Black eyes improvement after British athletes fail to hit medal target in Doha

Great Britain suffered their worst World Championships for 14 years.

By Press Association Published: 7 October 2019 - 3.52am

Performance director Neil Black admitted Great Britain must improve after their worst World Championships since 2005.

The squad leave Doha with five medals – including Dina Asher-Smith’s hat-trick – to fall short of their seven-to-nine target.

Asher-Smith won 200m gold, 100m silver and 4x100m relay silver while Katarina Johnson-Thompson triumphed in the heptathlon.

The men’s 4x100m relay team also won silver but Black knows it was not good enough ahead of next year’s Olympics.

He said: “It could be better, it should be better. We’ll obviously be talking with UK Sport. Our relationship with UK Sport is really positive.

“It’s working together, it’s reviewing, planning, what have we learned, what are we going to do about it, how do we convert the ‘nearlys’ into medals?

“It’s working together, it’s reviewing, planning, what have we learned, what are we going to do about it, how do we convert the 'nearlys' into medals?”
- Neil Black

“There’s a lot to feel really, really good about. There’s a lot to feel really, really positive about.

“But the reality is the medal tally is not that which we would have wanted and expected.”

The team almost took home six medals only for the women’s 4x400m relay squad to miss out after late drama at the Khalifa International Stadium on Sunday.

Jamaica, who finished third, were initially disqualified after it was ruled they lined up in the wrong place for their second changeover.

It promoted the Great Britain team of Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond, Jodie Williams and Laviai Nielsen to bronze after they came fourth – but Jamaica were reinstated on appeal and the British counter-appeal was dismissed.

A medal ceremony was held for winners the USA and second-placed Poland without Jamaica while a final decision was still being made.

Meanwhile, IAAF president Lord Coe continued to defend the decision to take the Championships to Qatar.

The air, sea and land blockade on Qatar from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt has been partially blamed for poor attendances.

The countries have cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha, claiming it was too close to Iran.

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Preview Day Three
IAAF president Lord Coe says the Doha event can be viewed as a success (Mike Egerton/PA)

But Coe believes the Championships will ultimately be viewed as a success.

Speaking at the closing press conference on Sunday, he said: “Our sport is in pretty good shape. It is pretty clear to us on athlete performance this is the best World Championships we have ever had.

“It is really important the sport moves around the world, and it cannot forge its relationships based on political structures or transitory political systems.

“We would not have sporting relationships (otherwise). That is why sport will continue to work and sweat as hard as it does to make social change.”