To make a good demi-fondeur, covering distances from 800 to 5,000 meters, the basic ingredients are no secret: a lot of work, cover with good accompaniment and then extend everything with a large dose of talent. It goes without saying, rule out any doping product from the start. We leave the rest to stew: every nation has its own secret joy. The British have developed a recipe in the field.
At the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Josh Kerr took over from fellow countryman Jake Wightman (withdrawal from Hungary) to win the 1500m title under the nose and beard of heavy favorite Jakob Ingebrigtsen. Ben Pattison won a surprise bronze medal in the 800m, while for the women Keeley Hodgkinson is the favorite over the same distance. The UK is also proud to have been the most represented nation in the 1500m final with three of its nationals (Laura Muir, Katie Snowden and Melissa Courtney-Bryant). Promising results a year after the 2024 Paris Olympics, which is not surprising. The middle distance had already secured three of Britain’s five athletics honors at the Tokyo Olympics.
When we ask 2021 Olympic runner-up and 2022 European 800m champion Kiley Hodgkinson the reasons for such success, the 21-year-old athlete steps forward: “We have a rich history of these events and a real middle distance culture that drives us to perform. Last year I had the opportunity to share the joy of Jake Whiteman and his entire team after his coronation [sur 1 500 m] Eugene in the worlds. It was very inspiring and I want to experience the same. »
Emulation and esprit de corps would therefore be the secret ingredients across the Channel. It must be said that over the years the average distance has been raised to the rank of a national specialty in the steps of Steve Cram (world champion in the 1500 m race in 1983, Olympic vice-champion in 1984 and former world record holder in the race). distance, mile and 2000 m) or even Peter Elliott (in 1987 world vice-champion in 800 m and in 1988 vice-Olympic champion in 1500 m).
Fighting spirit and “organizational culture”
And what about Sir Mo Farah, two-time Olympic champion and three-time world 5000m champion, who became a symbol of British dominance in the world middle distance in the 2010s. , which the British school system discovered very early, especially in cross country. – national competition.
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