GB men out after ‘horrendous’ baton drop but women set relay standard

Britain’s 4x100m relay performances went from the calamitous to the divine at these European Championships on Tuesday, with the men finishing a shock last in their heat and the women posting the fastest time in Europe this year.

All eyes were on the men’s team given it was the first time that CJ Ujah and Richard Kilty had run together since Ujah’s positive drugs test cost the team an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo. Afterwards Kilty had promised to never to forgive his “sloppy and reckless” teammate for robbing him of a medal, or for buying what turned out to be a contaminated amino acid supplement for £10 off Amazon rather than one on the Informed Sport list.

However the pair were reunited in a British team that had won gold at every European Championships since 2014. But the team were already behind after a slow start from Ujah before a terrible final changeover between Kilty and Rommell Glave saw the team come home eighth in 39.60sec – over two seconds off their national record.

“It was horrendous, I don’t know what happened,” admitted Kilty afterwards. “We should never have been running that slow. We are going to need to take a look back at it on the video, but that team on paper is a very very fast team, but something clearly went wrong. It is very disappointing as we wanted to come here and win. We are capable of winning.

“It is a new team and we are trying things out for the Olympics. But we are just really disappointed with that, it is all just very much a blur.”

However there was better news from Britain’s women, who won their heat in a European lead of 42.25, helped by individual gold medallist Dina Asher-Smith on the third leg and a storming finish from Desiree Henry, who is healthy again after a series of injuries. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the time, it was really good,” said Asher-Smith.

Dina Asher-Smith receives the baton from Amy Hunt for the anchor leg. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Earlier the reigning European 800m champion Keely Hodgkinson led from tape to gun to qualify fastest for Wednesday’s 800m final in 1:58.07, despite admitting the early 11am start was a little early for her liking.

“This is way too early for me and less than 24 hours since the last race,” she admitted. “I felt good – I think today I wanted to be a bit more where I was comfortable on the pace. A couple of the girls were saying thank you afterwards because they got PBs!”

However there was no joy for Britain’s other two representatives with Erin Wallace and Alex Bell failing to qualify.

The Guardian

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