'It should have been gold': Neita rues cramp as she settles for bronze

·3-min read
Neita fought against the worst cramp of her life to claim bronze in the 100m but believes the gold should have been hers.
Neita fought against the worst cramp of her life to claim bronze in the 100m but believes the gold should have been hers.

By Will Jennings in Munich

Daryll Neita defied the ‘worst cramp’ of her life to bag a brave European bronze in Munich – then told her rivals they were lucky and it should have been gold.

The former Loughborough College student clocked a staggering 11.00s on Wednesday night given she almost pulled out of the race on the startline.

Neita, 25, finished just 0.01s behind Gina Luckenkemper and Mujinga Kambundji as British teammate and defending champion Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with cramp to finish last.

In-form Neita nearly suffered the same fate but ploughed on to grab a medal she thinks should have been more.

The British champion, who narrowly missed out on the World Championship final in Oregon last month, said: “When we had our presentation and I was stepping up to my block, I genuinely had the worst cramp I’ve ever had in my life.

“I was looking for my coach to say that I didn’t think I could run.

“But after missing out on a final at Worlds and not doing my best at the Commonwealths, I didn’t want to miss this final.

“I stood on the startline, gave it a go and said a prayer.

“I could feel my whole right leg cramping up and I didn’t want to pull anything or do anything.

“I would say I chilled through that race, but it wasn’t very comfortable. I honestly do not know how I got a medal.

“I’m a fighter and I gave it a go – you fight or flight and I decided to roll the dice.

“This is a championships, not a meet, so I wanted to give my best as I know I’m in amazing shape right now.

“I still managed to run it in 11 seconds dead - I don’t know how.

“The gold should have been mine but it wasn’t. It is what it is with my body.”

Both Neita and Asher-Smith, a four-time European champion, came flying out of the blocks at the Olympic Stadium before the 2018 gold medallist pulled up with 60m gone.

She did finish in a time of 16.03s while Neita, fresh off the back of her bronze at the Commonwealth Games, battled her way onto the podium ahead of Pole Ewa Swoboda in fourth.

Luckenkemper, 25, captured a memorable victory to send the bumper Munich crowd into raptures while Swiss star Kambundji claimed silver.

Neita’s European Championships are not over yet as she hopes to compete in the 200m on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s 4x100m relay.

She said: “It doesn’t feel amazing right now.

“I’ll have to see my coach to decide what happens.”

Asher-Smith, 26, added: “I’m going to go back and have a chat about my recovery.

“I feel good, I'm in good shape, I'm just frustrated.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website