Harry Aikines-Aryeetey says losing world bronze through disqualification is one of the most painful experiences he’s experienced in sport
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey has described Great Britain’s disqualification from the men’s 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow as ‘heartbreaking’.
A quartet of Adam Gemili, Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and Dwain Chambers initially crossed the line behind Jamaica and the USA for bronze, but a later appeal over their second changeover led to their disqualification, with the baton handover having taking place outside of the designated zone.
This meant Canada, who suffered the same fate 12 months ago at the London 2012 Olympic Games, were promoted to the bronze medal position.
“It’s heartbreaking. Going out to get your medal and then someone stands in front of you and says ‘sorry to be the bearer of bad news’. We only found out on the way to the medal presentation,” said Aikines-Aryeetey, who also ran the individual 100m in Moscow, advancing to the semi-final stage where he clocked 10.34.
“This still cuts deep,” he added, “you can’t take away how much this hurts us.
“Everyone reacted in different ways and this is painful. It’s one of the most painful experiences I’ve experienced in sport.”
Chambers added how the team will now concentrate on moving on and building back up for the next race.
“It’s emotional,” he admitted. “After crossing the line in third place and securing ourselves a medal we were looking forward to getting on the podium.
“All we can do now is get back home, build our team spirit back up again and move on to the next one.
“Just because we didn’t succeed the way we wanted to doesn’t mean we’ll stop. When you fall you get back up again so that’s what we’ll do.”
There was contrasting fortune for the GB 4x100m women, however, after having initially crossed the line for fourth the quartet of Dina Asher-Smith, Ashleigh Nelson, Annabelle Lewis and Hayley Jones were upgraded to bronze with the French team disqualified for an illegal handover. This meant USA moved up into the silver medal position, and GB the bronze.
“We’ve worked so hard for this,” commented Lewis. “I never thought I’d be so gutted with a fourth place in the world coming into it but to get a bronze is amazing.”
Despite the men’s team not getting the result they were hoping for, UKA performance director Neil Black was determined the final day disappointment would not cast a shadow over what the British squad had achieved in Moscow.
“Although we’re all gutted for the relay guys we can’t allow that disappointment to dampen what the team has achieved this week,” he told British Athletics. “It’s been a really positive championships for us and I’m extremely optimistic moving forward.
“This has been a transition year for us following London 2012 but we have still managed to come away with 17 top eight finishes which is an enormous achievement outlining the depth of young talent coming through.
“We have also matched our best ever performance at world level with three golds, so I am pleased that we have delivered those performances. We can’t forget that this is a young team and I’m really proud of how they have handled themselves.”