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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

23 August 2008

Near misses for Loughborough’s athletes on final night

It was a night of near misses for Loughborough’s Team GB contingent as Martyn Rooney and Lisa Dobriskey took fourth in their respective finals while Nicola Sanders finished fifth as part of the women’s 4x400m relay.

Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Dobriskey may not have been expected to win a medal before the start of Beijing 2008, but the manner in which she qualified for the final suggested the Loughborough graduate was in the best form of her life and getting stronger with each and every race.

As the final pace dawdled initially, Dobriskey sat in the pack for the first three laps, but a blistering final 300m saw the group split and for a moment it looked as though Dobriskey was one of the detached athletes but she quickly responded, giving chase with 200m to go.

Having her stride chopped around the final bend meant she was down a gear when the sprint for the line occurred, and she finished fourth in a time of 4.02.10.

“I was desperate to get that medal I really wanted it,” she said. “I feel like I missed an opportunity really.

“I knew the pace was going to inject quite quickly – I am quite long-striding, last year in Osaka (at the world championships) I lost my shoe because I get in everyone’s way because I’m so big and tall. So at the back I was able to run at my pace and my rhythm

“I sat there and felt really strong and really good and I knew I had it there. But I think when the break came I just missed it by a split second. It’s such a fine line – in the past I’ve gone too early and I could have ended up a lot further down the field at the finish. I just messed up tactically. I’d sooner have run 20 seconds slower and have a medal.”

Kenya’s Nancy Langat took gold in 4.00.23 ahead of Ukrainian pair Iryna Lischynska and Nataliya Tobias in 4.01.63 and 4.01.78 respectively.

The men’s 4x400m team were the exact same formation that brought Team GB through to the finals so impressively on Friday night, with Loughborough-based Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney both improving on impressive times in the heats.

But despite a top performance the British squad, which also included Andrew Steele and Rob Tobin, finished fourth and just short of the podium in 2.58.81.

“We wanted a medal today – that was the aim,” said Bingham. “But a lot of things can happen in relays. The time was fast, which is something to be happy about, but it’s bittersweet because we really, really needed to be on the podium.”

Anchor-man Rooney, who had valiantly chased down Russia but ran out of track said: “I knew I was capable of catching people, but when you’re further down you have to go through more people.

“After yesterday I thought we could get silver, but to run 2.58 and not medal is so disappointing – it’s a bad day.

“Hopefully there will be more competition for places next year, and with more people running 45s, we’ll have a team running 2.56, 2.57.”

The gold was won by the USA in an Olympic record of 2.55.39.

Graduate Nicola Sanders joined Christine Ohuruogu, Kelly Sotherton and Marilyn Okoro in the women’s 4x400m squad – but it was a race too far for the quartet who had all competed in individual events before Friday night’s heats.

By the time Sanders took the baton on her favoured last leg, the talented relay anchor was facing mission: impossible, with a 15m-plus deficit to reach bronze. Despite a strong effort there was too much ground for the world silver medallist to make up and she brought Team GB’s quartet home in fifth position in 3.22.68.

“It was always going to be a massive ask to get in the medals against three really strong teams,” she said.

“I tried my very hardest on the last leg, but I just had too many people to get round. I’d have loved to have got them but I ran out of steam.

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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