Zharnel Hughes books spot in 100m semis as favourite Coleman impresses

Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, Adam Gemili and Ojie Edoburun all progressed in Doha.

By Press Association Published: 28 September 2019 - 2.05am

UK

World

Athletics

Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes powered into the 100 metres semi-finals at the World Championships as Christian Coleman sent out a gold medal warning.

European champion Hughes won his heat in 10.08 seconds to comfortably go through on the opening day in Doha on Friday.

Coleman was the only man to go under 10 seconds as the American clocked 9.98secs in the final heat to underline his status as favourite.

Zharnel Hughes (centre) powers to victory in his 100m heat
Zharnel Hughes (centre) powers to victory in his 100m heat (Mike Egerton/PA).

They were joined in Saturday’s semis by Adam Gemili, who came third in his heat, while defending champion Justin Gatlin, Andre De Grasse and Yohan Blake all eased through.

Hughes is a medal contender at the Khalifa International Stadium and could land Great Britain’s 100th World Championship medal in Saturday’s final.

He said: “I’m happy I got through, that’s the main aim and that’s what I came here to do – get through the rounds and on to the semi-finals. I’m feeling well. As long as I get it together I know I’ll be fine.

9.98 seconds
Christian Coleman was the fastest qualifier for the 100m semi-finals

“I know the start wasn’t that amazing. I’ll work on it. I have to find my setting on that block because it’s a bit different from what I’m using. Once I find it I’ll be fine.”

GB team-mate Ojie Edoburun ran 10.23s in the first heat, coming fifth, but qualified as the final fastest loser.

But it was Coleman in the final heat who looked most impressive.

The American, the fastest man in the world this year, arrived under a cloud, having initially been charged with missing three drugs tests – known as whereabouts failures – in 12 months, a claim he contested.

Christian Coleman is the favourite for the 100m title in Doha
Christian Coleman is the favourite for the 100m title in Doha (Mike Egerton/PA).

It carried an automatic one-year ban, but the United States Anti-Doping Agency withdrew the charge after guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Lord Coe, president of athletics’ world governing body the IAAF, also defended Coleman after criticism from Michael Johnson.

Four-time Olympic champion Johnson believes Coleman has forfeited his right to become the next face of athletics because of the controversy over his missed tests.

Coe said: “I don’t agree with that. It’s important we take the whereabouts extremely seriously and athletes understand it’s a part of the ecosystem.

Lord Coe is the president of athletics' world governing body the IAAF
Lord Coe is the president of athletics’ world governing body the IAAF (Mike Egerton/PA).

“Most athletes have a network of support around them to remind them, so one missed whereabouts should ring serious alarm bells.

“The decision that WADA and the US Anti-Doping Agency took, to review those regulations and to make sure there’s no anomalies, I am glad they reviewed that.

“It’s a grown-up, sensible approach. I am pleased Coleman is here and I want to make sure he is given every opportunity to be one of the faces of these championships.

“We have to be very careful not to play fast and loose with the reputation of athletes.”

There were plenty of empty seats at the Khalifa International Stadium on the opening night of action
There were plenty of empty seats at the Khalifa International Stadium on the opening night of action (Mike Egerton/PA).

It was a low-key opening to the championships, with the stadium barely half full and a top tier completely closed.

The official attendance was confirmed by the IAAF as 11,804 ticket-holders, plus 1,484 guests.

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, the first British athlete to compete in Doha, reached Saturday’s 800m semi-finals by finishing second in her heat.

She ran 2:02.09 behind American Raevyn Rogers and was joined in the next round by GB team-mate Alex Bell.

Lynsey Sharp crashed out in the heats of the 800m
Lynsey Sharp crashed out in the heats of the 800m (Mike Egerton/PA).

But Lynsey Sharp, considered a medal contender with defending champion Caster Semenya missing, surprisingly crashed out after coming fourth in her heat.

Holly Bradshaw reached the pole vault final with a first-time clearance of 4.60m, but Morgan Lake failed to progress in high jump qualification.

Scotland’s Andy Butchart had a roller-coaster night.

Initially, he missed a berth in the 5,000m final by just one place, but was elevated into the field when Norway’s 19-year-old European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen – one of the favourites for a medal – was disqualified for stepping off the track.

However, when Ingebrigtsen had the decision overturned on appeal, Butchart was dropped out of the final field again.

Chris McAlister also reached the 400m hurdles semi-final after coming fourth in his heat.