Matthew Hudson-Smith welcomes having a “target” on his back in the pursuit of triple medals


Matthew Hudson-Smith has finally graduated on the big stage, now it’s gold he wants.

It’s been eight years since he won European silver in Zurich as a teenager, but it’s fair to say that the bold predictions of success have not come true.

His bronze medal in the 400m at the last World Championships in Oregon changed that, and he justified his Commonwealth Games favorite status with a comfortable win in his run at Alexander Stadium.

He has a busy schedule in his hometown before focusing on the European Championships in Munich, a grueling summer campaign he will face with determination.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster since Oregon,” he said.

“I’ve been saying all year that it’s three championships and I want three medals. We have a plan for it and I’m relishing the opportunity.

“I have a goal on my back and I embrace it. You must have a chip on your shoulder or you will become complacent. I’ll just bask in the pressure of all this.

“The job is done, I just have to work my way through the rounds and not go crazy. It’s all about moving forward and executing my plan every lap.”

Hudson-Smith revealed he’s avoiding his home for fear of being tempted by mum Cheryl’s legendary cooking.

And admitted that he was inspired by Christine Ohuruogu’s story. She won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, a year later won the first of two world titles and then Olympic gold in Beijing.

Ohuruogu was known to be a championship performer who might not always set flashy times but, more importantly, won races when it counted.

“I don’t care about times, people don’t remember medals,” added Hudson-Smith, who won gold at the Glasgow 2014 Games with the relay but suffered shock on the Gold Coast, was disqualified in the individual competition and with one stopped thigh injury in the relay.

“In that sense, I’m inspired by Christine (Ohuruogu). I’m just about making some history and creating my own legacy. I don’t want to be arrogant, there’s a difference between arrogance and confidence. I have expectations and many goals.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Webb is determined to capitalize on his chance after his attention-grabbing 800m dash win. He will be joined in the final by Ben Pattison of England and Guy Learmouth of Scotland.

(Getty Images)

Webb missed selection for Team England at Birmingham after falling ill at the British Championships but was drafted after injuring national 800m number one Max Burgin at the last World Championships in Oregon.

And there was no time to relax at the games, either, after officials decided to skip the heats, meaning only the top two finishers from three top-flight semi-finals guaranteed their final spot this weekend.

Webb started the race properly on the last lap and crossed the finish line just ahead of Learmouth in a time of 1:48.86.

“Win the heat, win the finals, that’s always my expectation,” Webb said. “I know I can win a medal in the finals on the world stage, I just have to prove that now.

“This was the heat of death, it was filled with talent and getting through that is great for confidence.

“They changed the schedule very harshly at the last minute and eliminated random pre-runs. It’s very rare to face a field of this quality without being built into the race.”

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