Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith claimed a gutsy 400m silver at the World Championships as he finished an agonising 0.09 seconds behind Jamaican champion Antonio Watson.
The 28-year-old led until the closing stages but could not hold off Watson, who clocked victory in 44.22 secs.
Hudson-Smith’s preparations were impacted by a foot problem that he said sometimes left him “unable to walk”.
“I got a bronze last year, a silver this year so next time, gold,” he said.
Hudson-Smith went out hard in pursuit of his first global title but could not respond as a measured Watson overhauled him in the push to the end in Budapest.
The Briton had made his gold medal ambitions clear after setting a European record in the semi-finals and initially appeared unsure how to react to his achievement.
Crouching down in a mixture of contemplation and exhaustion after upgrading his 2022 medal, he was able to enjoy the moment after being handed his hard-earned silver.
It is Great Britain’s fifth medal of the championships and comes a day after Josh Kerr’s stunning 1500m victory.
Hudson-Smith goes close to world title
Hudson-Smith had insisted last year’s bronze was only the start for him, believing that breakthrough global medal would allow him to unleash his full potential.
The unfortunate injury sustained by Steven Gardiner, the heavy favourite in the absence of reigning champion Michael Norman, in the previous round had left the medal fight wide-open.
Hudson-Smith looked set to take full advantage as he emerged from the bend with a marginal advantage. But he ultimately paid for his earlier exertion, unable to maintain the pace to finish in 44.31 secs.
Silver still represents a remarkable achievement for Hudson-Smith, who put three years of “absolute hell” behind him to win world bronze, Commonwealth silver and European gold in a stellar 2022 season.
What has made these successes all the more remarkable is what he has overcome to accomplish them.
Overwhelmed with emotion after crossing the line in Eugene, he revealed he had severely struggled with his mental health in 2021 as he struggled with injury, debt and the coronavirus pandemic.
And while he may feel the title was there for the taking on Thursday night, this medal, earned despite suffering with Achilles tendonitis this year, represents another notable milestone in his career.
More to follow