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Olympics 2008 - Day 8 Evening Session Report

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22nd August 2008



The women’s 4x100m relay squad failed to finish in an emotional night for the athletics team, but there were strong performances from the 4x400m teams qualifying for Saturday night’s finals.

The 4x100m squad of Jeanette Kwakye, Montell Douglas, Emily Freeman and Emma Ania appeared to have their lane impeded by the Jamaican team at the second changeover. The exchange between Douglas and Freeman faltered and the Brits failed to finish.

Despite a team protest, the result stood, and the girls were disappointed with their failure to finish.

“The timing was out, I just knew the baton wasn’t going to go in so I shouted ‘stop’ because I could see the end of the zone,” said Douglas.

“But it was timing, it’s just one of those things – it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t Emily’s fault.”

The gold was won by the Russian team in 42.31, with silver and bronze going to Belgium and Nigeria respectively.

Earlier, in Friday evening’s other final featuring British interest, Jade Johnson put together a strong series of jumps to finish seventh in the long jump.

Johnson, wearing her trademark stockings, opened her account with 6.51m, 6.64m and 6.40m, and qualified in seventh for the final three jumps. But adding 6.49 and 6.53 to her card did not move her up the standings.

Despite seventh in a high-quality competition won by Maurren Maggi of Brazil with 7.04m, with Russian Tatyana Lebedeva taking silver with 7.03m, Johnson was disappointed she could not make an impact on the medals.

“I’m quite frustrated with that – I’d felt really good,” she said. “Everything felt good, it was just at the board I was leaning back which was killing my speed and killing my jumps.”

In the final events of the decathlon, Daniel Awde enjoying a strong second day, had the javelin and 1500m to think about. The youngster, clearly enjoying the focus of the packed Friday night stadium performed solidly.

Putting together a consistent series of throws, Awde saved the best to last with 53.18m – just nine centimetres short of his lifetime best and adding an extra 636 points to his score.

With just the 1500m remaining, Awde’s total stood at 6866 and going in the first of the two 1500m heats, he ran sensibly to complete the race and his first Olympic decathlon – his time of 4.44.80, adding 650 points and giving him an Olympic total of 7516 for 21st place. Athens Olympic silver medallist Bryan Clay (USA) took gold with 8791.
“It's been an amazing experience,” said Awde. “I got to speak to Bryan Clay and for him it's just chit-chat, but for me I learned so much.
“I was happy with my 400m and the pole vault. The 1500m was a real hard one after I got a groin strain in the javelin.
“But it has given me a really good taste and I want a bit more of the meat. I feel like a little fish in a big ocean and I want to be a big fish.
“I want people to say ‘he's really competing’.”

Earlier in the evening, in the men’s 4x400m heats, Great Britain were able to field their strongest quartet of Andrew Steele, Rob Tobin, Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney.

Despite Rooney having run in Thursday night’s 400m final he produced a superb final leg to bring the four home in a ‘sub-three’ time of 2.59.33, the fastest of all the qualifiers.

It was certainly a team effort though – Steele giving them a narrow lead on the first leg which Tobin managed to continue on his second. Then over to Bingham who was briefly overtaken by Jamaica’s Sanjay Ayre on the back straight, before powering back in front to gift Rooney a strong lead.

“It was very impressive,” said Tobin. “Especially with Rooney easing down as well.

“Michael and I have been itching to get out running, we’ve been in the Village seven days and we’ve just wanted to get out onto the track.

“Sub-three minutes is usually a medal, but the standard is always going up so it’ll take at least 2.58, but we’ll go out and run like we did today and we’ll go finish the job.”

The women’s 4x400m team – earlier disrupted by the news that Lee McConnel was injured – called upon the services of heptathlete Kelly Sotherton and 800m specialist Marilyn Okoro for Friday night’s qualifying round.

Lead leg was taken by world silver medallist Nicola Sanders, eager to avenge her semi-final exit from the individual 400m, and she ran her usual superior relay leg handing over a five metre lead to Sotherton.

Sotherton was overtaken by Russia early on, but held her head finishing strongly and taking the fastest split time away of 50.6 seconds.

Okoro, who ran individual 400m for Great Britain in the 2006 European Championships, sat behind her Russian rival on the third leg, before challenging off the final bend, but handed over to newly crowned Olympic champion Ohuruogu some five metres down

Ohuruogu initially looked to be in cruise control allowing Russia to run away, but signs that her 400m victory took a lot out of her were there when she gave up second place to Cuba and then nearly lost the third and final automatic qualifying spot on the line to Germany.

Sotherton was delighted: “I’m quite chuffed,” she said. “I felt that was a sensible run from me. It was a really good PB split – overall we did the job, although all the teams are very close.

“I’m probably only here because of Lee (McConnell) being injured – I hope I did her place justice, and I hope she can recover and take it back from me.”

Great Britain’s time in finishing third in their heat was 3.25.48. Leading the qualifications overall from the semi-finals were the American quartet, featuring Sanya Richards on the final leg, with 3.22.45.

Athletics resumes at the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Saturday evening, with Lisa Dobriskey in the women’s 1500m final and the finals of the 4x400m relays.

For Results and Startlists click here