Dropped baton in men's 4x400m costs Britain dearly.
Team GB finish fourth despite wins for Andy Turner and Charlene Thomas.
Sunday 19 June 2011
Andy Turner and Charlene Thomas were the notable winners as Great Britain narrowly missed out on third place at the European Team Championships in Stockholm.
Team GB lay third after Saturday's first day of competition but their hopes of overhauling Ukraine to regain that place ended during the men's 4x400m relay, when the baton was dropped.
The Nottingham athlete Turner has been in excellent form in the 110 metres hurdles, setting five of the best six times in Europe, and he was a comfortable winner. After a sluggish start he won in 13.64 seconds in wet and windy conditions.
Thomas's win in the 1500 metres proved to be more complicated after she found herself boxed in nearing the bell. The Wakefield runner dropped back before launching a strong attack in the home straight to pick off her rivals and claim victory in 4 min 6.85 sec.
A delighted Thomas said: "I knew I could win the race, I'm so confident at the moment and my finish is so strong after the work I have put in. I have run 4:06 today and I have been boxed in and been clipped and things. I really believe I can run fast."
Turner was just pleased to have put a smile on the face of the team coach, Charles van Commenee, who has been involved in an unedifying spat with the triple jumper Phillips Idowu over the latter's withdrawal from this competition. Turner said: "I came into the race confident, I felt good, the conditions were tough but I'm just happy to win the race and keep Charles van Commenee happy."
Van Commenee's humour was not improved by the foul-up in the men's 4 x 400m team, though. The women's team of Kelly Massey, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell and Perri Shakes-Drayton had produced a fine display to finish second in their relay and the men's quartet appeared to be on for a good finish, too, until Michael Bingham's attempt to hand over to Richard Buck for the final lap ended with the baton on the floor. Bingham then threw the baton to Buck, leading to disqualification.
Van Commenee said: "A total anticlimax. Richard Buck went too soon but that comes with relay running. There is just no excuse."
It also proved a disappointing day for Tiffany Ofili-Porter in the women's 100m hurdles. Ofili-Porter, who has switched her allegiance from the United States, was some way below her best as she finished third behind Belarus's Alina Talay in her heat, dropping to fourth overall because the first heat proved to be quicker.
"I just wasn't sharp, I don't enjoy the rain but, if it rains on me, it rains on everyone else, so that is not an excuse. I'm going to get some good training in, put it behind me and look to the future," she said.
Abi Oyepitan was sixth overall in the women's 200m while Daniel Talbot was a creditable third in his heat and fifth overall in the men's race, where France's Christophe Lemaitre followed up his impressive win over Dwain Chambers in the 100m on Saturday with victory in 20.29sec.
Helen Clitheroe, the European Indoor champion over 3,000m, produced a lifetime best in the 5,000m as she finished third behind Spain's Delores Checa while Gareth Warburton clocked a season's best in an impressive outing in the 800m.
Andy Baddeley suffered disappointment after leaving his finishing kick too late in the 3,000m. Baddeley allowed the leading group to open up a slight gap on him down the back straight and he left himself too much to do in the final 100m, finishing fourth.