Great Britain & Northern Ireland won men’s 4x100m bronze and finished fifth and sixth in the men’s and women’s 4x400m respectively on the second and final night of the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.
The British men’s 4x100m quartet of CJ Ujah (club: Enfield & Haringey; coach: Jonas Dodoo), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton & District; Benke Blomkvist), Adam Gemili (Blackheath & Bromley; Rana Reider) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Newham & Essex Beagles; Lance Brauman) claimed bronze in the final race of the event on another cool night in the Nissan Stadium.
The men’s 4x400m team of Rabah Yousif (Newham & Essex Beagles; Carol Williams), Dwayne Cowan (Hercules Wimbledon; Lloyd Cowan), Martyn Rooney (Croydon) and Cameron Chalmers (Guernsey; James Hillier) won what turned into a personal battle with South Africa and Australia to finish fifth 80 minutes earlier.
The women’s 4x400m quartet of Emily Diamond (Bristol & West; Blomkvist), Laviai Nielsen (Enfield & Haringey; Christine Bowmaker), Zoey Clark (Thames Valley; Eddie McKenna) and Amy Allcock (Aldershot Farnham & District; Glyn Hawkes) began the British action and placed sixth in an extremely tight final.
After a flying start from Ujah, the British men’s 4x100m team were in contention throughout with Aikines-Aryeetey taking leg two, Gemili the bend and Mitchell-Blake the anchor – the exact same order as the heats. They clocked 38.15 with Brazil taking gold in 38.05 and the USA silver in 38.07.
Ujah said: “I am proud of these guys. We came out here and put in two good performances. We can’t complain and now we move on from it. There was no pressure, this is the first time this year that we have all got together properly. It is the start of a long season.”
Aikines-Aryeetey: “We were excited to come here, we were excited to come together as a team and we have gone out, represented our country, which is so important to us and we have come away with third. It is a process. We are doing things here to make things right for our future. World Championships, Olympics – that’s the main aim for us.”
Earlier in the session the men’s 4x400m quartet – the same four as from the heats – battled nations with significantly more races under their belts this season and combined to break into the top five. Yousif led off again passing to Cowan while in a change from the heats Chalmers took over from Rooney on anchor and put in a strong run to win his own battle with South Africa and Australia to ensure the British team finished fifth in 3:04.96. Trinidad & Tobago took gold ahead of Jamaica and Belgium.
Chalmers said: “It was a change to the team from the heats but we did the job yesterday of getting to the final and we took the opportunity to try someone else on last leg. It was me [on last leg] and it was a big opportunity to see what I could do and actually get to experience what that’s like at the top level. I feel as though I took advantage of it and I really enjoyed it. We’re not trying to peak until September, we’re still deep in training, it’s the first run out and it was a good opportunity to try some things.”
The women’s 4x400m quartet opened the session for GB&NI and was unchanged in personnel from the heats but altered in order with Diamond leading the team off before handing over to Nielsen on leg two. Throughout the entire race a blanket could cover the first six nations with Nielsen keeping the British team in the mix before handing over to Clark.
Clark kept her rivals close and Allcock did the same on anchor with little separating them from the medal positions – Poland taking gold ahead of the USA and Italy. The British team clocked 3:28.96 for sixth and Allcock said: “Everyone is beatable at the end of the day. We came here to be competitive and, although sixth is what we came out with today, we know that we can push higher and aim for more. Everyone is beatable, that’s why we’re here, that’s what we’re doing, we train to beat everyone, that’s the aim.”
The fifth and sixth-place finishes by the British teams in the men’s and women’s 4x400m finals officially confirms the nation’s place in those events at the IAAF World Championships in Doha later in the year. The British 4x100m men qualified for Doha courtesy of reaching the final on day one while a place in the mixed 4x400m was guaranteed with a 12th overall yesterday.