The British Athletics team matched their best ever position in the medal table at a IAAF World Championships, as two bronze medals were won on the final day of action in Beijing, China.
Both 4x400m teams claimed bronze to propel the team to fourth place in the standings, equalling their highest ever finish from Stuttgart 22 years ago.
The quartet of Christine Ohuruogu (coach: Christine Bowmaker), Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider), Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) and Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) kept the medals ticking over taking a well-deserved podium place fighting off a strong finishing Russian team, and crossing the line in a season’s best of 3:23.62.
Child said: “We knew we were capable of getting a medal, but we had changed things about a bit so we’re just over the moon we could all bring something home. We all wanted it for each other as well.”
Onuora, who produced two personal bests in the individual 400m added: “I honestly never saw myself in a 4x400m, especially in a World Championships, but this is my fifth and my first ever medal. To do it in the 4x400m, I’m so blessed to run with these girls and to go out there and have an amazing championships. I know I’ll be able to build on this in the future and bring on 2016.”
If the women’s race was close, the men’s was even closer as Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams), Delano Williams (Neil Harrison), Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt) and Martyn Rooney (Reider) snatched bronze from the grasp of the Jamaican team by four-thousandths of a second with another season’s best time of 2:58.51. Rooney’s last gasp dip typified his commitment as team captain, bringing home the team’s seventh medal of the championships.
Rooney, who became a father for the first time this week said: “It would have been horrific to have crossed the line (in fourth) and not got it. I couldn’t come here without going home without a medal the amount of fourth places we’ve had over the years. This is a new squad – this is the first time I’ve run with Jarryd and Delano so maybe it’s a new era and hopefully we can win more medals.
“I’m very proud of the whole team and how they’ve performed. No one has come here just to be here, everyone’s come to perform at the Bird’s Nest and do the best they can do. It’s an incredible performance for British Athletics and hopefully we can build into it for Rio.”
A jubilant Yousif ended his campaign as a world individual finalist and relay medallist added: “It was going to be heart-breaking for me to leave with all this effort to go home empty handed. I tried my hardest – I’m always proud to be a part of a solid team like this and I just tried to put them in a good position. I’m proud of each and every one of them and hopefully there’s a long term plan.
“We saw the flags (after the women’s 4x400m won bronze), so we thought we want something similar. It feels absolutely amazing – I’m chuffed to bits. Many people thought it was impossible to do, but we believed all the way through. We gave it 100% and it happened.”
Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) marked his first major global final with a ninth place finish in the 1500m, crossing the line in 3:36.21.
He said: “To be in this company it gives me confidence, there were four Kenyans in there – they were tough – very tough. I was the only European in the race which is promising so I’ve come on a lot this year and definitely belong here.”
In the 5000m, which was won in a championship record by Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana in 14:26.83, Steph Twell (Mick Woods) finished in 12th place in 15:26.24.
“It’s been brilliant being back on the team – this has always been my motivation. Every training session, you think about it, being on this stage and the crowd out there, putting on the GB Kit – you want to be the best in the country and be mixing it with the best, and to do so you have to race regularly and now I’m here,” Twell said after her race.
Assessing the team’s performance in the Bird’s Nest, Performance Director Neil Black said: “The relay teams gave absolutely everything in both of those races and left everything they could out there.
“I am so pleased for Martyn – he has been a brilliant captain, and you just knew he was going to throw himself over the line for that medal.
“This is absolutely where we should be but we know we can get even better. There is so much to look forward to with talented athletes in that zone and more than able to step up for Rio and then the London 2017 World Championships.
“Four national records and a huge amount of top eight finishes tells us we are headed in the right direction, but we still want more.”
British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China
Gold (4) –
Mo Farah (5000m & 10,000m)
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)
Greg Rutherford (Long jump)
Silver (1) –
Shara Proctor (Long Jump)
Bronze (2) –
Christine Ohuruogu, Anyika Onuora, Eilidh Child, Seren Bundy-Davies (Women’s 4x400m)
Rabah Yousif, Delano Williams, Jarryd Dunn, Martyn Rooney (Men’s 4x400m)