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Olympics 2008 - Day 9 Report

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Lisa Dobriskey - Olympics 2008

23rd August 2008


It was a night of near misses for Team GB as the men’s 4x400m squad and 1500m runner Lisa Dobriskey took fourth in their respective finals, and the women’s 4x400m quartet finished fifth in their race.

Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Dobriskey may not have been expected to win a medal before the start of Beijing 2008, but the manner in which she qualified for the final suggested that the Ashford athlete was in the best form of her life and getting stronger with each and every race.

As the final pace dawdled initially, Dobriskey sat in the pack for the first three laps, but a blistering final 300m saw the group split and for a moment it looked as though Dobriskey was one of the detached athletes but she quickly responded, giving chase with 200m to go.

Having her stride chopped around the final bend meant she was down a gear when the sprint for the line occurred, and she finished fourth in a time of 4.02.10 – her second personal best mark in Beijing.

“I was desperate to get that medal I really wanted it,” she said. “I feel like I missed an opportunity really.

“I knew the pace was going to inject quite quickly – I am quite long-striding, last year in Osaka (at the world championships) I lost my shoe because I get in everyone’s way because I’m so big and tall. So at the back I was able to run at my pace and my rhythm

“I sat there and felt really strong and really good and I knew I had it there. But I think when the break came I just missed it by a split second. It’s such a fine line – in the past I’ve gone too early and I could have ended up a lot further down the field at the finish. I just messed up tactically.

“I’d sooner have run 20 seconds slower and have a medal.”

Kenya’s Nancy Langat took gold in 4.00.23 ahead of Ukrainian pair Iryna Lischynska and Nataliya Tobias in 4.01.63 and 4.01.78 respectively.

The men’s 4x400m team were the exact same formation that brought Team GB through to the finals so impressively on Friday night.

But despite Andrew Steele, Rob Tobin, Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney all improving on their impressive time in Friday’s heats, they finished fourth and just short of the podium in 2.58.81.

“We wanted a medal today – that was the aim,” said Bingham. “But a lot of things can happen in relays. The time was fast, which is something to be happy about, but it’s bittersweet because we really, really needed to be on the podium.”

Steele added: “I think we’re good enough to get a medal. Today the standard was very high. We all ran well, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. It’s the Olympic final – it was never going to be a small run in the park or the average league outing for your club, it was the best people in the world here.

“We ran easily yesterday in the heat, but in the final things are never as smooth. The time is faster and we ran beyond what people thought we could. But the depression at just missing out on an Olympic medal is hard to bear right now.”

Tobin was equally disappointed. “It reminds me of the 2005 4x400m team at the world championships,” he said. “2.58.8, fourth place – it’s absolutely gutting.”

Anchor-man Rooney, who had valiantly chased down Russia but ran out of track said: “I knew I was capable of catching people, but when you’re further down you have to go through more people.

“After yesterday I thought we could get silver, but to run 2.58 and not medal is so disappointing – it’s a bad day.

“Hopefully there will be more competition for places next year, and with more people running 45s, we’ll have a team running 2.56, 2.57.”

The gold was won by the USA in an Olympic record of 2.55.39.

Christine Ohuruogu, Kelly Sotherton, Marilyn Okoro and Nicola Sanders earlier went in the women’s 4x400m final – but it was a race too far for the quartet who had all competed in individual events before Friday night’s heats.

Ohuruogu on the first leg worked hard off the long stagger of lane nine, but race number five of Beijing 2008 took its toll and she brought the baton round in fourth place.

Sotherton worked hard to maintain a connection to the lead group, and despite another strong run from the heptathlete, the team were in fifth when she handed over to Okoro, whose solid leg held onto that position.

By the time Sanders took the baton on her favoured last leg, the talented relay anchor was facing mission: impossible, with a 15m-plus deficit to reach bronze. Despite a strong effort there was too much ground for the world silver medallist to make up and she brought Team GB’s quartet home in fifth position in 3.22.68.

“It was always going to be a massive ask to get in the medals against three really strong teams,” she said.

“I tried my very hardest on the last leg, but I just had too many people to get round. I’d have loved to have got them but I ran out of steam.”

Sotherton said: “We all gave it everything, and the spirit in the team is so great, but we have all run three events, so we’re all running with tired legs.”

Sanya Richards, brought the USA team in first, pipping Russian Ana Kapachinskaya to the line in 3.18.54.

The athletics resumes on Sunday morning with the final event of the programme, the men’s marathon beginning at 07:30 local time (00:30).


For Results and Startlists click here