CRAIG Pickering has admitted that he left the World Athletics Championships in South Korea ‘heartbroken’ after the GB relay team again saw a medal literally slip from their grasp.
For the third time in the last four major competitions – after heartache at the 2008 Olympic Games and last year’s European Championships – Great Britain’s planned grandstand finish to a successful championships ended in disappointment and the baton failing to make it to the finish.
Pickering has been a part of all three of those bungled efforts and after their latest disaster in Daegu, labelled his stay in South Korea as a waste of time.
“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said Pickering. “This is the fourth championships I’ve been on the track and three of those times we’ve been disqualified. But for me all I want to do is win medals and the relay is a really legitimate shot of getting a medal.
“We would certainly have been good enough to win a medal had the baton got around and things had not gone wrong on the third changeover, so it’s heartbreaking.
“Two of the best teams in the USA and Trinidad & Tobago were out of it so if we had run the time in the final that we had ran in the semi-final we’d have got bronze.”
Britain looked in contention for a medal after strong starts to the 4x100 race by Christian Malcolm and Craig Pickering, running the second leg. But after the Milton Keynes man handed the baton to Marlon Devonish, he and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey made a total hash of the final changeover as the latter collided with the USA’s Darvis Patton, causing them to also stop in their tracks.
“It’s really poor,” said Pickering. “Obviously getting hit by another runner is far from ideal and so it has obviously not helped us. But I don’t really know what happened because I’d like to have thought if the changeovers were done right then Marlon should have caught Harry, but he didn’t and we need to at what happened there.”
The team’s relay nightmare on Sunday came after they made it through to the final thanks to an encouraging win in their earlier semi-final, winning in a fast time of 38.29 seconds.
Jamaica, led by Usain Bolt, won the gold with a new world record time of 37.04s, but seeing France and St Kitts & Nevis secure silver and bronze respectively was hard to take for Pickering.
“I was there for three weeks and after the semi-final I thought good, it’ll be worth it, but it wasn’t and it’s heartbreaking,” he said.
Pickering’s disappointment was mirrored by fellow Milton Keynes ace Greg Rutherford who tore a hamstring in the long-jump qualifying and missed the final.
He was eyeing a medal after a hugely-consistent summer, most notably jumping 8.32m to win a Diamond League meet. However, that plan unravelled in the most painful of fashions as Rutherford pulled a hamstring on his second round leap and had to tire injured.
Elsewhere Chris Clarke was part of 4x400 relay team which had to settle for seventh place in the final.