With the dust settled on a fine European Indoor Champs, it will be one British Athletics looks back on with pride. Their tied best medal tally in the history of the event (though 2019 had one more gold), their success was all the more impressive in light of an absence of some of their most dominant stars.
For a number of years these champs have witnessed the genuine breakthroughs of a number of today’s most established athletes, from Laura Muir’s first major champs titles in 2017 to Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s pentathlon gold in 2015. 2021 looks like it will be more of the same.
Keely Hodgkinson’s 800m triumph one that surely won’t be her last, a few days past her nineteenth birthday, and the 3000m women (Amy-Eloise Markovc, Verity Ockenden, Amelia Quirk) ran times that have etched themselves a few seconds closer to world class. Holly Archer’s silver was made all the more difficult by a bunched up field and the Cambridge & Coleridge athlete has clearly graduated to a new level.
Jamie Webb, Andrew Pozzi, Jodie Williams, Holly Bradshaw, Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember continue to demonstrate their class on the global stage and a reliability has become of our relay teams.
In this piece we’ll have a look at Torun as compared against previous editions, both in terms of Britain’s own performance, by gender and disciplines, and also the overall speed of the field, with a particular focus on the distance events and 60m.
British women continue to outperform the men
For the sixth games in a row British women have equalled or bettered their male counterparts, winning 23.08% of all medals available for the second consecutive champs. Again the backbone for this has come from four medals in both the distance (800 – 3,000) and sprint events (anything up to and including 400m).
This means the gap is closing quickly in terms of an historical (cumulative) average. In 1987 British women had won just one in every twenty medals available. Only 24 years later that is closer to one in sixteen. Men by comparison have more or less performed against the same historical average that they have had since 2011, winning around one in thirteen medals.
This has the effect that Britain continue to outperform their historical performance on a combined gender basis with the four all-time best performances all coming within the last eight editions.
Track is leaving field behind, quicker than ever
It won’t be a surprise to many that British track athletes have outperfomed the field eventers more or less for the entirety of this competition’s history but the difference between the two has never been so stark. What is it about British Athletics (or Britain itself) that is working so well for our runners but not translating to field success too? If anyone has any theories, feel free to drop your answers in the comments section below.
The shoe debate – how does this Champs compare?
The fairest way of judging this felt to be assessing on a combined basis for all the middle distance events. That way in theory slower tactical races in one event would balance itself out with a quicker one in one of the others. Of course this has its limitations but in short anti-shoe technology campaigners are unlikely to use these championships as their resounding argument, though there perhaps are some takeaways.
Whilst the men’s heats were quicker than we have seen across the last five editions, 2015 still had faster average finals.
For the women again the heats were quicker though the finals were considerably slower than the previous two editions. The absence of Sifan Hassan and Laura Muir of course skews this and if you would like further information behind the data please get in touch via my twitter handle contained at the end of this post.
|Year||Mens Combined Time – Average Top 12 Heat Times in 800m, 1500m, 3000m||Mens Combined Time – Average Top 6 Final Times in 800m, 1500m, 3000m||Womens Combined Time – Average Top 12 Heat Times in 800m, 1500m, 3000m||Womens Combined Time – Average Top 6 Final Times in 800m, 1500m, 3000m|
Avoid the arguments, watch the sprints
One world which has stayed pretty constant over the last few years are the sprints. For the women this was the slowest champs in a while and for the men their quickest since 2015.
Womens – 60m
|Average Heat Times Top 12||7.21||7.20||7.26||7.26||7.27|
|Average Semi-Final Times Top 6||7.14||7.12||7.20||7.20||7.24|
|Average Time in Final Top 6||7.13||7.09||7.15||7.15||7.20|
Mens – 60m
|Average Heat Times Top 12||6.66||6.63||6.69||6.70||6.65|
|Average Semi-Final Times Top 6||6.59||6.58||6.62||6.63||6.59|
|Average Times in Final Top 6||6.56||6.59||6.63||6.64||6.60|
If you have any questions on the back of this or would like to hear the stats behind some of the other events, please let me know and I’d be happy to have a look. Just let me know either on my twitter or comments section, both detailed below.Follow @mallettgjhttps://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Featured image “File:EKI30505 1500m man lewandowsky ingebrigtsen (40351509473).jpg” by filip bossuyt from Kortrijk, Belgium is licensed under CC BY 2.0