled her previous best she would still not have won. Sad to say but the young Russian will only get better and will most likely improve her overall points total in London next year while Ennis will probably need to produce p.b.'s in every event if she was to take gold. In reality you cannot expect her to do this.

  • Comment number 16.

    Athletes make mistakes, we've seen evidence of that all week. I've absolutely no doubt that she will learn from this and come back stronger - just like Daley did in Prague in 78(?). He was never beaten again after that until Seoul in 88 I think?

    Nobody sets out to do badly in a competition but the pressures, that few of us have ever experienced, can and do make a difference.

    IF what Steve Backley said is correct i.e. that she was too close to the foul line at delivery (I've yet to see the video) then that is a fairly basic approach run error. That should have been taught and ironed out years ago. I've absolutely no doubt that Mick Hill has done that with her - he's turned out some first rate javelin throwers over recent years and would not have left that particular stone unturned. Pressure does funny things to people, again as we have seen all week.

    What does concern me about "Team Ennis" is the amount of people who appear to be wanting/needing to provide an input at an event. At every attempt at each field event there is an awful lot of coach/athlete exchange and this seems excessive to me. This is a COMPETITION - athletes should know what they're doing by the time that they get to this level - checking foot marks and a few little reminders and cues should really be the limit. Excessive instruction and feedback just serves to complicate things.

    Also - Does the media have some kind of agenda with the Toni & Jess show? We never ever have the benefit of the considerable wisdom of Dai Green's or Andy Turner's coach. What is going on here?

    I hope that I'm wrong but we could end up going down the road of overcomplicating the basics and we'll be back in Kelly Sotherton territory where the poor kid was so confused by the end that she couldn't get anywhere near what she'd thrown before.

    Skilful, basic coaching will sort the javelin out and Mick is the guy to do that. Keep the bio-mechanists and other hangers-on as far away as possible and - as we say in Australia - she'll be right..

  • Comment number 17.

    What Ennis needs to do is get her first day spot on. She's basically got the best first day in history and this year she underperformed slightly. By the time Day 2 starts she needs the type of lead that gives a huge buffer to cover any slip ups.

    The funny thing is she performed very well this year. Two PBs on the second day and it was still the day that lost it, because of a hideour javelin.

    She needs to get it perfect really. It must be hard to do but this year she had injuries and this will have affected her preparation. She missed the European indoors.

    After the hurdles she should be first in the competition, she's the best hurdler out there. After the high jump her lead should be even bigger. The shot isn't great, but it's solid enough to consolidate her position at the top. Then she's the fastest in the 200m too. If she got close to her PBs in all those events in 2012, I believe her lead would be insummountable on Day 2. Her long jump is getting better year on year, although in historical world class heptathlon terms it's not brilliant. She's had to take off on her wrong foot for 3 years now so is "new" to it, so will jump longer.

    The javelin is unfortunately another weak event like the shotput, but unlike the shotput her rivals at the top throw a lot further. With the shot the big putters haven't tended to be competing for the gold medal, Dobrinska apart.

    And if she has any lead by the 800m, she'll win gold, because she usually wins the 800m.

    So there's absolutely nothing wrong with Jess's ability. Her performance is pretty good too, but getting the perfect two days is what she's aiming for. Any aberations like the javelin next year, and she won't win gold.

  • Comment number 18.

    I would suggest that even though Kelly Sotherton 'only' won bronze at the World and Olympics it probably makes her a lot more qualified to comment than those posters making snide comments about her.

    As for Ennis...maybe a more realistic view will be taken regarding the Olympics, she's no longer the favourite that's for sure.

    Hope I'm proved wrong between now and Sunday but looks like it's Charles Van Commenee who's likely to take the biggest critical battering from these championships.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why are you all ripping into Kelly Sotherton? Bronze medal behind Kluft who is one of the greatest Heptathletes of all time.

    Jess will bounce back, Mick is a great coach and I'm sure she will step up and add metres on to the Javelin and she can tidy any flaws up.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nice blog Tom.

    When are you moving onto the rugby world cup? The beeb needs your help!

  • Comment number 21.

    Ennis beat Chernova in 5 events. She also did PBs in three events. The javelin was a blip where her technique let her down but if she had matched her PB she would still only just have beaten Chernova (I think that's right).

    Chernova will probably improve over the next year, so Ennis can't afford any blips in London. But the fact that she had 3 PBs shows that Ennis is still improving too. In the 800m she was never going to win by 9 seconds but before Daegu Chernova's PB was faster than Ennis's - and that shows what a fighter she is.

    Don't write her off just yet.

  • Comment number 22.

    #21: Sadly the javelin wasn't a blip, it was a repetition of previous failure and that event is Jess' known weakness.
    So I find it incredible (not a "shame", as someone else put it) that Mick Hill wasn't in the stadium to tell her what needed changing after the first throw. 45m in the warm-up and then under 40, what...?

    I think she could have won with a javelin throw near to, not necessarily beyond, her PB. In the last event she wouldn't have needed to empty the tank before the final straight, and may have done an even better 800m PB.

  • Comment number 23.

    We're being very unfair to Jess. She hasn't failed. She's won a silver medal to go with her gold from last time. Check the stats. She's a 6,700 - 6,800 performer. Her PB isn't even in the all-time top 30. She isn't so exceptional that she's a shoe-in, so let's all stop behaving like she is. Were she Kluft, or Joyner-Kersee we'd be right to ask 'what went wrong?, but she isn't. She's done absolutely brilliantly to win what she has, and if she gets a medal next year, any medal, she'll have done brilliantly again. Time to celebrate success, not analyse a failure that never was.

  • Comment number 24.

    Well done Jess on that silver! I hate how the media labels people winners with no regard for the rest of the field and then brands them "losers" when they don't win! The overall stats clearly show that Jess performed really well at this competition against a very good field. Yes, the javelin was a bit of a disaster and she needs to improve if she is going to win the Olympics next year, but let's give Jess some space until then. The Olympics is for Jess to possibly win as one of a very good field of competitors, it is not already hers to lose (as it was described by the media this time).

  • Comment number 25.

    All the commentary on this seems to be based on what went wrong, and how Ennis lost it. But unless I'm mistaken, I also understand from reports that Chernova's winning points tally was more than Ennis has ever achieved. Perhaps the media here could give a bit more credit and attention to what Chernova did rather than what Ennis maybe didn't?

  • Comment number 26.

    People who believe Jess would have won if she had thrown a better javelin are forgetting something. Chernova knew she had a big cushion in the 800m so she didn't need to run hard. All she had to do was finish close to Jess and the Gold was hers but I think we should accept that she would have run faster and scored even more points if Jess had done better in the javelin.

  • Comment number 27.

    Jess Ennis should stand next to Ortis Deley then she would look like a winner.

  • Comment number 28.

    Thanks for covering some of the athletics. It's a shame the BBC staff couldn't be bothered to get out of bed on Wednesday and cover the women's 20Km with Jo Jackson, our first ever gold medalist at a major championships. Consider yourselves lucky she didn't win. Try explaining that lapse of judgement to British sports fans... "It's only walking" sounds like "It's only hurdles" or "it's only the Heptathlon."

  • Comment number 29.

    Firstly Jess is an amazing athlete that could compete for GB in 3 of the 7 events at these world champs and is not far off adding the 800m to that list. Jess gave a good performance with 3PB's but I think nerves played a part even with Jess's experience and that affected her technique in a couple of event. It didn't start well by hitting the 2nd hurdle and that maybe put more pressure on Jess. Followed by a poor high jump 9cm below her best (~100pts) + all the failed attempts and of course the javelin. This is the first time I have noticed the pressure getting to Jess and you cannot train for this but its what all champions must be able to cope with. Take away these errors (Jav & HJ) the headwind in the hurdles and 200m and I think she could have been close to 7k+. I know its all ifs and buts, but as an athlete that is what Jess should take away from this to ensure she does it in London next year.

  • Comment number 30.

    This article is not so bad, but much of the coverage highlights the whole problem with sports journalism in this country ... if our athlete is expected to win but doesn't it is always because they have fallen short, not because they came up against an athlete who just performed better than ours on the day.

    Let's be honest here, if Ennis had equalled her personal best in the javelin she would have gone into the 800m just 1 point in the lead. Ennis then ran a PB in the 800 and yet still only beat Chernova by a metre - I doubt that is how the final event would have panned out if Chernova had gone into it knowing that she just needed to finish ahead of Ennis to take gold.

    Of course she had a few poorer events, but she still finished with a higher points total than when she won gold 2 years ago.

    She will take lessons away from here and, like the champion that she is, go away and work on the areas that need work. In the meantime, why can't we, as a nation, just applaud the fine heptathlete who did win the gold medal and looks set to be at the top of the sport for some time to come?

  • Comment number 31.

    I think too much analysis is going on here. For me, as a spectator, it is obvious - Ennis has to improve her javelin technique. This was the same event that often undid Sotherton. Lewis was strong across the seven events and that's why she won gold in Sydney. Ennis needs to focus less on competing in individual long jump and 200 comps and instead focus on competing whenever she can on individual javelin comps - even if it means turning up and throwing 40 metres and coming last. Her Javelin coach needs to spend more time with her too - that technique is not good enough - she's only competing in 6.5 events rather than seven!.

  • Comment number 32.

    I would contest Cram's opinion and view of Chernova. Chernova has had 3 personal best this year alone and continues to improve. Yes Chernova size may be an issue however out ot the two athletes I would say Chernova is the likelier to obtain the 7000 marks.

    As disappointing as Jess Ennis result was there were some fantastic improvements. Shot being for me the most important. I hope the coaching team now sit with Jess and lay down specific targets. For me these should be as follows:

    12.9 Hurdles;
    1:89 High Jump;
    15m Shot;
    22.9 200 metres;
    6.50 Long Jump;
    45m Javelin - For me this is the most ambitious target;
    2:07 800 metres

    On this schedule Jess would achieve 7000 points and if Chernova passes that then she would be a legend of the Sport.

    This planning should start this week.

  • Comment number 33.

    I do think some people are going OTT here on Jess' javelin. She certainly underperformed here but she also set a PB in the Europeans last year & has consistently improved in the event over the years since her junior days.

    22. When has Jess failed previously in the Javelin - suggest you look at her competitions from the last 3 years & you'll see otherwise. 32. Why is 45 metres so ambitious for her when she's thrown over that a few times previously?

    Personally I think unusually for Jess she let the pressure get to her - she underperformed in the 1st throw & then couldn't repond like she has done in the past at other events. e.g. in Berlin her 1st 2 shot putts were very poor but she then threw a PB in the 3rd.

    Looking forward to saying 'I told you so' to a few posters on here when she comes back and wins the Olympics next year.

  • Comment number 34.

    #33. Contrary to what you may think. I actually want Ennis to do well. But she won't do well if everyone pats her on the back and says "well done for throwing less than 40 metres in the javelin, you've thrown over 45 metres in the past". 45 metres ain't that good either for a heptathlete - what could Kluft and Lewis throw? The fact is that Ennis herself acknowledges her weakness which can only be a good thing. Please - do tell me that you told me so if/when she wins gold next year. I'll be glad for her - really. But I'll tell you one thing NOW - she won't win gold by throwing under 40 metres in the javelin.
    Also - multi-eventers don't have the luxury of six throws - even more reason to improve the technique - esp. for when the pressure is on - i.e. this last week.

  • Comment number 35.

    Has anyone seen the nasty little article written by Martyn Herman of Reuters? It can be accessed on BBC sports website.
    He reports the relatively disappointing performance of Britian's athletes to date in sniping article that does not just record that fact but states that the original target of eight medals was 'mediocre' and that even if Dai Greene, Phillips Idowu and Mo Farah win golds in remaining events this will be lacklustre reward.
    What planet is this commentator on? Even at the present moment Britain has only one less gold than Germany and more medals than Australia-which currently has none-or France and Italy.
    If Greene, Idowu and farrah win this will put Britain well up the list of top ten nations at Daegu.
    furthermore, with regards to Jess Ennis, we should remember that she is a better performer in five of the seven events than Chernova and lost the gold because of uncharacteristic lapse in the 110 hurdles and high jump and a very bad effort in the javelin.
    After the uncharacteristically -relatively poor-performances in her first two events she found herself in the unknown territory of being under severe pressure;that accounts for the javelin disaster.
    She will be better for having learned how to cope with such pressure and I confidently expect her to win gold in London in 2012.
    Why does occasional misfortune for athletes lead to such lack of perspective as that shown in Herman's article?

  • Comment number 36.

    #35. The definition of the winning heptathlete is the one who amasses the highest number of points when all seven events have been completed in the two day competition. This might not seem fair but that is how it is. As for the Herman article - I agree with you. Rather than be -ve about Farah's silver, for example, I'd rather enjoy how far he has come on in the last two years and he still has a chance at the 5000, too. As for Ennis - she now knows the pressure of being a defending champion with all those distractions and expectations - it can only be a good experience for her. I'd still say that she has to improve on her javelin, though. even if she throws well by her own standards it will still be a modest effort and will lose points on too many of her main rivals - e.g. Chernova - as happened in this comp.

  • Comment number 37.

    All I know is that Jessica Ennis is a fantastic athlete and hence must a superb competitor. She has tasted "defeat", cripes her overall performance was excellent - just so happens the Russian athlete also performed excellently. But I think that means that barring injury Jessica Ennis will come again and I imagine will do better than her 3rd best lifetime of Daegu. Will Jessica Ennis win? There is never any certainty because another athlete could produce a world record performance. Anyway congratulations Jess. Keep your spirits up. We are supporting you.

    And whilst I am here, big hand too for Louise Hazel.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm sorry but the reality is that almost no-one is interested in Althletics in the country - listen to the talk in pubs and bars and you simply won't hear anyone talking about World Championships, even Olympic athletics are largely ignored. It might sound harsh but it's true. No-one would deny how great he athletes are but no-one really cares about this sport. The BBC follows it but it's hard to think it's anything other than the fact that it's a (relatively) cheap sport to cover, in comparison the football, cricket, rugby et5.
    Have you listened to the Althletics commentators? So and so has done a personal best in 45.55 or whatever, that's completely over the head of 99.9% of the listeners on the radio or the viewers on TV. They might as well be talking Chinese.

  • Comment number 39.

    #38. YOU might as well be talking Chinese! Everyone else posting on this page is an athletics fan. It seems to me like you've stumbled into the wrong discussion thread on the wrong sport. If you like other sports and don't like athletics then why not participate in those threads? Seemples! By the way, only an berk would suggest that the Olympic games are largely ignored. Let's see if your theory which you think is fact) will hold water next summer...

  • Comment number 40.

    @35 - I was not able to track down the article you've spoken about, but from my own perspective it doesn't sound too far off the mark I'm afraid.

    Individual athletes have had poor championships by their own high standards - it happens - Jess is a case in point. But the "nasty" reactions from some quarters are going to come out because a huge amount of extra money has been spent in preparing this team, ostensibly because of the need to perform in London 2012. That is UK Taxpayer's money - something in short supply for everyone these days and we have been presented with this display for all our expenditure.

    Good coaches with respected track records have been cast aside in favour of a "new breed" of overseas coaches who have been almost entirely dismissive of their predecessors. The result? With a few notable exceptions, very few PBs, injured athletes (despite a new much-hyped regime of "pre-hab" type exercises/new fangled sports science) and lacklustre performances.

    We've had far better value for money from past teams.

    As a UK taxpayer I don't much care for having my money wasted on this performance and I am glad that journalists are able to call the governing body of my sport to account.

    That's what they're there for, not to say everything's lovely when it isn't.


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