European Athletics Championships 2014: Adam Gemili leads GB to 100m relay gold

The win saw Team GB reach a record gold medal haul

Britain has grown accustomed to the relays ending in disaster with batons sprayed and tempers frayed but the time and money spent on improving the handover discipline paid off with three golds and a bronze at the European Championships in Zurich.

Both sprint relay teams won with European leading times while the men’s 4x400m line-up was also victorious. Only the women quarter-milers came up short, denied silver by a mere seven hundredths of a second in the narrowest of finishes.

The golds for the 4x100m teams were particularly pleasing. Coach Rana Reider has opted for a no-nonsense policy with selection, only picking those who have turned up for the relay-specific sessions in training. It meant Britain’s 100m gold medallist James Dasaolu, as expected, was omitted, the Londoner unable to commit to relay training as he nursed his way back from a hamstring injury to compete at the Europeans.

They did not need him as the quartet of James Ellington, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Richard Kilty and Adam Gemili won gold just two tenths of a second outside the 15-year-old British record. It was the first time at a major championships since the Worlds in Berlin in 2009 that the British men’s team had not fluffed their lines and lanes.

Read more: European Athletics Championships 2014: Mo Farah completes double gold with 5,000m victory to lead GB to the top

Germany’s Lucas Jakubczyk went into the final leg neck and neck with Gemili but the Briton powered well clear for the win. “It’s fantastic to be part of this and hopefully we can use this relay victory as a platform to compete with the Americans and the Jamaicans,” Gemili said.

The women’s quartet of Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson, Jodie Williams and Desiree Henry were also triumphant, as others lost their heads: Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji dropped the baton out of the blocks and Madiea Ghafoor failed to make the handover to Dafne Schippers, the Dutchwoman bidding for her third medal of the championships.

It was also a British record, highlighting the current strength of British sprinting. Williams said: “Everyone has been talking about how British sprinting has come on in the last year and I think we’ve proved that in the relays with the medals we’ve got.”

Martyn Rooney had bemoaned the fact that he had never won anything before but he now has three gold medals in the space of two days after adding 4x400m gold to his European title in the individual event. He produced a superb final leg to ensure victory for team-mates Conrad Williams, Matt Hudson-Smith and Michael Bingham. The event favourites were run closer than they might have liked by Russia, Rooney needing to overhaul Vladimir Krasnov in the home straight.

It capped a remarkable run for Hudson-Smith, last season a 200m specialist, who was switched to the longer distance by coach Tony Hadley.

“I can’t believe what’s happened,” said Hudson-Smith, who anchored the England team to gold at the Commonwealth Games. “It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m enjoying it and it’s fun.”

Williams likened the double gold to London buses: “You wait for ages for one and then two come along at once.”

World champion Christine Ohuruogu was absent from the 4x400m relay and Margaret Adeoye could not edge Floria Guei, of France, on the line nor silver medallists Ukraine, anchored home by Olha Zemlyak.

It was a second medal for Eilidh Child, who showed little ill effect from winning 400m hurdle gold on Saturday night. She led the event after the first leg and said: “We set our sights high and ideally we wanted the gold medal.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral