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Relay team sets date with the stars

11 August 2012

ATHLETICS: Australia’s men’s 4x100m relay team have pulled off the race of their lives to equal the Australian record and progress to tomorrow night’s star studded final.

The team of Anthony Alozie, Isaac Ntiamoah, Andrew McCabe and Joshua Ross recorded a time of 38.17 to see them finish fifth in the second of two heats, and seventh fastest overall.

"Words can't explain the way I feel at the moment," said Mccabe.

"I kind of expected us to make the final, no one else did but i always knew we would be here so we just have to come out in the final now. We all believed in each other."

"We did our best and you can't ask for more than that," added Alozie. "I know I can go out there and do my best (in the final)."

Australia matched it with all but the American’s to set up a thrilling final leg which saw second through to fifth eventually split by just one tenth of a second.  

Ross collected the baton alongside Japan (2nd – 38.07), Trinidad and Tobago (3rd – 38.10) and France (4th - 38.15), and raced home. Despite not being able to match it with the more favoured teams in the final leg, Ross's desparation saw the Australian team progress ahead of the Polish team who were 0.14 further back.

"It (a medal) is never out of the question," said Ross. 

"Everything is possible especially in relays - anything can happen in a final."

Winning the Australian’s heat was the USA team who themselves claimed a national record as they threw down the gauntlet to the highly fancied Jamaican team who were the fastest qualifiers with a time of 37.38.

Competing in the first heat the Jamaican’s, minus global superstar Usain Bolt, qualified 0.01 behind the USA as the second fastest qualifier for the final. The strength of the two teams could see them push one another to a new world record time which currently sits at 37.04.

Steve Hooker has been unable to defend his Olympic title having bowed out without recording a height in the men’s pole vault final.

Despite an up and down season, Hooker appeared to have his head in the right place coming into the Games on the back of clearing 5.72m in Poland last month.

In the qualifier he went through as one of 14 finalists having cleared 5.50m. He passed on that height in tonight’s final choosing to enter the competition at 5.65m.

Hooker got off the ground but pulled out of the jump midflight sailing under the bar and recording his first miss.

On his second attempt, he failed to get off the ground as the pressure mounted on the defending Olympic champion to record a height and keep his dream of back to back gold intact.  

He returned to the air for his third and final attempt, clipping the bar and his dream of defending his Olympic title was over.

"It was bitter-sweet but mainly bitter," said Hooker.

"It was great to be out there - it was an amazing competition. I felt like I could run down and I could put down a jump to clear that bar."

While his London 2012 campaign threw up a result he was not after, Hooker's steely resolve shone through admitting he was aiming to continue on.

"It seems so cheap talking about anything after the Olympic Games but from a personal point of view I feel like things are improving every day, every week.

"It is the best I have jumped all year the way I've jumped here, the way I've prepared, the way I've felt in my warmups, the way things have gone in the competition it just doesn't always come off with clean bar clearances.

I want to continue the season and see where it goes. I just need a bit of validation for the work I have put in."   

Hooker remained on the track as he pumped up the crowd for each of his competitors.

France's Renaud Lavillenie won the gold with a new Olympic record of 5.97m ahead of German duo Bjorn Otto (5.91m) and Raphael Holdzeppe (5.91m) who claimed the silver and bronze.

After missing his first attempt at 6.02m, Lavillenie raised the bar to 6.07m but could not clear the height beat his 6.03 PB.

Matt Bartolo in London
Olympics.com.au

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