Memories of one of GB & NI’s most successful European team performances ever were revived last night in Glasgow as British athletes received a medal upgrade from the European Athletics Championships that took place in Barcelona in 2010.
The British women’s 4x400m relay from the 1 August 2010 originally took bronze behind Russia and Germany as part of a memorable medal haul at the championships. GB & NI were upgraded to silver from bronze following the subsequent disqualification of Russia.
Nicola Sanders (coached by Tony Lester), Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola), Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins), and Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) were presented with their silver medals in front of a packed Emirates Arena ahead of the Saturday evening action at the European Indoor Championships.
Speaking after, Perri Shakes-Drayton reflected on her reunion with the 2010 team:
“What’s really nice is that it’s the same medal – and its nice because Barcelona was my breakthrough year, it was in Barcelona 2010 when I got bronze in the hurdles, so it means more,” she said.
“It’s funny because when we were going to get our medals we were all lined up and I didn’t hear the instructions on what to do, but Nicola – when I was younger I remembered was always the one to give me instructions – and I’d take on what she’d say – and that was the same today, I just followed her lead. Although we’ve all got older I was still the youngest up there and in the relay team.
“They’re mums now, I’m about to get married. We’re all getting older but we’re still joined by that one thing – that passion and love for athletics!”
McConnell, who ran the third leg in that race revealed how crucial the true result was for athletes competing:
“You want to get the medals you deserve at the time. It’s the medals in these performances that make you grow as an athlete, that makes you motivated going into the next winter, it’s what gives you the confidence the following season to race. Therefore, your confidence is knocked because you aren’t getting the results you might have expected you could deliver, yet you are delivering its just that someone else is cheating to finish ahead of you.
“But coming here to my home town where I trained – I trained here for all my medal performances, so its nice to get it here if it’s going to be somewhere!
“It’s a great team that the women’s 4x400m had over the years and we should have probably achieved more but other reasons meant we didn’t. I have days when I am quite annoyed with my career and think I could have done more, but there are and days where I’m quite satisfied with it.”
Nicola Sanders and Marilyn Okoro spoke to British Athletics TV soon after. Watch it here.