GREAT BRITAIN’S athletes swept to treble medal success in Barcelona last night to secure their best-ever return at a European Championships.
Martyn Rooney led home the men’s 4x400m relay team to silver in the final event of the championships, taking the medal tally to 19 over the five days, one more than achieved in Split 20 years ago.
It capped another successful night for British athletes after the women’s 4x400m team and long jumper Chris Tomlinson had both claimed bronze medals.
Head coach Charles van Commenee admitted he would have been “embarrassed” had Britain not reached their target of 10-15 medals during these games, but still insists there is plenty of room for further improvement.
“Overall it’s very encouraging for the next few years. Quite a few athletes stepped up a level,” he said. “But there is a lot of work to be done.
“We have too many athletes at home with injuries. That needs to be addressed. We don’t have enough athletes across the events, especially the field events, especially the women.”
The British men were among the favourites for the 4x400m, but the quartet of Conrad Williams, Michael Bingham, Robert Tobin and Rooney just trailed the Russians on the line.
Rooney, the 400m individual bronze medallist, ran the final leg, and said: “I was hoping to take advantage of the quick track. I was hoping to get those pesky Russians but couldn’t but it was a big team effort.”
Gold was probably always beyond the women’s quartet of Nicola Sanders, Marilyn Okoro, Lee McConnell and Perri Shakes-Drayton, but they battled to claim third place behind Russia and Germany in a brave run.
Tomlinson’s medal was also a pleasant surprise with a season’s best jump of 8.23m just one centimetre off silver with Germany’s Christian Reif (8.47m) taking gold.