GB & NI Women 4th in 4 * 100m Relay on Final Day

18th August 2013

The IAAF World Championships came to a close in Moscow today with a fourth place finish in the women’s 4x100m relay the highlight of the final day for GB & NI. But it was a cruel end for the men’s 4x100m hopes when they were disqualified after appearing to win the bronze medal in the day’s last race.

The British quartet of Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie), Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka), Annabelle Lewis and Hayley Jones (Donald Moss) were run out of the medal positions in the final few metres and crossed the line in fourth place with a time of 42.87, only 0.14 seconds from winning silver and 0.12 from bronze. Nevertheless, a fourth place finish represented a significant step forward for a young team, who were pleased with their collective performance.

After running an excellent first leg, 17 year old Asher-Smith said: “I’m really happy because we came here ranked fourth and to come out ranked fourth is such a good feeling. Relays are so unpredictable so anything can happen, it’s chaos out there. So to come away with fourth I’m really happy.”

Nelson, who ran on second leg, said: “It was a great run. Unfortunately Anyika (Onuora) got hurt in the 200m so we send our love to her and hope she gets well soon. The team got changed around last minute and I came from fourth into second and we’ve all done a great job I think working together along with coach Rana (Reider) to get the team back together.”

Third leg runner Lewis said: “It was amazing, London was so good and coming from that was great. This week it hasn’t been that busy but today they were chanting and I was hoping I’d still be able to hear her shout ‘hand’. It was fantastic, I loved it.”

Jones, who anchored the team home on fourth leg, said: “I’ve never done last leg before so it was quite scary knowing how fast the runners are on last leg. These girls all ran so well and put me in a great position and I’m just a bit disappointed that I couldn’t hang on to a medal.”

The GB & NI men’s 4x100m relay team finished in third place but lost the bronze medal after being disqualified for an illegal second handover. After a good first leg from Adam Gemili (Afilaka), who replaced Richard Kilty (Linford Christie) after the heat, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Rana Reider) couldn’t quite pass the baton to James Ellington (Reider) within the changeover box and although Dwain Chambers (Reider) crossed the line in third the result didn’t stand.

Aikines-Aryeetey admits that the disqualification was difficult to take, he said: “It’s heart-breaking; going out to get your medal and then someone stands in front of you and says ‘sorry to be the bearer of bad news’. We only found out on the way to the medal presentation.

“This still cuts deep, you can’t take away how much this hurts us. Everyone reacted in different ways and this is painful. It’s one of the most painful experiences I’ve experienced in sport.”

Dwain Chambers was similarly disappointed, he said: “It’s emotional. After crossing the line in third place and securing ourselves a medal we were looking forward to getting on the podium. This is sport, it’s just unfortunate that we weren’t able to experience what those guys are experiencing now.

“All we can do now is get back home, build our team spirit back up again and move on to the next one. Just because we didn’t succeed the way we wanted to doesn’t mean we’ll stop. When you fall you get back up again so that’s what we’ll do.”

In his first major championships final, Chris O’Hare (Steve Gulley) finished 12th in the final of the men’s 1500m with a time of 3:46.04. Despite running superbly to make the final, the 22 year old was unhappy with the way that he ended his campaign.

He said: “It just wasn't my day. I came into it really quite confident and thinking that if I ran a good race I could come away with something that will make me happy. To be honest if I was last and still in the race with a hundred to go, that would be easier to handle than being that far back. It's horrible to be that far back and searching for those gears and they're not there.”

With the championships now finished, British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black believes that the GB & NI team performed admirably. He said:

“Although we’re all gutted for the relay guys we can’t allow that disappointment to dampen what the team has achieved this week. It’s been a really positive championships for us and I’m extremely optimistic moving forward.

“This has been a transition year for us following London 2012 but we have still managed to come away with 17 top eight finishes which is an enormous achievement outlining the depth of young talent coming through. We have also matched our best ever performance at world level with three Golds, so I am pleased that we have delivered those performances. We can’t forget that this is a young team and I’m really proud of how they have handled themselves.”