5th August 2021
BRITISH RECORD AND QUALIFICATION TO FINAL FOR WOMEN'S 4X100M RELAY
The relays took centre stage at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium as Dina Asher-Smith, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Daryll Neita and Asha Philip set a new British record to make their sprint relay final as the fastest qualifiers, while the men’s quartet also reached the final.
Elsewhere, Andrew Pozzi crossed the line in seventh in the men’s 110m hurdles final while Morgan Lake advanced to her second high jump Olympic final.
Philip (Steve Fudge, Newham and Essex Beagles), Lansiquot (Steve Fudge, Sutton and District), Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie, club: Blackheath and Bromley) and Neita (Rana Reider, Cambridge) pipped the USA and Jamaica in a high-quality heat, erasing their bronze-medal-winning time from Rio from the record books, clocking 41.55 seconds.
The quartet will be back to compete in the women’s 4x100m relay final at 14.30 BST on Friday, and Asher-Smith said that time is her ally ahead of the final.
“After the 100m, there was no way I wasn’t going to be here with these girls,” said Asher-Smith.
“I had one day off and then I was back on the training, I just need a few more weeks, a few more sessions training.
“It’s been a crazy five weeks. It would be amazing to end it with a medal but that’s not where my head is at, it’s about staying focused.
“We’re the bronze medallists from Rio and for all our lives and dreams it would be amazing to get another medal, but we need to execute and do what needs to be done.”
Lansiquot said: “We’re really proud of ourselves – there is so much belief in our team and we knew we were capable of it, but we just wanted to get out there and focus and execute. We had a 4am start, so we’re all a bit wide-eyed this morning.”
Philip added: “I know a medal is on the cards, I don’t want to jinx anything.
“It was a good race around and a very nice warm-up for us. We’re not getting too excited but we’re bringing great energy into the final.”
There was another encouraging display in the men’s 4x100m relay, as Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah (Ryan Freckleton, Enfield and Haringey), Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet), Richard Kilty (Gateshead), and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Lance Brauman, Newham and Essex Beagles) finished second in their heat, with a season’s best time of 38.02s.
They finished behind Jamaica while the USA will not line up in tomorrow’s final at 2.50pm BST after missing out on qualification.
“It was very safe,” said Kilty. “We need to go at least half a second quicker to get the gold and I think we can.
“We’ve got to push the changeovers out and the outgoing runner has to go off harder.”
Ujah said: “No medals are won in the heats; we’ve got a big Q as one of the qualifiers and we’ll get a good lane in the final.
“I’m sure we’ll step up our game again and stretch the checks a bit and head for gold.”
Hughes said: “For me, I’m just going out there to stay focused. We’re in the finals and I’ll be rolling in the finals.”
In a stunning men’s 110m hurdles final, Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez, Stratford-upon, Avon) finished seventh with a time of 13.30 (wind: -0.5m/s) as Hansle Parchment (JAM) pulled off a massive upset.
He beat the favourite, Grant Holloway (USA), who stumbled after the last hurdle to give the Jamaican the opportunity to snatch gold from his fingertips, whilst his compatriot Ronald Levy took the bronze.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t quite have the race that I wanted,” said Pozzi. “I just didn’t quite have enough today and it’s difficult to say but that’s just the situation.
“I gave it my best. I’ve worked hard to be here and try be in my best shape, but that’s all I had today. There’s no excuses unfortunately. I just didn’t have enough and that’s just the way it is.”
In the field, Morgan Lake (Fuzz Caan, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) got her second appearance at an Olympic Games underway as she got out of Group B to qualify for the women’s high jump final.
The 24-year-old from Milton Keynes soared over 1.82m at the first time of asking, before repeating the feat at 1.86, and she continued her perfect start to proceedings to reach the 1.90m mark.
Lake made her first mistake of the morning at 1.93m but she cleared that height at her second attempt to match her best jump from Rio five years.
Her second fault came on her first attempt at 1.95m, however, she qualified for Saturday’s final with a successful second leap to secure automatic qualification.
“The main aim of this competition was to qualify and I’m just so happy,” she said. “I stuck to my game plan, didn’t get scared when I missed the jump, I just knew I could get it the next time just with small adjustments. I couldn’t think too far ahead because to get to where I want to get, I need to make the final first.
“So, the next aim is again to focus on every single height, try to get first time clearances and see what happens.”
In group A, Emily Borthwick (Fuzz Caan, Wigan Harriers) also cleared 1.82m comfortably and followed it up with another successful attempt at 1.86m, committing just one fault before passing 1.90m at the first attempt.
She matched her personal best at the third time of asking at 1.93m, much to the Wigan and District athlete’s delight.
Although she couldn’t clear 1.95m, meaning she won’t join her teammate in Saturday’s final, at 11.35am BST, she can be proud of her first Olympic Games experience.
“I equalled my PB and I can’t ask for more than that,” she said. “I was so close though.
“About four to six weeks ago I didn’t think I would be jumping as I sprained my ankle, so to come back and equal my PB in such a short space of time, and the experience of the Olympics, I am happy.
“I am really proud of myself and I’m looking forward to finishing the season hopefully on a high and try get another PB.”