GB & NI Women 4X100M Relay Bronze in Moscow
The IAAF World Championships came to a close in Moscow today with GB & NI winning bronze in the women’s 4x100m relay to take the team's total medal count to six. 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 initially given fourth place but were upgraded to bronze several hours later after the French team was disqualified for an illegal handover.
Hayley Jones on last leg crossed the line with a time of 42.87, eventually only 0.12 seconds from winning silver. All four British women were delighted to come away from the World Championships with a medal.
After running an excellent first leg, 17 year old Asher-Smith said: “It means so much to us. I’m over the moon, it’s such a shock.”
Nelson, who ran on second leg, said: “It’s really exciting. It’s a strange feeling because obviously it would have been great to find out on the track and run around crazy with flags and stuff. It’s a great feeling, I feel really strange. We’ve worked really well as a team and it’s just unfortunate that Anyika (Onuora) couldn’t be on the team to join us because she’s someone that’s worked really hard as well.”
Third leg runner Lewis said: “I can’t believe it. We’ve worked so hard for this. I never thought I’d be so gutted with a fourth place in the world coming into it but to get a bronze is amazing – I can’t believe it.”
Jones, who anchored the team home on fourth leg, said: “We were all screaming when we found out. It was so disappointing to finish fourth, it really is the worst place so this is great. I heard that there was a few things that were a bit dodgy but with it taking so long to come through I thought the appeal had been rejected.”
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 men’s 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 18 top eight finishes and six medals 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.”