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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alex Spink

Zharnel Hughes sets sights on world glory after all-weather sprint masterclass

Zharnel Hughes aims to end 30 years of hurt for British sprinting after a stunning double at the national championships.

Not since Linford Christie in Stuttgart in 1993 has a male British sprinter won gold at the World Championships. It is 20 years since Darren Campbell picked up the last medal of any colour.

Hughes, the fastest in the world this year over 100 metres, is on track to remedy that in Budapest next month.

In Manchester yesterday the Anguilla-born star added 200m gold to his stunning 100m triumph in monsoon conditions on Saturday night.

But for a +2.3m/second wind, his time of 19.77 seconds would have smashed John Regis’ British record (19.87) and placed him second in the world this year behind only Noah Lyles (19.67).

Still the message it sent was unmistakable: Usain Bolt’s one-time training partner is in shape to rearrange the world order in Hungary.

Hughes weathered a storm to take 100m gold in 10.03secs, astonishing in the conditions (Paul Greenwood/REX/Shutterstock)

“I am the fastest in the world this year,” he declared matter-of-factly after finishing clear of Joe Ferguson (20.43) and Jona Efoloko (20.45).

“To be dropping these times now is exciting and I still have a month to go. I can get a lot faster by then.”

Next stop for Hughes is the London Diamond League on July 23 where he is slated to take on Lyles and 100m world champion Fred Kerly over the longer distance.

Walking on water: Hughes shows his class on Monsoon Saturday (British Athletics via Getty Imag)

He is unlikely to be fazed by that, given he is only doing what he expects of himself. Before yesterday’s final his goal was 19.80secs. He bettered it.

Hughes insists this purple patch, which began a fortnight ago with him erasing Christie’s long-standing 100m British record with a 9.83secs run, is no fluke.

“I pushed myself tirelessly in the off-season,” he said. “I ended up in hospital unable to breathe. I was blanking out forcing myself to hit the times and the recovery times.”

Stephen Maguire: “That was a genuinely world class performance by Zharnel" (PA)

The fruits of that labour are being harvested now, his 10.03secs winning time for the 100m here extraordinary given the thunderstorm he had to wade through.

“That was a genuinely world class performance,” purred Great Britain team boss Stephen Maguire. “The way Zharnel handled the pressure, the patience and composure he showed in those conditions."

If that pleased Maguire then he was no less delighted with the commanding way in which Daryll Neita retained her 200m title - before declaring her own ambition to rule the world.

Daryll Neita retained her 200m title in highly impressive fashion (Getty Images)

“My mindset has evolved,” she warned, after coming home ahead of Bianca Williams in a championship record 22.26s.

“I’m not scared to beat people. I want to be number one.”

Hodgkinson waves to crowd after becoming British champion over 800m for third time (British Athletics via Getty Imag)

Keely Hodgkinson was another to throw down the gauntlet after completing a hat-trick of British titles in Manchester.

The Wigan warrior was crowned 800 metres champion for the third time in four years by ending Jemma Reekie’s title defence in 1:58.26.

She quickly turned her attention to next month’s Worlds in Budapest where she faces her twin nemeses Athing Mu and Mary Moraa.

“There’s more of a target on your back but I enjoy the pressure and the competition so I don’t mind" (British Athletics via Getty Imag)

Mu pipped her to gold in both the Olympics and Worlds last year, whilst Moraa forced her to accept another silver at the Commonwealths last summer in Birmingham.

“They say getting to the top and maintaining it is the hardest part,” said the European champion. “I’ve definitely found that.

“I’m in a different position than I was before Tokyo (Olympics), being a young kid with no expectations it’s definitely different.

Laura Muir is beaten by Katie Snowden in final of women's 1500m (British Athletics via Getty Imag)

“There’s more of a target on your back but I enjoy the pressure and the competition so I don’t mind.

“I like the idea of give it all you’ve got – see if you can beat me today! I think this year will maybe be closer than previous years.”

That is some prospect given her margin of defeat in the three championship finals was 0.67, 0.08 and 0.33secs respectively.

Muir: “There’s a lot going on at the moment" (Getty Images)

Laura Muir was visibly upset after being beaten by domestic opposition in the 1500m for the second time in a week - having previously not lost to a Briton since 2014.

Katie Snowdon (4:09.86) outlasted the world and Olympic medalist (4:10.24) down the home straight to bag her first British title.

“There’s a lot going on at the moment,” said the Scot, who split with her coach in March.

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