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Page last updated at 19:57 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

GB end Euros with relay silvers

GB's 4x400m men's relay team
GB's men finished the championships with a relay silver medal

Great Britain completed the European Indoor Championships with two relay silvers, adding to the golds won by Mo Farah and Dwain Chambers.

Marilyn Okoro, who earlier missed out on an 800m medal, helped the 4x400m women claim second spot behind Russia.

Britain's Philip Taylor then battled on the anchor leg to finish behind Italy.

On a dramatic last day, Okoro and Jenny Meadows struggled in the 800m, pole vaulter Steve Lewis was fourth and Greg Rutherford came sixth in the long jump.

Following Farah's 3,000m gold on Saturday, there had been high hopes for Okoro and Meadows to produce medal-winning performances on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Okoro, so impressive in the winter's indoor meets, burst into the lead but after tiring on the last bend she collapsed on the line, with Meadows finishing in fourth and Russian Mariya Savinova taking gold in 1:58.10 minutes.

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Meadows, clocking 2:00.42 minutes and pipped to a medal by Italy's Elisa Cusma Piccione, said: "It was fast and unfortunately Marilyn paid the price. I'm gutted to finish in fourth. It's the worst position to be in."

Despite lying on the track for several minutes before receiving medical attention, Okoro returned to the track later to anchor the relay team alongside Donna Fraser, Kim Wall and Vicky Barr to an impressive silver.

On her earlier disappointment, Okoro said: "I was trying to tell them there was nothing wrong, only my ego was bruised, but they tried to insist on a stretcher.

"Going through 400m I should have seen it was quick and relaxed, but instead I think I went the other way. I've learnt from that and it's in the memory bank. I never want that to happen again."

Lewis was in good form throughout the weekend and narrowly missed out on a medal in the pole vault after clearing 5.71m.

Marilyn Okoro
Okoro overcame a disappointing 800m to impress in the relay

Rutherford, who has struggled recently with injury and illness, claimed a personal best 8.0m but had to settle for sixth, with German Sebastian Bayer leaping a European record of 8.71m to win gold.

Katrina Wootton was ninth in the 3,000m final, while Neil Speaight finished in last spot in the 1500m final.

The final action in the championship was suitably left for the Italians to take centre stage as they won gold in the men's 4x400m, but it was not without a fight from Britain's men.

Richard Buck, Nick Leavey and Nigel Levine started well and Philip Taylor ran a brave final leg, and although beaten by Italy's Claudio Licciardello he pipped the Poles by the narrowest of margins.

Taylor said: "I'm just happy for all the guys. I thought I could close the gap but the home crowd pulled the Italian through."



see also
European Indoor athletics photos
08 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Chambers storms to gold in Turin
08 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Record-breaking Chambers in final
07 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Africa training helps Farah's form
06 Mar 09 |  Athletics
This weekend on BBC Sport
02 Mar 09 |  TV/Radio Schedule
Tomlinson added to GB injury list
03 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Chambers included in GB Euro team
24 Feb 09 |  Athletics
Farah breaks record in Birmingham
21 Feb 09 |  Athletics


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