• European Team Championships, Day Two

Dropped baton ruins Britain's medal hopes

ESPN staff
June 19, 2011
Andy Turner cruised to victory © Getty Images

Andy Turner stepped up his preparations for this summer's World Championships with a convincing victory in the 110m hurdles, but a disastrous relay ended Great Britain's hopes of a medal at the European Team Championships in Stockholm.

Runaway leaders Russia stormed to overall victory with four events remaining, finishing more than 50 points clear on 385, while Germany (331.5) and Ukraine (304) took silver and bronze respectively.

Britain (289) finished fourth overall, but had the chance to finish on the podium with strong performances in the 4x400m relays.

Despite a fine anchor leg from Perri Shakes-Drayton in the women's relay, Britain narrowly missed out on first place behind Russia, but a dropped baton in the men's relay saw Britain's hopes of a medal fade away.

After a strong third leg, Michael Bingham failed to hand over to Richard Buck, and the baton hit the floor. Although Buck retrieved the baton from the track and completed the race, Britain suffered a humiliating disqualification.

"I don't blame anyone but myself. I just hope we can make up for it by bringing home a medal at the World Championships," Bingham told BBC Sport.

The performance prompted no sympathy from UK Athletics head coach Charles Van Commenee. "A total anti-climax," he said. "Richard Buck went too soon, but that comes with relay running, there is just no excuse."

However, it was not all doom and gloom for Britain, as European and Commonwealth champion Turner claimed a comfortable victory in the hurdles. Turner got off to a shaky start, but he had plenty in reserve as he clawed his way back to take victory and 12 points for Great Britain in a time of 13.44 seconds.

Charlene Thomas produced a superb tactical race to win the women's 1500m. Thomas was well off the pace at the bell, but produced a strong final lap, outsprinting Anna Mischenko and Yekaterina Martynova to cross the line in 4.06.85.

A personal best time for European 10,000m champion Helen Clitheroe was only good enough for third in the 5000m. Spain's Dolores Checa finished well clear of the field, with Clitheroe clocking 15.33.03 behind the Russian Yelena Zadorozhnaya.

There was also a third place for Gareth Warburton who dug deep to clinch third in the men's 800m, while Andy Baddeley left it too late in the 3000m. Baddeley produced a strong final lap and was closing in on his rivals, but the finish line came too soon as he missed out on the medals, finishing fourth.

French sprint sensation Christophe Lemaitre made it a sprint double, winning the 200m in 20.29secs to add to his 100m win on Saturday. Britain's Daniel Talbot could only manage fifth.

Tiffany Ofili-Porter struggled in the cold and damp conditions, finishing a disappointing fourth in the 100m hurdles behind Belarusian Alina Tala, while there was a disappointing ninth place for debutant Shara Proctor in the long jump.

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