Relay blunder costs plucky Britain victory chance at European Team Championships


Great Britain blew their chance of winning the European Athletics Team Championship with a last-gasp relay horror show.

Christian Malcolm’s unsung side still finished third – the nation’s best performance for eight years.

And he was rightly proud of the two-day effort given that Britain’s biggest names chose to stay at home.

But it could have been a first title since 2008 had the men’s 4 x 400m relay team not fluffed their baton changeover on the final lap of the final race.

A misunderstanding between Michael Ohioze and anchor leg runner Rabah Yousif ended British hopes and allowed Poland to retain the overall title with a third placed finish in the race.

It was a sad end to a valiant challenge which saw Britain (174 points) win seven events to finish behind hosts Poland (181.5) and runners-up Italy (179).



British captain Jake Wightman led by example by winning the 800m
British captain Jake Wightman led by example by winning the 800m

Captain Jake Wightman led the way on the second day of competition with victory in the 800 metres.

Beth Dobbin made it back-to-back wins by adding the individual 200m to her shared win on Saturday in the women’s 4 x 100m relay.

And former NFL player Lawrence Okoye marked his return to a GB vest after nine years away with first place in the discus.



Beth Dobbin capped a fine championships by adding the 200m to victory in the sprint relay
Beth Dobbin capped a fine championships by adding the 200m to victory in the sprint relay

Team boss Malcolm said: “I am very proud of this team and how they have performed. They fought for every point and several athletes really stepped up for the occasion and delivered impressive results.”

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Britain led overnight after wins for Revee Walcott-Nolan (women’s 3000m steeplechase), Lina Nielsen (400m hurdles), Ellie Baker (800m) and the women’s sprint relay quartet of Dobbin, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Bianca Williams and Desiree Henry.

Wightman added maximum points in the 800m, kicking off the final bend to win in 1:45.71, before Dobbin cut through the rain to win the 200 in 22.78secs.



Lawrence Okoye won the discus on his return to a GB vest after nine years away
Lawrence Okoye won the discus on his return to a GB vest after nine years away

Okoye’s winning mark of 64.22m was just short of the Olympic qualifying standard but he was happy to be top dog again.

“There were some top throwers there, world medallists and guys ranked in the top five in the world,” he said. “So it bodes well for me going forward. It’s the kind of thing I need to prepare for the Olympics.”

Final standings: Poland 181.5, Italy 179, GB & NI 174, Germany 171, Spain 167, France 140, Portugal 97.5.





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