Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita broke the national record for Olympic bronze four years after Britain failed to qualify a team for London
In one Olympic cycle Great Britain has gone from failing to qualify a women’s sprint relay team for London 2012 to breaking the British record for a brilliant bronze and the quartet of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita are delighted that their hard work is paying off.
Combining to clock 41.77 behind USA and Jamaica in Rio’s Estádio Olímpico on Friday night, the GB team claimed Britain’s first medal in this event since 1984 and Philip explained how the team always had the belief that a podium place was possible.
“I’m the oldest one and saw us not make London 2012, so it has been a long journey for us and we have come a long way as a team,” said the 25-year-old, who missed out on the chance to try and make the London Olympics through injury.
“At times we did feel like everyone did give up on us but as individuals we know how talented British women’s sprinting has come along and each year we have got better and better.
“We obviously won a medal at World Champs, we got a medal at Europeans and we are becoming consistent. The fact that we had belief in ourselves and the closest people around us have belief in us, that’s all we need.”
Four years ago Asher-Smith was a kit carrier at the London Games, while Henry was among the talented young athletes to light the Olympic cauldron. Since then Asher-Smith has broken the British records for both the 100m and 200m and finished fifth in the 200m final in Rio, while Henry twice came close to her PB to make the 100m semi-finals.
“We have worked so unbelievably hard. We have had relay practice since January,” said Asher-Smith. “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 it really matters, when the pressure is on, and deliver the goods – it’s absolutely incredible. I’m so unbelievably proud of all of these girls.”
Reflecting on her first Olympic experience as a competitor, 20-year-old Asher-Smith added: “The highlight undeniably is working hard with these girls and getting a medal.
“When you see other people – Desiree crying, Daryll in disbelief and Asha as we’re all running around the track with the flag just screaming and jumping up and down! This is definitely the highlight of my Olympic Games.”