Loughborough Student Alex Haydock-Wilson Makes 400m World Semi-Final
World Athletics Championships Oregon22 - Day Three
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Loughborough Student Alex Haydock-Wilson Makes 400m World Semi-Final

Oscar Frost July 24, 2022

Loughborough student, Alex Haydock-Wilson has made it to the 400m World Championship semi-final.

After having a mixed past week, and following a 47.09-second clocking in the 4×400 relay, he had something to prove in the individual 400m.

The Loughborough athlete may have missed out on the final, but his performance at these World Championships has been one to remember.

Alex Haydock-Wilson bounced back in the heats

Haydock-Wilson had to bounce back quickly from his disappointing relay performance. Drawn in a heat with the current world record holder, Wade van Niekerk, advancing would not be an easy feat.

Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for World Athletics

As expected, van Niekerk cruised to victory with an easy-looking 45.18-second clocking. Behind him, though, there was a heated battle for the third spot, and automatic qualifying for the semi-finals. Jonathan Jones, a previous Big 12 champion from Barbados, took second place.

It was then the plucky English athlete who took the final automatic qualifying spot. Eventually, Julian Jrummi Walsh of Japan also made it through as a fastest loser from that heat. However, Haydock-Wilson was well and truly back.

Qualifying ninth overall, ahead of the likes of Michael Cherry and Isaac Makwala, the Brit would have been feeling far more confident than before about his chances of making the final.

Alex Haydock-Wilson makes 400m Semi-Final

He had made it to the semi-finals, the biggest stage of his fledgling career. With his chances of making the final slim, Haydock-Wilson had very little pressure on himself going into the race. With the opportunity to go to a final in his first World Championships, however, all eyes were fixed on him.

In the semi-finals, only the top two athletes in each race would automatically qualify for the final, with the two fastest losers’ spots up for grabs. Drawn against van Niekerk and Jones again, as well as Champion Allison from the United States, Haydock-Wilson had some tough competition.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Running from lane eight is always difficult in a 400m. Starting ahead of the competition means that being overtaken early in the race spells defeat in most circumstances. It was no surprise, therefore, to see Haydock-Wilson go off hard – perhaps harder than we have ever seen from him before.

Holding off the field for almost both bends meant that the Brit was right in amongst the top places. History was to strike again, with van Niekerk and Jones edging Haydock-Wilson out, with Allison also finishing ahead. The Loughborough athlete’s chances of a final were over.

That being said, celebrations still rang out amongst the British fans as the clock read 45.08 – a half-second personal best for Haydock-Wilson. A huge achievement on one of the biggest stages in athletics.

Overall, although Haydock-Wilson would have loved to make the final, his bounce back from a lacklustre relay performance was fantastic to see. Running the second fastest time in Europe this year, as well as finishing tenth at the World Championships, shows that the future is incredibly bright for this English Star.

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Hi, I'm Oscar Frost, and I'm a second year History student from Oxford. I study at the University of Birmingham, and am also a sprinter in the athletics squad. Sport is my passion, but I also love writing about anything and everything that I find interesting in the student world