Great Britain’s men’s 4x100m team defended their title at the European Championships, after Jake Wightman had to settle for silver in a close finish to the men’s 800m final in Munich.

The men’s quartet ran a championship record 37.67 seconds to beat France and Poland to gold.

However, the women’s team were unable to finish after dropping their baton.

Gold for hosts Germany in the women’s 4x100m meant they edged Britain in the final medal table.

Germany finished on 26 golds – two more than Britain – as both nations ended with 60 medals at the end of a thrilling 11 days of competition across nine sports.

In athletics, Britain finished with 20 medals – more than any other nation – with their six golds second to Germany (seven). In 20182, they won 18 medals, including seven golds.

Britain’s 1500m world champion Wightman missed out on 800m gold to Spain’s Mariano Garcia by just 0.06secs.

The 28-year-old clocked a season’s best one minute 44.91 seconds in the two-lap race, as Ireland’s Mark English clinched bronze.

The European silver completed a sweep of major medals this summer for Wightman, who also won Commonwealth 1500m bronze.

“I felt I was in the right place and I was just willing him [Garcia] to come back. I didn’t quite have enough to get it at the end,” Wightman told BBC Sport.

“I really went into this thinking I could win, but coming away with silver is a really nice way to end my season.”

Mixed fortunes for GB in relay finals

Britain lined up as defending champions in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m events – but the two teams had varying fortunes at the Olympiastadion.

The men’s quartet, which won world bronze behind Canada and the USA at the World Championships in July, stormed to victory as Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake brought the team home following legs by Jeremiah Azu, Zharnel Hughes and Jona Efoloko.

“Its a great feeling to come out with the gold,” said Mitchell-Blake. “To come out of it with the championship record is a bonus. It’s been a true team effort.”

The women’s team had run the fastest time in qualifying – with only Spain also managing to clock under 43 seconds – as they looked to bounce back from their disappointment at the worlds.

The final medal at the 2022 European Championships
Germany top the final medal table with two golds more than Great Britain, as both nations finish on 60 medals

Their medal hopes were ended in Eugene after Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with injury.

Set to race the final leg on Sunday, Asher-Smith replaced Bianca Williams for the final, joining Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot and Ashleigh Nelson.

But Philip was unable to hand the baton over to second-leg runner Lansiquot, as Germany took the title in 42.34 ahead of Poland and Italy.

“This team is really consistent and so I’m really shocked about what happened out there,” said Philip. “I can’t get my head around it just yet. We wanted to defend our title but things just didn’t go my way in that race.”

Asher-Smith said: “We’re such a strong squad, we know what we’re capable of and we have a phenomenal time in us.

“Unfortunately this is why the relay is one of everyone’s favourite races – there are so many factors to get right. Things do happen, it’s unfortunate but it’s OK, we will just grow from it.”

Speaking on BBC TV, British sprinter Richard Kilty said: “Britain should be dominating absolutely every European Championships in the 4x100m. We have the talent, we have big investment.

“Mistakes do happen and the girls will learn from it. I’m glad this has happened now and not next year or going into the Olympics, because that team is definitely a constant medal-winning quartet.”

Wightman ‘proud’ of medal haul after 800m switch

Jake Wightman is beaten to the line by Mariano Garcia
Jake Wightman could not quite catch Mariano Garcia in the final sprint

In July, Wightman became the first Briton to win the men’s 1500m world title since Steve Cram in 1983.

However, he admitted he struggled to refocus following that success and said he was “relieved” to earn bronze for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in early August.

Despite initially planning to go for three major 1500m medals this summer, he subsequently chose to switch to the 800m in Munich as a way to “refresh”.

The Briton ran a smart race on Sunday and was well positioned at the start of the final straight, but he was unable to overhaul Garcia in the closing stages.

“I really wanted to add the European 800m title to my world 1500m title and I felt in the shape to do it,” Wightman added.

“The toughest bit [of the season] was after winning the 1500m at the Worlds. I’m pleased with how I managed to come back and I’m still running well.

“It’s something that I can reflect on at the end of the season and be proud of – that I got something from each of these championships.”

Britain’s Ben Pattison, who won Commonwealth Games 800m bronze for England earlier this month, finished sixth in Munich in 1:45.63.

In the women’s 100m hurdles final, Cindy Sember clipped the second hurdle as she finished outside the medal positions.

The Commonwealth bronze medallist started as favourite, with the quickest time of the field this season, but crossed the line eighth.

Poland’s Pia Skrzyszowska won the title in 12.53 seconds, Hungary’s Luca Kozak took silver and Switzerland’s European 200m champion and 100m silver medallist Mujinga Kambundji earned bronze.

In the men’s 10,000m final, Britain’s Emile Cairess finished 11th in 28:07.37, one place ahead of compatriot and World Indoors 3,000m bronze medallist Marc Scott (28:07.72).

Meanwhile, Morgan Lake finished tied seventh in the women’s high jump final with a clearance of 1.90m.

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