My first ever two-part piece! Overall it was a good year for British Athletes concluding with a fairly successful World Championships in Beijing including 7 medals of which 4 were gold.
Today I will reveal 6-10 and my next post will reveal the top 5 so without further ado!
10: Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Muti-events)
Achievements: European Indoor Pentathlon Champion (2nd Highest total in history), World Championship Long Jump finalist
A bit of an up and down year for KJT this year with another impressive indoor season before disappointment in Beijing. She makes the list mainly due to her impressive performance in Prague scoring exactly 5000 points in winning the Pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships. Her outdoor season included some niggling injuries which stopped her momentum but she was still able to qualify for the Long Jump final and compete in the heptathlon.
9: Nick Miller (Hammer)
Achievements: European U23 Champion, British Record Holder, World Championship finalist
There has been a bit of a dearth in terms of British throwers in recent years but it is the hammer event which has given some memorable British performances this year. Nick Miller had a breakthrough year, which included winning the European U23 championships as well as breaking the 31 year old british record by one centimetre. At the world championships, he qualified second but wasn’t quite able to repeat that in the final but it was a still a year that represented tremendous improvement for the 22 year old.
8: Sophie Hitchon (Hammer)
Achievements: 4th at World Championships, Broke British Record twice
Sophie Hitchon achieved her best ever form as she builds an impressive competition record which includes being a World Junior Champion, European U23 Champion, a Commonwealth bronze medallist and an Olympic finalist on home soil. Hitchon this year was impressive and was back to regularly throwing over 70m. At Beijing she twice threw over her own British Record eventually finishing with 73.86m for 4th place, just a few inches short of a medal.
7: Zharnel Hughes (200m)
Achievements: 5th at World Championships, 3rd fastest UK all time
Athletics lovers were aware of Zharnel for a few years and were also aware of his potential eligibility for Britain due to Anguilla not having a seat on the IOC and therefore not able to compete at the Olympics. This year, he transferred his allegiance to Britain but was met with the old ‘Plastic Brit’ debate. The fact he was one of 5 who were announced at the same time to change their allegiance unfairly put him in the discussion but it didn’t affect his performance one bit. He quickly became British Champion over 200m and won two diamond league events at London and Lausanne and ‘nearly’ beat Bolt in America. In Beijing, Hughes won both his heat and his semi-final and was a medal contender going into the final. He ran a PB of 20.02 seconds to come fifth to finish an exceptional year. Hughes vs Gemili next year anybody?
6: Laura Muir (1500m)
Achievements: 5th at World Championships, 2nd fastest UK all time
Laura Muir is arguably Britain’s most improved athlete this year. 2014 was a year that had disappointments at all the major championships, despite some good times outside of those. This year, she seemed determined to get it right and she made great progress. She was 4th at the European Indoor Championships over 3000m, but it was her outdoor season where she really shined. PB’s in the 3000m and the 800m showed her impressive range as a middle distance runner and she was extremely competitive in the diamond league events. She ran two 4 minute runs in Rome and in Oslo where she ran solo for the last half of the race (video below). She was British Champion over 1500m before going to Beijing where she would qualify well for the final in a loaded race where 5th place was quite some achievement!
Stay tuned for part two!