HARROW'S Laura Turner has set her sights on the 4x100m relay, after failing to progress beyond the heats in the individual event in Beijing.
Turner's hopes of progressing beyond the opening round were over in a flash, as she recorded a below-par 11.65 to finish fourth in her heat inside the Bird's Nest stadium.
With the first three qualifying automatically, the 26-year-old's 11.09 personal best would have taken her comfortably through to the next round after eventual gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser took the heat in 11.35. But the former Brunel University student still holds one last card in her bid for a Beijing medal, with the 4x100m relay to come today (Thursday, 1.55pm) and tomorrow (Friday, 12.40pm).
The Harrow AC member won silver in the sprint relay at the 2006 European Championships, but the squad face tough competition for a medal in Beijing now that Jamaica has raised the bar with a one, two, three in the individual final.
"It was hard out there and it wasn't to be, but the experience has been great," said Turner. "We came fourth at the World Championships last year and every time we have got together since then it has kept us all fired up.
"Osaka was so close - there was no one really different and the race you saw was the top eight in the world and I would hope that they would all be there and hopefully we will be able to beat them this time."
And despite failing to go beyond the first round in the Chinese capital, Northwick Park-born Turner is adamant she is still improving and can make an impact on home soil in four years' time.
"I didn't start coming through until I was 20 or 21 so I think in training and competition years I am quite young - so I think I am developing and will be in good shape at the age of 29."
Elsewhere, Harrow AC's Mara Yamauchi admitted she was surprised by the lack of opposition after she made light of the Chinese heat to pen her name in the history books in Beijing.
The 35-year-old 2006 Commonwealth bronze medallist over 10,000 metres finished sixth, in a time of 2:27.29, equalling the best ever finish by a British woman in an Olympic marathon.
While fellow Brit Paula Radcliffe wilted in the heat to finish 23rd, Yamauchi sprinted home to finish a mere 45 seconds behind Romanian winner Constantina Tomescu.
"It wasn't hot, it wasn't even that humid. I was surprised a lot of others didn't do better," she said. "I thought the Ethiopians and a few of the others would have sprinted away at the end but I managed to keep pace with those around me."
"I'm really happy, I ran a sensible race and perhaps the top athletes were just a bit too strong for me, but I'm glad I caught the Russian at the end," she added. "I was really digging in at the end, but that is what you expect. It was no harder than we have run in other cooler places."
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