Belgrave's 2004 Olympians (pdf file)
Olympic Games - Athens 2004
Saturday 28 August 2004
Men's 4 x 400 metre relay - final Result
On a fabulous night for British athletics with Kelly Holmes and the sprint relay squad striking gold, the unfancied 4x400 metre team were so close to medals, going from 3rd to 5th in the last few metres. And one of the teams coming past in the last two strides was Nigeria in the form of Enefiok Udo-Obong. A Belgravian therefore claimed an Olympic medal in the very last track event of the Games.
The British team order was identical to the heats and if there was nothing much between them in the earlier round, there was even less here. Tim Benjamin opened strongly and only the American team was clearly ahead at the end of the first lap with Tim right in the mix. Another battling run from Sean Baldock resulted in the team moving up further and they were still in 2nd place on lap three thanks to Malachi Davis. The USA team was out of reach by now but it was very tight for the minor positions and somehow, coming out of the last take-over, Britain found themselves in 4th with Australia (remember they only qualified as fastest losers) enjoying a marvellous run in 2nd. Matt Elias fought to get up to 3rd and held that place until almost the very end when Nigeria and Japan squeezed past.
Unofficial British split times: Tim Benjamin 45.3, Sean Baldock 45.3, Malachi Davis 45.1, Matt Elias 45.3.
1 USA 2:55.91; 2 Australia 3:00.60; 3 Nigeria 3:00.90; 4 Japan 3:00.99; 5 Great Britain & NI 3:01.07; 6 Bahamas 3:01.88; 7 Germany 3:02.22; 8 Botswana 3:02.49.
Friday 27 August 2004
Men's 4 x 400 metre relay - heats Result
Great running came from the British quartet in the first heat and this event could turn out to be the best chance in the games for a Belgrave runner to gain a medal. A fine first lap by the strongest runner Tim Benjamin brought the team home right in contention for the lead and as the stagger on the first bend of the second lap unwound it could be seen that Sean Baldock had set off with a vengeance. Into the back straight and Sean took up station behind the leading team, Germany. The take-over zone looked like a battlefield as second stage runners stopped in their tracks and baulked outgoing third stage runners. Weaving through the traffic, Malachi Davis kept the Brits competitive in the leading bunch and a brilliant run by anchor man Matt Elias saw him come round the pack and into the lead along the home straight. Japan and Germany were the other qualifiers by right.
The British split times (unofficial) were: Benjamin 46.1, Baldock, 45.4, Davis 45.3, Elias 45.5. With such solid running there seems no need to change the personnel or running order for the final.
In the second heat the USA were dominant but Nigeria filled second place with Enee Udo-Obong running anchor leg. Fastest losers all came from heat one.
Wednesday 25 August 2004
Women's Javelin - qualifying round Result
An opening throw of 59.11m compared well with a best ever of 60.85m, set when winning the AAA and Olympic Trial this summer, but that turned out to be Goldie Sayer's best throw. With 61.00m the target, she was unable to improve and qualify for Friday's final, nevertheless placing 9th in her group and 20th of the 44 throwers taking part. Goldie had every right to be upbeat about things. The women's 400m hurdles took place while she was in the stadium and the noise when Faní Halkiá of Greece took the gold medal was deafening. "I want some more of this," said Goldie to herself, and we have no doubt that she will have more: it looks as if she could be setting out on a long and illustrious career.
Qual Group B: 1 B.Nikola (CZE) 64.39; 9 G.Sayers (GBR) 59.11 (59.11, 53.64, x) - 20th from both rounds. Last qualifying place 60.97.
Tuesday 24 August 2004
Men's 200 metre - heats Result
When we last saw Chris Lambert in action at Crystal Palace he was totally in control, winning in 20.50. We all looked forward to a reduction in his best ever time of 20.34 and progression to the semi-final stage at least. However, a hamstring injury was picked up by Chris a couple of weeks ago and when one saw him grimace when he was only halfway round the turn, one knew that he was in big trouble. Further pain was reflected in his face a few strides later and as the bend ended, Chris slowed to a stop, bitterly disappointed at not being able to perform properly.
Judging by this and other results, and in spite of the glowing words from everyone about the superb medical back-up, something seems to be seriously wrong with the British athletes' final preparations. Maybe it's just sheer bad luck.
Monday 23 August 2004
Men's 400 metre hurdles - heats Result
With the Olympic Stadium erupting with noise as a Greek jumper moved into silver medal position in the women's triple jump, Matt Douglas went to his mark. Our man has had a difficult year, struggling with minor injuries, and reportedly suffering a calf injury while at the holding camp in Cyprus. But as usual Matt committed himself to the race and after a strong first 300 metres entered the straight in 4th place - a semi-final qualifying position. He gave everything he could to hang on but was attacked first by Monteiro of Portugal and then was caught just before the line by Al-Hamaidi for a final position of 6th and a time of 49.77.
Sunday 22 August 2004
Women's 100 metre hurdles - heats Result
Sarah Claxton was hoping to become one of the very few Britons to have gone sub-13 in the sprint hurdles. With a season's best of 13.01 it was certainly a possibility. Drawn in the fourth of five heats she ran a good race into a slight headwind but had to settle for 13.14. Had she achieved her target is is still unlikely that she would have progressed to the semi-finals.
Men's Triple Jump - final Result
On a bad day for British athletics - with Paula Radcliffe unable to finish the marathon, no sprinter going beyond the 100m semi-finals, all three women failing to progress from the 400m semis - Phillips Idowu continued the trend when he was unable to produce a valid jump.
Having fouled once, his second effort was initially also judged to be a "no-jump". A calm but firm protest from Phillips, whose toe had not made a mark on the plasticene strip, changed the judge's mind but in the meantime the pit had been raked over and his landing point obliterated without being measured. The judges agreed to give him a second attempt - which he then clearly fouled. What pressure then, as Phillips prepared for his third and final attempt - and, to our dismay, it was yet another "no-jump".
Nobody will be more disappointed than Phillips and all we can do is commiserate with him and remind ourselves that sometimes a disaster in one competition can lead to the perfect result next time around.
Julien Kapek also opened with a no-jump. In the second round he cut the sand at 16.79m and added two more centimetres in round three - but that was not good enough to make the cut and he ended up placing 10th overall.
Saturday 21 August 2004
Men's 400 metres - semi-finals Result
Three races made up the semi-final stage with Tim Benjamin going in the last race and drawn in lane 7. Only the first two and two fastest losers would reach the final and, realistically, all we could hope for was a personal record. But with the first two races run, it could be seen that a very, very, low 45 second run our man might just squeeze through.
Normally Tim is strong in the final stages of a 400m and when he was not too far down around the final turn there were hopes that he might just do it. But no. Far from the stretch being one of his strengths, on this day he had nothing further to offer and faded to 8th place and a 46.28 clocking. Not at all happy with his performance, Tim didn't feel that his hamstring niggle had affected him in any way and was at a loss in trying to understand what had happened.
Men's 3000 metres Steeplechase Result
Well, you've got to hand it to Justin Chaston. He certainly ran a positive race, fighting hard to keep with the contenders in the third of the three heats. In spite of much chopping and changing in the running order, it wasn't until the very last lap that it began to seem sure that he would not be among the qualifiers. With his face showing signs of the effort, Justin came home in 8:28.35 - pretty close to his season's best.
Friday 20 August 2004
Men's Triple Jump - qualifying round Result
17.00 metres in the qualifying round was the requirement for a certain place in the triple jump final and Phillips Idowu did this in style, leaping 17.33m into a 1.2 headwind with his very first attempt. At the end of this preliminary competition the Belgrave man was 4th best from the two qualifying pools. Also into the final was Belgrave's Julien Kapek, representing France, whose 16.91m came in the third round and gave him the last available slot in the 12-man final.
Men's 400 metres - heats Result
With Daniel Caines and Malachi Davis both unable to do enough to progress to the semi-finals, British hopes centred on Belgrave's Tim Benjamin as the last of the eight heats got under way. With only the first two in each heat plus the eight fastest losers earning the right to compete the next day, Tim was going to have to run right up to form to make the grade. Drawn in lane three with his French rival Leslie Djhone just outside, Tim fought hard, holding third place in a tightly contested race. Less than three tenths of a second covered the leading positions and happily it was soon reported that Tim had qualified as a fastest loser.
Tim revealed that he had suffered a hamstring injury while training at the GB holding camp in Cyprus and had been forced to rest coming into the Games. "I have not trained for a week so tonight was a bit of a shock to the system. I can still feel it but it is not enough to stop me running. I will give it my absolute best in the semi finals."
Women's 800 metres - heats Result
There were six heats for the women's 800 metres and while many British eyes were on Kelly Holmes and Jo Fenn, Belgrave fans had the additional thrill of seeing the first ever female Belgravian taking part in Olympic competition. Tamsyn Lewis found herself in a loaded heat three along with Holmes, Jearle Miles Clark (USA) and Letitia Vriesde (SUR). Tamsyn was going have to be very close to her season's best of 2:02.93 to have any chance of progressing. The Aussie girl gave it everything - and not only ran up to her recent best but exceeded it as she clocked 2:02.67 to break her own Belgrave record. Sadly, in spite of this, she was only 5th home in this hot race and although faster than any of the qualifiers by right in two of the other heats, found herself one of the fastest runners NOT to go into the semi-finals.
Women's Discus - qualifying round Result
Discus thrower Shelley Newman found that it was not to be her day - or should we say night, as her qualifying pool for the discus were still in action as midnight approached. It would have taken a considerable improvement on her best ever throw to make the final with 62.50m being the target. Shelley's personal record is 61.22m, set in 2003, with a best this season of 60.34m. As it was, she started with a "no throw" and could only reach a best of 56.04m on her last effort. With the TV cameras concentrating on that last effort, she could only smile afterwards and mouth the word "terrible".