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Olympics 2008 - Day 7 Evening Session Report

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Philips Idowu - Olympics 2008

21 August 2008

 

Phillips Idowu was the athletics star of the show for Team GB on day 13 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, winning silver in the men’s triple jump with a season’s best effort of 17.62m.

The world and Commonwealth champion was unable to make it a hat-trick of gold medals following a high quality final that was won by 2007 world champion Nelson Evora who posted 17.67 on the very next jump.

“It’s not what I wanted, but I’ll take it,” he said. “It was a really tough competition, I had to work. I was really close but in the end it wasn’t quite enough.

“It hurts. I’m upset, I came here to achieve a lot more and I just fell short. I’ve come a long way, though. Last year I wasn’t even in the mix for medals. It’s been a long road.

“I’m a winner. I don’t want to be content with silver. I will go on. I’ve been in such great form this year I believed I could do it.

“I went down fighting, I couldn’t do more than that.”

Idowu’s British team-mate Larry Achike finished in seventh place, jumping 17.17m

“On the day maybe the better guy did win,” he said. “Phil’s got the ability to jump a lot further, he just didn’t bring it on the day."

Other standout performers for the British team included Lisa Dobriskey, who qualified third fastest for the women’s 1500m final, and the 4x100m women’s relay team who cruised into the medal race.

Dobriskey set a personal best in the women’s 1500m to progress to Saturday’s final (August 23). She never looked troubled and finished strongly to take almost a full three seconds off her previous mark and clinch third spot in her heat in a time of 4:03.22.

“I am really pleased," said Dobriskey. "I saw the first and second semi-finals and they were quite quick so I had to stay relaxed and calm.

“I am glad to have made it through to the final. I was feeling confident and everyone was just telling me to enjoy the occasion.

“I’ve dreamed of standing on that start line for the past 10 years.”

Susan Scott and Steph Twell, however, did not make the cut. An attacking final lap from Scott, who found herself at the back of the pack at the bell, was not enough to push her into the medal race. She finished fourth in a time of 4:14.66.

“When it went fast on the last lap I felt very good,” said Scott. “I had a bit left but I’d left myself too much to do in the home straight.

“Every time I tried to get up they were moving out and I found myself out in the second lane quite a lot.”

Twell, who celebrated her 19th birthday last Sunday, is the world junior champion over this distance and gave a decent account of herself in finishing sixth in her heat in 4:06.68. With only the top three from each heat, and the next three fastest, going through to the medal race she missed crowning her first Olympic Games with an appearance in the final by little more than a second.

“Just to be here is a testament to how (coach) Mick (Woods) and I have worked this whole season,” said Twell. “I have just got to learn from it and take what I can from it. Being here now is really where I want to be.”

There was a personal best and British record, too, for Goldie Sayers in the javelin, although it was not enough to push her up among the medals.

Sayers confirmed her status among the world’s leading throwers with a first effort of 65.75m, which left her fourth after the first round – a position she was unable to improve on.

She appeared to lose concentration after her second throw was interrupted by the playing of ‘happy birthday’ to Wednesday’s 200m gold medallist Usain Bolt over the stadium tannoy and she struggled to regain her rhythm.  

Sayers pulled out a 65.03m on her fifth attempt, but it was not enough to overhaul Germany’s Christina Obergfoll, who threw 66.13m to take the bronze medal.

“My hope was to throw a PB in the Olympic final and when I reflect on this I'm sure I'll be proud of what I've achieved,” said Sayers.

“You could tell it was going to be a big competition, I think that was one of the best Olympic finals ever.

“I believe I can throw a lot further so I'm a little frustrated, but if that doesn't make me try my hardest in training over the winter I don't know what will."

Having suffered with food poisoning during Team GB’s preparation camp in Macau, it was always going to be a big ask for Michael Rimmer to reach the final of a tough men’s 800m qualifying competition. The 22-year-old missed the cut after coming home sixth in his heat in a time of 1:48.07.

“I just feel like I've got nothing in my legs, I couldn't go any quicker,” he said. “It must be the food poisoning I've had. I thought I felt a little better, but every time I run hard it just breaks me.

“It was just like running in sand. I'm a fast guy but I felt terrible all the way round and the timing of the illness couldn't have been worse. I'm gutted."

Jeanette Kwakye, Montell Douglas, Emily Freeman and Emma Ania got Team GB’s 4x100m relay hopes off to a bright start, with safe changeovers enabling them to run 43.02 seconds and finish second in their heat and fourth quickest overall for Saturday’s final.  

Like their male counterparts earlier in the evening, favourites for the event the USA did not qualify after failing to get the baton round.

“This is our time, it’s the best British team since the 1980s and we have a great chance, especially with the Americans out,” said Kwakye.

Freeman added: “We practised all year for this, so we knew exactly what we had to do. We will have to stretch it in the final and take the risk.”

But there was disappointment in the men’s 4x100m, where the British quartet of Simeon Williamson, Tyrone Edgar, Marlon Devonish and Craig Pickering were disqualified after a mix-up between Devonish and Pickering on the final changeover led them to overrun the exchange zone.

"I know I need to be in full control of the baton, but looking at the replay I guess we weren't,” said Pickering. "I take full responsibility for the error, it was my fault, not Marlon's. I'm just so sorry.

“I feel like I let myself down, I let my country down.”

Devonish, though, was quick to defend his team-mate, saying: "Craig shouldn't take the blame, it's a team event.

“It was not ideal conditions. I’m not entirely sure what happened. I didn’t go quick enough, or Craig went too early. I am truly gutted.”

The men’s 400m final proved a valuable learning experience for 21-year-old Martyn Rooney who began with the USA’s reigning Olympic gold medallist Jeremy Warriner inside him in lane seven and after a powerful back straight faded to finish sixth in a time of 45.12.

Warriner finished second as the USA scooped a 1-2-3, with LaShawn Merritt taking gold and David Neville bronze.

“I’m a bit disappointed,” said Rooney. “I came here thinking there was always a medal shout – third place, or second on a really good day.

“I went quite hard down the back straight and paid for it. There just wasn’t enough on the day.

“It’s an Olympic final. Everyone has good days and bad days, Merritt had a good day and won with a PB. That’s what happens.

“I ran a PB in the semis. I’ve come here, beaten a lot of good guys and made an Olympic final in my first Games. There’s a lot of positives to take out.”

In the evening session of the men’s decathlon, Daniel Awde finished the night on high by winning his heat of the 400m in a time of 47.16 seconds.

The 20-year-old, attending his first Olympic Games, had earlier finished 19th in the high jump discipline with a leap of 1.78m to earn 610 points.

Added to the 950 he earned for his 400m success it meant that Awde finished the day in 26th place overall, with the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m legs still to come.  

 

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