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sprint relay teams and lake into finals 

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18 August 2016

Both the men’s and women’s 4x100m teams advanced to their respective Olympic finals with very solid runs on Thursday morning in Rio de Janeiro.

Up first were the women, with Asha Philip (coach: Steve Fudge) running her usual lead off leg before handing over to Desiree Henry (Rana Reider). She ran a great back straight before handing over to Dina Asher-Smith (John Blakie), fresh from her fifth place finish in the 200m last night. A good bend and safe change meant it was down to Daryll Neita (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) to finish the job and she did just that.

In the end the team were second in 41.93, just 0.14 behind an exceptional Jamaican quartet, meaning they should receive a favourable lane in the final.

Of the team’s effort Asha Philip said: “We’ve run another good time under 42 seconds and that’s put us in a good position for the final - we’re happy with that.

When asked about taking risks with the changes in the final Asher-Smith added: “We want to do that with our coaches, Christian, Benke – do it maybe after the race, maybe tonight when we’ve got more time to think about it recover and rest and then the adjustments may or may not come.

“Qualification is qualification - a final is a completely different ball game. We work really hard and we know we are mentally strong so for us it shouldn’t be a problem, but at the same time qualification means nothing, but it gets you a good lane draw in the final.”

The men had a much tougher task, as despite being the fastest in the world this year were drawn in lane one. European Indoor 60 champion Richard Kilty (Benke Blomkvist) had the job of setting the team off, and he got out hard before a good change to Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Blomkvist). He too ran a strong leg, but his change with James Ellington (Linford Christie) could have been better, leaving the team with work to do.

The final change to anchor leg runner Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) was marginally better, with the sub 10 man bringing it home in fourth. Despite being outside of the top three automatic spots, the team’s 38.06 was enough for a fastest losers spot.

Post-race Richard Kilty commented: “We knew we had a tough task on with lane one - for some reason all of the GB sprinters have been getting lane one and that’s a bit unlucky.  But that’s the fastest time we have run in lane one - I don’t think I’ve ever seen another team in the world run quick from lane one. So fingers crossed they put us in an outer lane for the final. But no matter what we get we are going to fight and we are still in contention for a medal.

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey added: “We are at the Olympics, we are excited and having fun.  We’ve come together with a very strong squad so it’s about moving forward and taking it on.”

CJ Ujah concluded: “In the final, no matter what lane we get we will run our hearts out.  We are positive and we all believe in each other. We are excited.”

Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) equalled her personal best to qualify for the Olympic high jump final with her final attempt.

Putting together a strong series, the young Brit took three attempts to clear 1.92m, and it was a similar story at the automatic qualifying height of 1.94m. In end it was do or die with her final jump, the youngster showing maturity beyond her years to go clear and make the final at her first Olympic Games.

“I was nervous (going into final attempt) because I knew I could do it and I was getting frustrated with myself - I know I’m in good form and training has been going really well but you’ve still got the added pressure of getting to the Olympic final in my head so a lot of emotions but happy to have made it.

“I try to clear my mind really – to think of all the sacrifices made to get to that point and think back to training sessions that have gone well, knowing everything for this moment. It’s horrible being the third attempt but it’s nice to clear it.

“The last attempt felt good so I’ve got to get that into my mind, rest and recover for the next couple of days so hopefully a PB would be nice in the final.”