Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

The year in sport 2018: Athletics

Posted on 31 December 2018 by Benjamin Lang

The absence of a global championship can sometimes starve the athletics season of its usual excitement and rich story lines.

However, there was still much to savour in 2018 with the European Championships being the showpiece event in an absorbing calendar year.

The summer’s Championships cemented Dina Asher-Smith’s status as the leading light in a promising year for British athletics. Progress has particularly been made in short distance events and the 22-year-old has been integral to this.

Asher-Smith claimed a glorious European sprint treble in Berlin as she soared to victory in the 100m and 200m before inspiring her team to victory in the 4x100m relay.

She smashed the British record twice to claim her individual gold medals and also delivered a titanic anchor leg in the 4x100m relay to secure victory for herself, Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot and Bianca Williams.

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The men’s team also won the European 4x100m relay as CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili, Harry Alkines-Aryeetey and Zharnel Hughes stormed to victory ahead of Turkey and the Netherlands.

Hughes added the European 100m title to his haul while fellow Brit Reece Prescod took silver, proving their capability to compete on a global stage with the likes of USA’s Ronnie Baker and 60m world record holder Christian Coleman. British sprinting is now a force to be reckoned with.

Matt Hudson-Smith produced a golden performance to claim the 400m title just one year on from almost quitting the sport, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson performed admirably to collect silver in the heptathlon.

Another notable story from the Championships was that of Norwegian wonder-kid Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

The 17-year-old won both 1500m and 5000m events in Berlin, continuing an esteemed family lineage as his brothers Henrik and Filip have also won European titles.

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Ingebrigtsen stunned the athletics world with his double success, both of which came in the space of 24 hours. 18-year-old Armand Duplantis was another competitor who outshone his elders as he collected gold in the pole vault.

As for para athletics, records tumbled at the 2018 European Championships which also took place in Berlin later in August.

France’s Pierre Fairbank topped the individual medal table with four golds, while Marlene van Gansewinkel of the Netherlands broke the world record to win her first major title in the women’s 100m T64.

Jason Smyth of Ireland continued his unbeaten run by claiming his 18th and 19th major championship gold medals in the 100m and 200m T13.

British duo Thomas Young and Sophie Hahn won four gold medals between them in the T38 sprints, while fellow Brit Karen Adenegan usurped Hannah Cockroft from her long-standing position as women’s 100m T34 champion.

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The Commonwealth Games also took place on the Gold Coast in April. Australia resoundingly topped the athletics medal table on home soil, with England finishing a disappointing third place behind Jamaica.

England’s biggest success came in the form of the sprint relay, collecting double gold. As for the other home nations’ standings in the athletics medal table, Wales finished 11th, Scotland 20th and Northern Ireland 22nd.

Elsewhere in 2018, Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in September as he charged to victory in the Berlin Marathon.

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The Kenyan star obliterated the previous record by one minute and 18 seconds to add to his London Marathon win in April.

The women’s London marathon was claimed by Vivian Cheruiyot who held off Mary Keitany and her world record attempt.

Featured photograph/Wikipedia Commons/Kgpo