29th May 2014

Gb & Ni Taste Success At Iaaf World Relays In The Bahamas

The inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas proved successful for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team, with one national record, two sets of medals and a number of automatic qualification places for the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Day One

The Great Britain & Northern Ireland team had an impressive first day at the IAAF World Relay Championships.

A truly magnificent carnival atmosphere greeted GB & NI’s top relay athletes on a humid evening in Nassau, Bahamas and they responded with promising and solid performances.

The women’s 4x100m finished fifth in the final, while the men’s and women’s 4x400m qualified for Sunday’s final.

The three squads all successfully sealed their places at the 2015 World Championships.

The sprint quartet of Asha Philip (coach: Christine Bowmaker), Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan), Jodie Williams (Bowmaker) and Desiree Henry (Rana Reider) crossed the line in a season’s best time of 42.75.

“It was a decent time that we ran and we are proud of that. We made the final for the World Championships next year so it is definitely a good start for us," reflected Philip. 

“We are working well as a team, we’ve all got personal bests this year. I’m proud of all these girls and we’re really happy to be here.

“Everyone wants to medal but it was the first time we’ve ever ran together. This is only the start for us.”

Martyn Rooney (Reider) particularly impressed with a commanding final leg to bring his comrades of Michael Bingham (George Williams), Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) and Nigel Levine (Christie), home in first place, posting a time of 3:00.74.

“It was fun,” said the Croydon Harrier. “Compared to last year I’ve had a great winter. I’ve trained really well, had a really good camp in Florida and raced a lot.

“It’s a good event. There are top athletes here and the atmosphere is incredible. I don’t want to sound cliché but it inspires you to run well and put on a good show. It’s going to be tough in the final but we will see what happens.”

The women’s quartet, which consisted of senior debutant Emily Diamond (Dan Cossins), Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), Shana Cox (George Williams) and Margaret Adeoye (Christie), clinched their berth in the final crossing the line in third with 3:27.30.

“I loved it” said Diamond. “I was pretty nervous going into the race. I had the Jamaicans just in front of me, I tried as much as I could to not let her get away from me but down the home straight her experience came through. I was trying so hard but I had nothing left (to catch her).

“I’m so happy that we are through to the final. I don’t see why we can’t win a medal tomorrow.”

Day Two

A women’s 4x200m national record was the Great Britain & Northern Ireland highlight on the final day of the IAAF World Relay Championships.

There was also a bronze medal for the men’s 4x100m in Nassau, Bahamas.

A time of 1:29.61 from Desiree Henry (coach: Rana Reider), Anyika Onuora (Reider), Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) and Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) secured a silver medal – GB & NI’s first ever medal at these inaugural championships.

“This is just the start for us in the women’s relay,” said Onuora.

“We just wanted to put a marker down for Commonwealths and Europeans. The competition is going to be hot to get in the team.

“We are really pleased we came away with a silver medal.”

Shortly after the women’s triumph, the men’s 4x100m finished third with 38.19. Earlier in the evening, Richard Kilty (Reider), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider), James Ellington (Reider) and Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) clocked 37.93 in heat one – fourth fastest ever in British history.

“It was a solid performance,” said Ellington.

“To be honest we are a bit disappointed because we know we could have challenged for the gold. The aim was to break the British record in the final as we ran 37.93 in the heat."

World Indoor champion Richard Kilty added: “We ran a really quick time in the heats. There is a lot more to come from this team and it’s only early season. To come here get the baton round and win a medal blows away all the demons.”

Elsewhere the men’s 4x400m finished fourth, with Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) running the third leg with only one shoe.

“My left shoe came off. The guy stepped on my spike and it came flying off,” revealed Levine. 

“I was like okay keep on moving. It’s a team thing, I’m not going to stop, I will run with my socks on but hey I ran my socks off.”

There was disappointment for the women’s 4x400m with a seventh place finish.

“It’s very early season and we are all at different stages,” said Christine Ohuruogu.

“That was my first opener and it wasn’t a very good run. People are scared of us but we have to come together at the right time. There is nothing to worry about. It was a hard race and we’ve had a good few days of work together.

“We are disappointed and we knew it was going to be tough from yesterday.”