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World Championships 2007
25 August - 2 September




Steve Cram
By Steve Cram
BBC Sport commentator

Great Britain stopped the downward trend from the last three World Championships but medals were still very tough to come by.

The team's performance in Japan needs a bit of circumspection.

Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders
Ohuruogu and Sanders can expect standards to be raised in Beijing

Yes, Britain did really well. Five medals is better than most people, me included, expected. We also had enough people in the top eight and knocking about in the finals.

But it wasn't all good news, and in particular the field events were very disappointing.

The medals that we won also only proved what we already knew - we have four real world-class athletes and they are heptathletes Kelly Sotherton and Jessica Ennis, and 400m runners Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders.

Christine was our only world champion and I can't believe some of the things that have been written and said about her that have not been based on fact.

She has served her punishment for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests and she has delivered in an emphatic way in Osaka and underlined the talent that we have known has been there.

The effects of these insinuations will stay with her. I know that she didn't enjoy or expect the reaction that she received.

It will be difficult for her, but she has to put it behind her and concentrate on her running and her ability to deliver.

One thing you can be sure of is that the stakes will be higher in Beijing next year

I think she will continue to do well - with the caveat that the 400m was without American Sanya Richards and if she returns and 200m champion Allyson Felix decides to step up, then Ohuruogu will have two very formidable opponents indeed.

Ohuruogu and Sanders picked up three medals between them in the 400m and 4x400m relay while the rest of our medal hopes are concentrated in the heptathlon.

Ennis didn't win a medal in Osaka but she wasn't too far away in fourth and will continue to develop.

Ohuruogu, Sanders, Ennis and Sotherton will continue to stay in the medal zone at the global championships, but there are very few British athletes who are in the same category.

606: DEBATE

There is still a long way to go before we have medal potential in any other disciplines.

Our other medal came in the men's sprint relay and that really is vindication of all the hard work that has been put into that event.

The American and Jamaican squads tend to rely on their raw talent, they don't practice in the same way and are often chopped and changed.

The relay is a technical event and Britain put time and resources into it, and prove that it is more than about having the four best sprinters in the world.

But what I would like to see is for each of the sprinters to improve individually, and Craig Pickering in particular.

Craig Pickering and Mark Lewis-Francis
Pickering and Lewis-Francis must start taking the 100m seriously

Craig was the quickest runner on the back straight in the 4x100m out of all the athletes - including American Wallace Spearmon - and that shows his ability and talent.

I want him to see him translate that into his individual form and then our relay teams will get better too.

The one thing that the Great Britain squad must NOT do now is rest on its laurels.

The performance at the Worlds is a move in the right direction and a confidence-booster for UK Athletics, but one thing you can be sure of is that the stakes will be higher in Beijing next year.

Next summer, people will be even quicker and even better - that's the way you have to move on.

If a British athlete didn't make the final in Osaka and is thinking 'well if I had done x, y or z then I would have made the final' then they have to start raising their sights even higher than that because Beijing will be tough.

Britain needs to get more people into the medal zone before the Olympics begin.

Steve Cram was talking to Sarah Holt

SEE ALSO
Collins pleased with GB progress
02 Sep 07 |  Athletics
British women snatch relay bronze
02 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Britain claim sprint relay bronze
01 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu claims gold for Britain
29 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Sotherton wins heptathlon bronze
26 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu defends gold medal win
30 Aug 07 |  Athletics


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