GREAT Britain claimed their biggest medal haul in World Indoor Championship history - despite believing Mo Farah would be awarded one and then having the decision overturned minutes later.
Farah finished fourth in a physical 3,000 metres final in Istanbul, but was promoted to third when, prompted by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, the race referee agreed that Kenya’s Edwin Soi had been guilty of obstruction.
That was briefly reflected in the official medal table, but was then overturned following an official appeal from the Kenyan team, something which the British team were then not allowed to challenge further under IAAF rules.
“For me it was clear,” Van Commenee said. “I have studied the footage many times and the referee agreed so that’s why he changed the result. I feel pretty stuffed really.”
However, five medals on the final day took the team’s tally to nine, surpassing the total of seven achieved in Birmingham in 2003, with the highlight a thrilling gold for the women’s 4x400 metre team of Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu and Perri Shakes-Drayton.
The men’s team of Conrad Williams, Nigel Levine, Michael Bingham and Richard Buck also claimed silver, while there were bronze medals for Shara Proctor in the long jump, Andrew Osagie in the 800m and Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault.
In the women’s relay, Britain were down in third place when Ohuruogu took the baton, but the Olympic champion signalled a welcome return to form with a storming leg to hand over to hurdles specialist Shakes-Drayton in first place.
It looked as though American individual champion Sanya Richards-Ross would overhaul the Briton down the home straight, but Shakes-Drayton bravely held on and crashed to the track as she lunged for the line, sealing gold by 0.03 seconds.
“Training’s been going well so I’m just happy that I’ve come out and we’ve won a gold medal,” said Ohuruogu, who has suffered from injuries and a loss of form since winning Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.
“I didn’t really want to come here, I don’t like indoors very much.”