World U20 Silver for Dobson
In an almost unblemished season, Charlie Dobson went to the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland hoping to bring back a medal as part of the GB 4 x 100m relay squad and intrigued to see how he faired in his individual event.
He opened his Championship campaign on Friday 12 July, Day 3 of the champs, in heat 4, lane 8 of the 200m; the three previous heats had all been won in times quicker than his PB and knew he would have to pull something special out the bag to just qualify through. He produced a blistering run, winning comfortably and in a new PB of 20.65 (w-0.1) taking .08 of a second off his previous best. His time good enough to ensure a decent lane draw in the semi, some six hours later.
“Before the champs started we were able to practice on the track and use the blocks, they were both amazing and I knew if all went well there were going to be some quick times. It was the best I had felt ever after a race, but knew I had to go back to the camp and relax and keep focused for the semi-final.”
Drawn in the first semi-final and with the joint quickest qualifying time, he once again dominated the field from the gun, crossing the line in another magnificent PB of 20.53s (w-0.6) taking 0.12 off his time in the heat and with it claiming fourth place on the all-time UK U20 times behind Christian Malcolm and Adam Gemili.
“I never thought I would do that this season; coming off the bend I held my strength and in the corner of my eye I saw a couple of athletes, so just had to push.”
Day 4 saw the qualifying rounds of the 4x 100m relay and the final of the 200m take place on the same evening, and with both Dobson and fellow sprinter Efoloko focusing on their final it was left to the remaining four boys to get the squad into medal contention. Sadly, a mistake between third and fourth handover saw all chances of a team medal slip away and as if on queue the heavens opened and monsoon like conditions lead to a delay in the schedule.
After a much disrupted warm up – where athletes had been told their race was delayed by at least 20 minutes and then call room times brought forwards, Dobson looked anxious but focused as he took his place in lane 5. Did he have anything left for one final battle? A good start helped produce one of his quickest first 100m split times, which found himself in the lead as he came off the bend. But he was just not strong enough to hold off the might and experience of team mate Efoloko who produced an excellent run to finish in a new PB of 20.48s with Dobson just a shade behind in 20.57s and world Silver medallist. Their placings completed just the second 1 – 2 sweep for any nation at the Championships and helped ensure GB’s team standing on the medal board on what has been named as Fabulous Friday.
“It’s my first World Juniors and to get a silver medal especially against Jona is an amazing feeling. Coming into the worlds I’d have been happy to reach the final but after the first round and the semi, I wouldn’t have been happy to leave without a medal, preferably gold but I’m just as happy with silver. It’s an amazing feeling to have the GB flag round my shoulders at such an amazing event, it’s the best feeling in the world.”