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IAAF World Championships, Osaka - Day 8 evening session

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4x100m men
Bronze Boys!

The Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team upped their medal tally to four on Saturday evening, through a splendid bronze from the men’s 4x100m team. Here’s a run-down of all the evening’s action.


Women’s Wheelchair 1500m

In a slow tactical race Shelly Woods (British Wheelchair Racing Association) came eighth in 3:40.84. Woods, the Blackpool-based winner of this year’s London Marathon, was boxed in off on the last bend as the field was bunched for most of the race.


The 21-year-old said: “I basically got the tactics wrong and that’s what I have to go and learn, especially where to find the gaps and go for them. I’m not happy, but I will work on it and I will be back”


Men’s Wheelchair 1500m

Brian Alldis (British Wheelchair Racing Association) came seventh in the men’s event after joining the team late as a replacement for David Weir. Alldis, coached by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, clocked 3:28.41 in another slow race, which gradually picked up speed over the last 600m.


He said: “I must say I’m over the moon with that race. I came ninth in Canada and only came into the team late as a reserve so I think I did well. The atmosphere and the stadium was amazing and it was great to be a part of. I really enjoyed it.”


Women’s 4x400m relay

The GB&NI quartet of Lee McConnell (Shaftesbury Barnet), Donna Fraser (Croydon Harriers), Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Nicola Sanders (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) eased their way into tomorrow’s final.


The foursome came second in heat 2 in 3:23.37, behind the USA team.


McConnell said: “I went out pretty slow on the first half so I could finish strong because of the longer bends and staggers. We’re all looking forward to the final.”


Fraser said: “The hardest part of the relay is getting through the heats. We believed in ourselves and have done the job. We believed in ourselves in 2005 and we do in 2007. We want people to be positive and not negative.”


Women’s 5000m final

It was a trademark gutsy effort from Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers), but the after-effects of her superb fourth-place finish in the 10,000m final six days earlier were apparent as she finished 9th in 15:04.77 in a race won by world-record Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) in 14:57.91.


Afterwards, she said: “Bit disappointed. When I was doing my warm-up, it felt like it was going to be a bad day. It felt that what with doing the 10k and then the 5k, I was putting damage on top of damage. I just struggled with the recovery.


“I wanted to give it a go, but I’m sort of thinking I’m made the wrong decision because it wasn’t a very good performance out there. But you know, it’s a World Championship final, it’s an opportunity and if I hadn’t tried, I’d only be thinking ‘what if?’ for the rest of my life.”


Men’s 4x400m Relay

Drawn in the tougher first semi final, the foursome of Andrew Steele (Trafford AC), Rob Tobin (Basingstoke & Mid Hants), Richard Buck (City of York) and Martyn Rooney (Croydon Harriers) finished fourth in 3:01.22, forcing them to watch the second semi final, hoping they would progress as a fastest loser.


Fortunately, their time would actually have been good enough to win the second semi. Although race winners, USA, were admittedly keeping plenty in reserve for Sunday’s final.


Asked whether 400m semi-finallist Tim Benjamin (Cardiff AAC) would be drafted in for the final, first leg runner Steele said: “We can’t call that until tomorrow. What Tony (Lester, team coach) says goes. So we wait and see, but even if he’s not, this team’s good here. We have got the order right. If we can give it our all, we’ve always got a chance.”


Women’s 4x100m Relay

The Norwich Union GB&NI team of Laura Turner (Harrow), Montell Douglas (Blackheath & Bromley), Emily Freeman (Wakefield) and Joice Maduaka (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) narrowly missed out on a medal after a storming run.


Slick change-overs and all out determination saw them come fourth in 42.87, with the gold going to the USA. Jamaica and Belgium snatched silver and bronze respectively.


After the race the foursome spoke of their disappointment at missing out on a medal.


Maduaka said: “It’s just dawning on me how close we were. It is so disappointing. After the heat this morning we went back thinking we wouldn’t be in lane one, but we were in lane two (lane one was empty). If we had had another lane who knows what we could have done.”


Men’s 4x100m Relay

GB&NI repeated their bronze-medal effort of four years ago with a barnstorming run from Christian Malcolm (Cardiff AAC), Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes), Marlon Devonish (Coventry Godiva) and Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers).


The quartet produced the third-fastest ever run by a British team, clocking 37.90, just one-hundredth adrift of Jamaica and 0.12 short of gold medallists, USA in a truly top-class final.


Slick baton changes put anchor leg Lewis-Francis in the silver medal winning position coming into the final straight, where he produced his customary eye-balls-out effort, just failing to thwart the charge of a rampant Asafa Powell.


Pickering said: “I didn’t run very well in the 100m, so I had to point to prove and to come out here and get a medal is great. I always try to live for the moment. People say I am young and I have got plenty of championships ahead of me, but we don’t know that.”


“My career might end tomorrow if I am injured. So I’m determined to try and get everything I can. It’s not an excuse to say you’re young and inexperienced. If you’re here you have got to be good enough and we were.”



For more news and photographs from the 11th IAAF World Championships click here