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Rio Olympics - Adam Gemili misses out in 4x100m but Dina Asher-Smith claims bronze medal for GB

Dina Asher-Smith claimed Britain’s first Olympic medal in the women’s 4x100m relay for 32 years after storming to bronze in the early hours of Saturday morning.

In perfect conditions at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB’s sprinters got off to a fast start through Asha Philip and displayed slick baton changes throughout the changeovers to Desiree Henry then Orpington ace Asher-Smith herself.

Dina Asher-Smith
Dina Asher-Smith

It was left to Daryl Neita on the anchor leg to power them across the line in a new British record of 41.77 seconds to secure a podium spot alongside winners USA and silver medallists Jamaica.

The bronze was Britain's fifth athletics medal in Rio and the first for the nation in the women’s 4x100m relay at the Olympic Games since Los Angeles 1984.

Blackheath & Bromley AC star Asher-Smith, 20, said: “We have worked so unbelievably hard as a team. We have had relay practices since January to get it right.

“This means an awful lot because not only have we worked hard to get faster as individuals, we have bonded and worked hard as a team.

 “To be able to come out here when the pressure is on and it really matters and deliver the goods is absolutely incredible. I am so proud of these girls.” 

After being handed the tough inside lane after qualifying as a fastest loser on Thursday night, GB's men had to settle for fifth in 37.98 seconds.

Gemili - who was denied a 200m bronze by a mere 0.003secs some 24 hours earlier - said: “We are disappointed. We gave it our all out there and we were beaten by teams that were better than us on the day.

"We believe that on our day we can be challenging for those medals. It just wasn’t to be."

The 22-year-old former Dartford schoolboy said: "We’ve really come together as such a strong unit this year and it’s a shame we couldn’t get that medal to show everyone how hard we’ve worked as a team.

“Lanes are lanes. It’s 400m whatever lane it is. I know it’s difficult in lane one but we saw the American girls go out there and nearly break the world record before us, so we weren’t even thinking about lanes. We just wanted to go out there and compete."

Gemili was installed as GB athletics captain for the Games and revealed the previous night: "I got back at 1.30am after doping and they were all up waiting for me. We’ve really bonded as a squad.

"We sat down and we talked. We were so confident in our ability and we really believed we could go out and get a medal.

“Win or lose, we’ve really bonded as a team this year and every single one of these guys is like family to me. I’m just glad I could share my Olympic experience with them."

There was also dismay for Maidstone-born Jack Green who was omitted from the 4x400m relay team which won their heat in a blistering time of 2:58.88, only to later be disqualified from Saturday's final, in which Green was expected to feature.

Away from the track Gravesend's Kate French was delighted with a top-six finish in the modern pentathlon.

The 25-year-old earned 1331 points across Thursday's fencing and Friday's competition and revealed: “I’m really, really happy. I couldn’t have asked for any more after my fencing yesterday which wasn’t great. I kept moving up today so I can’t ask for any more.

“I always enjoy the riding but it’s quite hit and miss whether you get on with your horse or not. Luckily today I rode really well. My horse was really good to me so I had a really nice clear.

“It was about half a second off my personal best in the swim as well so I was really happy with that and it was a good start to the day.

“A medal was on my mind at the end. I did my best but I’m still really happy with sixth. My shoots could have gone a little better but with this atmosphere it was quite hard to keep concentration. But the buzz was incredible and definitely helped with the running."

She added: “I’ve loved competing here. I couldn’t wait to get started. We were in the village for three days, just hanging around and waiting to start. But I’d love to start it all over again.”

Orpington's Joe Choong goes into the second day of competition in the men's event on Saturday inside the top-10 after the fencing.

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