Loughborough Echo

So near but yet so far for Abbie Wood


ABBIE Wood could barely have been closer to a medal in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley after one of the closest finals of the entire Olympic programme so far saw her finish fourth, with compatriot Alicia Wilson placing eighth.

Wood, who trains under David Hemmings at the Loughborou­gh National Centre, put together four lengths of composed swimming to keep herself in podium contention the whole way.

In the midst of an intense, four-way tussle for the medals across lanes two to five. Japan’s Yui Ohashi just edged clear with 15m to go to complete the 200m400m IM double, but Wood remained in the battle right to the touch, where she was just outdone by Kate Douglass of the USA by 0.11 seconds, despite a fine new lifetime best.

Indeed, she was less than seven-tenths off the Olympic title, so strong was her performanc­e and so close the race.

Afterwards she said: “I’m just gutted. It such a close race, I knew it was going to be that way, it was just about who got their hand on the wall first. It’s bitterswee­t – I’m happy with the time and know I couldn’t have done much more, if it had been off my PB and I came fourth, that would been a lot worse. I did put myself out there, I’m glad I did and I did everything I could this season.

“All I could see was the American next to me, I didn’t see the girls on the other side, that’s why it’s hard being in the middle, you’ve got to keep your eyes on everyone. I feel I gave it everything and my last stroke was my last best one, so I paced it as I wanted to. That’s just sport, I suppose.

“I feel in moments like this, I do have to remember that I was talked out of quitting after my first Worlds in 2017.

“I feel I’ve really grown as a person since then, grown up, you have to remember things like that to not make moments like these feel as rough.”

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