Proof that something seems to be working to improve the prospects of British athletes came here last night when Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders set personal bests to reach the 400 metres final.
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It will be the first time that Britain has ever had two finalists in the event at a World Championships.
Back on track: Christine Ohuruogu qualifies for the 400m final
If that alone was not enough encouragement for a sport which has been under pressure to deliver success, Tom Parsons and Martyn Bernard created another first by both qualifying for a World Championships high jump final.
The modest target here was for Britain to win three medals and, with Kelly Sotherton having already secured a bronze in the heptathlon, the other two could come from the 400m and high jump finals tomorrow night.
The stuff of dreams it might prove, but Ohuruogu and Sanders were impressive qualifiers from their semi-finals.
It was only three weeks ago that Ohuruogu, 23, was free to compete again after serving a 12-month ban for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.
Last night’s race was only her sixth since her return and as a measure of her unquestioned talent, she continues to get faster.
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Ohuruogu, the Commonwealth champion, ran strongly to win the third of the semi-finals, easing away from Mary Wineberg in the home straight when it looked as if the American might challenge.
Ohuruogu’s achievement thus far has already been amazing and in a final missing Sanya Richards, the world No 1 who failed to qualify from the US trials, the Briton could cap her comeback with a medal.
Novlene Williams, of Jamaica, will go into the final as the favourite after emerging from the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier with 49.66 sec.
The second quickest, however, was Sanders, the European Indoor champion, who came to Osaka still nursing the Achilles injury that reduced her season to just a handful of appearances.
Sanders dipped under the magical 50 sec for the first time to win her race in 49.77 sec, a time that places her third on the UK all-time list, behind Kathy Cook and Katharine Merry.
She managed to achieve the two targets she had set herself in April in one fell swoop.
“When I was injured earlier in the season, things didn’t look great,” said Sanders, 25. "But I think that’s been a blessing in disguise now. I’m just coming into some form and to run a personal best and get into the final is fantastic.
“The final is so open, anything could happen. I’m just glad to be in there.”
Andy Baddeley will feature in the 1500m final tomorrow night, but the Cambridge aerospace engineering graduate can count himself very fortunate to have made it that far after blundering his way through to fifth place in his semi-final.
Two months ago, Phillips Idowu was Britain’s best hope for an individual gold medal, but a back injury blunted his challenge in last night’s triple jump final.
His best effort was his last of 17.09m and was good enough for only sixth place as the gold medal went to Portugal’s Nelson Evora, whose third-round leap of 17.74m was a national record.
Idowu, who confessed that his back problem was one he would have to manage for the rest of his career, said: “If I hadn’t missed two months training it might have been different. I’m not distraught as I gave it my best shot.”
Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele swept past countryman Sileshi Sihine on the final lap to win his third successive world 10,000m title. Bekele finished in 27 min 5.90 sec. Veronica Campbell was awarded the gold medal in the women’s 100m final after judges took several minutes to decipher the photographic evidence of one of the closest of finishes. The Jamaican was given the same time as the 2005 champion, Lauryn Williams of the United States, who took the silver medal.
Like the men’s champion, Tyson Gay, Campbell, is coached by Lance Brauman, who will be released from a Texas federal prison today after serving nine months for fraud.