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.

Great Britain's Laura Weightman (right) gestures to the scoreboard alongside second placed USA's Jennifer Simpson during day four of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium. (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

World Championships: Laura Weightman sixth as Muir misses out

Laura Weightman smiles as she looks at the big screen following her semi-final at the London Stadium (Photo: PA)

Leeds star Laura Weightman powers into World Championships 1,500m final alongside British medal hope Laura Muir