Joe Brier ran the opening leg for GB in the world relay in Silesia. Pic: Alex Livesey - British Athletics via Getty Images

No Relay Joy In Poland For Joe Brier This Time After GB Baton Mix-Up

By Owen Morgan

There was to be no repeat of the European Indoor Championship medal winning success for Joe Brier and his Great Britain 4x400m relay team-mates as they returned to Poland for the World Relay Championships on Saturday night.

The Swansea Harrier was part of the GB men’s team which won an impressive bronze in Torun at the beginning of March.

But their campaign at the World Relay Championships in Silesia ended in the heats after James Williams fell as he attempted to hand over the baton at the end of the second leg.

Cardiff Metropolitan University student Brier got GB off to a solid start as he ran a 47.23 split before handing over to Williams.

As he came to the end of his leg, the Liverpool Harrier was jostling for position with his German counterpart when he fell as he prepared to hand over to Kevin Metzger.

Despite hitting the track, Williams somehow managed to reach up of the floor and pass the baton to Metzger.

Despite the Sale athlete’s best efforts, he had lost too much ground to the rest of the field and by the time he handed over to Dwayne Cowan on the anchor leg GB were already well out of contention.

The heat was won in impressive fashion by Botswana ahead of fellow qualifiers Italy with Poland third and Germany fourth. Great Britain finished fifth.

Afterwards Brier said: “It was always going to be a difficult running the first leg and trying to put us in the mix. I feel like I did that pretty well but hopefully I can execute it better next time.

“I’m still only 22-years-old so I feel like I’ve got a lot ahead of me so I want to make the most of all these opportunities.”

Cowan added: “Joe got out really well on the first leg. Then it was hustle and bustle from the start of the second leg. Things happen in athletics and the 4x400m but we just have to move onto the next race.

“There’s a lot of new young talent coming through in the event so we’ve seen some new guys in the team and they’ve done some really good legs, so Britain have got a lot to come.”

The unfortunate Williams said: “I thought I had a decent leg. I was coming through in last through 200m so Kevin was the fifth person along so I should have made my move sooner to get to the outside.

“The first thing I said to the guys was ‘sorry’, but they wouldn’t let me because we are a team. The lads showed resilience to keep going and they battled on.”

Earlier in the evening, GB women’s team qualified for the 4x400m final with an impressive victory in their heat.

Ama Pipi, Zoey Clark, Jessie Knight and Jessica Turner clocked a time of 3:28.83 to book a place in Sunday evening’s final.

GB also qualified for Sunday evening’s mixed relay final as one of the fastest losers after Rabah Yousif, Laviai Nielsen, Emily Diamond and Lee Thompson finished fourth in their heat.

The World Athletics Relays continue on the BBC Red Button / BBC iPlayer / Online from 18:10 on Sunday 2 May.

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