• European Athletics Championships

GB women's relay team to miss London 2012

ESPN staff
June 30, 2012
Hayley Jones (R) was adjudged to have stepped out of her lane © Getty Images

Great Britain will not have a team in the women's sprint relay at London 2012 after they were disqualified from the 4x100m heats at the European Championships in Helsinki.

The quartet of Anyika Onuora, Montell Douglas, Hayley Jones and Ashlee Nelson had initially qualified for the final in second, but were subsequently disqualified after footage showed that Jones had stepped out of her lane.

The result sees the British quartet drop two places in the world rankings to 17th, and they will subsequently not qualify for their home Olympics, but UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee refused to blame the incident in Helsinki as the sole reason for the team's failure to secure an Olympic spot.

"This was an accident waiting to happen, we have been underperforming in this area for probably ten years," Van Commenee said. "I'm not really surprised; it's the reason why I stopped funding the programme two years ago because I didn't think they could be dangerous in London.

"We are not finalists, we are ranked somewhere between 15th and 20th in the world and unfortunately we're 17th. I don't want to play down the fact it's a home Games and you obviously want a team there, it's not good at all. I am fully aware that not going to the Games was not a result of failing here, it is a result of ten or 20 years of not producing.

"They were emotional, all four. I must say that not only these four, every athlete here who has a last hope to get the Olympic qualifier in and fails to do so is very depressed."

Danny Talbot secured his first major championships medal as he claimed bronze in the men's 200m as Churandy Martina blew away his rivals to romp to gold.

"It feels amazing, I didn't even get a medal at the UK champs, so to come here and get a medal it's fantastic," Talbot said. "It's the first time I've ever run in a senior championships, so I was just hoping to make the final, maybe even the top five so to get a medal, I'm elated."

Lawrence Okoye failed to replicate his early season form as he bowed out of the discus final after three attempts with a best throw of 60.09 metres, while William Sharman and Gianni Frankis booked their places in the semi-finals of the men's 110m hurdles but Richard Alleyne missed out.

The British men won their 4x400m semi-final to progress to Sunday's final, while the women will also run in four-lap relay after they finished second in their semi-final behind France.

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