It was already a very hard job before this replacement to reach the final. The Netherlands weren’t among the top countries after three quarters of the race, which is why Martina seemed to want to take an extra risk by starting early. This meant Garia couldn’t catch up with him to pass the baton before Martina left the transition zone.
Joris van Gool was the starting rider, Taymir Burnet the second man and Garia the third rider. He tried to pass the baton to Martina, but couldn’t.
For Martina, 37, this disqualification meant the end of her Olympic career. It was his fifth appearance at the Olympics and he was one of two Dutch flag bearers at the opening ceremony this year.
“We needed sharp replacements to reach the final”
“We don’t know what went wrong,” he then sounded out loud. “We’ll have to review the videos,” Martina agreed. “The boys had a good run, but the transition between Chris and I didn’t go well. I felt like I left on time, but maybe it wasn’t. We needed precise substitutions to reach the final, because in principle the opponents run faster. Usually they go well, but sometimes they don’t. “
For Martina, it was probably her last appearance at the Olympics. “I’m here so I’m not going to complain, but I’m disappointed it ends like this.” The other guys did their best and I’m happy for them that they did well, but in the relay there is always a chance that things will go wrong. However, the sprinter left the door slightly ajar for the Paris Olympics. He wants to go to the World Cup next year in Eugene in America. “I want to continue for another year if I can find a good sponsor.”
Churandy Martina with Joris van Gool next to him.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
Still, it already felt a bit like saying goodbye to Martina at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. His teammate Van Gool even threw out a round of applause for the veteran. “It is the most special sporting feat I have experienced up close,” he explained. “He raced his first Games in Athens when I was six and now I have seen for myself how he always makes the right choices. I can only hope that at 37 I can still stay here.
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A bigger surprise was that the United States team also failed to advance to the final. The traditionally strong sprinter’s country missed the final battle, in part because the Ghanaians were slightly faster.
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