In the lead-up to the World Athletics Championships, there were times Matt Hudson-Smith couldn’t walk let alone run.
Matt Hudson-Smith was pipped to the world title by a fast-finishing Antonio Watson in the final of the 400m on Thursday night as the Briton faded late on.
Hudson-Smith went off like a rocket out of the blocks and led going into the home straight but paid late on for that fast start.
His time of 44.31seconds was just outside the European record he had set in the previous round, which had marked him out as a gold-medal protagonist.
But Watson, who had been the quickest qualifier of the finalist, timed his run to the line for perfection to win the gold in a time of 44.22.
Afterwards, Hudson-Smith said: “Under the circumstances I wasn’t even meant to be here as had really bad Achilles tendonitis. Sometimes I can’t walk sometimes I can. I got a bronze last year, I got a silver this year, next time gold.”
Zharnel Hughes was a comfortable qualifer for the men’s 200m final in finishing second in his semi-final but 100m champion Noah Lyles remains the man to beat after being comfortably the quickest qualifier in a time of 19.76s.
Dina Asher-Smith, who was at a loss to explain her lack of speed in the final of the 100m, also booked her place in her 200m final.
Asher-Smith had a great start and entered the home straight in the lead only to be passed by American Gabby Thomas but eased up at the line knowing the top two were automatic qualifiers for the final.
It remains to be seen how much Asher-Smith has left in the tank but after the semi-final, she said: “I feel really good. I woke up today and felt fresh which is remarkable because the 100m was what it is.”
She will be joined in the final by Darryl Neita, who had narrowly missed out on a final spot in the 100m. But she ran a personal best 22.21 to finish second in her semi-final over double the distance behind Julien Alfred.
And Neita, who like Asher-Smith ran a great bend, said: “I ran a PB so I raised the game and I raised myself to the occasion. I’m really happy. I can’t wait to watch it back.”
Bianca Williams, however, missed out after finishing fourth in her semi-final but set a personal best of 22.45s.