British women clinch relay bronze, but men are left frustrated


The joy of Great Britain's women was as palpable as the men's despair, with a first Olympic 4×100 metres medal since 1984 bookended by their team-mates' relay frustration.

Four years ago Desiree Henry was helping to light the Olympic cauldron with other young, talented British athletes, while Dina Asher-Smith was carrying boxes of kit for the athletes lining up.

Great Britain did not even qualify a 4x100m team to compete at their home Games, but on Friday underlined the vast strides made since then by securing Rio 2016 bronze.

Asha Philip, Henry, Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita broke the British record they set just last month, finishing third in 41.77 seconds to secure the country's first women's 4x100m medal at the Olympics in 32 years.

"This means an awful lot because not only have we worked hard to get faster as individuals we have worked hard as a team," Asher-Smith said.

"To be able to come out here and deliver the goods when the pressure is on is absolutely incredible. I'm so unbelievably proud of all of these girls."

Henry added: "At times we did feel people had given up on us but as individuals, we know how far British women's sprinting is coming. Each year we have got better and better. We are becoming consistent and winning medals. We have belief in ourselves and our team has belief in us and that is all we need."

The quartet's joy contrasted markedly with the men's 100m and 400m relay teams.

The team were bumped up to 5th (Martin Rickett/PA)
The team were bumped up to 5th (Martin Rickett/PA)

Adam Gemili, who the previous night missed out on 200m bronze by three thousandths of a second, led home Richard Kilty, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Ellington sixth in 37.98 secs.

The United States' disqualification saw them bumped up to fifth, but that was little consolation.

"We are disappointed," Gemili said. "We gave it our all out there and we got beaten by teams that were better than us on the day. We believe on our day we can be challenging for those medals. Today it wasn't to be."

The men's 4x400m team's overriding emotion was anger rather than frustration after seeing their Olympic medal hopes crushed.

Matthew Hudson-Smith passes the baton onto Martyn Rooney (Martin Rickett/PA)
Matthew Hudson-Smith passes the baton onto Martyn Rooney (Martin Rickett/PA)

The quartet of Nigel Levine, Delano Williams, Matt Hudson-Smith and Martyn Rooney came home first in their semi-final in two mins 58.88 secs, establishing themselves as strong medal contenders.

But shortly after leaving the track they were disqualified for starting outside the changeover zone, although it was not immediately clear on which leg the error occurred.

An appeal was launched but rejected, meaning they will not join Emily Diamond, Anyika Onuora, Kelly Massey and Christine Ohuruogu in Saturday's finals.

The women's 4x400m quartet and Mo Farah look to be Britain's best hopes on the final day of competition, with the athletics team currently two medals short of their UK Sport target.