Neil Black encouraged by Great Britain's World Championships medal tally

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Great Britain's 4x400 metres relay teams brought an encouraging World Championships to an "absolutely brilliant" end, filling performance director Neil Black with confidence a year out from the Olympics.

The past nine days at the Bird's Nest have looked very promising as Rio de Janeiro fast approaches, with a seven-medal haul complemented by national records and personal bests aplenty.

Great Britain finished fourth in the medal table after winning four golds in Beijing, but it was not until the final day of competition that they met UK Sport's minimum target of six medals.


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They need not have been concerned, though, as the women and men's 4x400 relay teams both secured bronze to take the tally to seven, putting a smile on the face of British Athletics performance director Black.

"We've done as well as I think we could have expected," he said. "You've all seen those places where there were a few disappointments.

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"We could have done even better and that's our aim: to convert every medal chance into an actual result.

"We're not far away from that but we've got to keep persisting with a view to getting even better at it."

One area where improvements can clearly be made is the men's 4x100m, which ended in another baton blunder on the penultimate day.

Richard Kilty and James Ellington publicly blamed the decision to bring Chijindu Ujah in place of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey for the mistake which cost them a medal.

Team meetings were held in a bid to draw a line under the unseemly episode and Black preferred to focus on the positives from the relays, such as the 4x400m bronze double.

"It's absolutely brilliant to finish with that," he said. "We expect to win medals in the relays and that's what happened in the last two and that's our standard.

"With a British record in the women's sprint replay, three out of four we did what we expect to do. In future, we will aim for four out of four."

Things certainly look promising for the British team, with London 2012 stars Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis-Hill all winning their events.

The pool of talent extends beyond the 'Super Saturday' trio, though, with encouraging displays across the week.

"Of course we massively celebrate what we've got, but we had Sophie Hitchon, who was in London, and Shara Proctor, who actually didn't quite perform at that medal level," Black said.

"We had Sophie knocking on the door of a medal and Shara - after I think five global competitions - finally medalling in the way she deserves.

"Hopefully that's the opportunity for even more, opening the gates for that.

"I think there are loads of other people who you've seen and felt, the Dina Asher-Smiths, the Zharnel Hughes - the young people who truly have the potential to be competitive at that level.

"Laura Muir is knocking on the door and you can't count out the Crissys (Christine Ohuruogu), the Lynsey Sharps and Tiffany Porters, who will be disappointed in some ways with their performances, but I wouldn't like to bet against what they're going to do in the next few years.

"So all things considered, I think we're not in any way concerned.

"We've supported those multiple medallists, they've come back and performed again.

"They're demonstrating how it's done, people are learning from them, they're all great people. I'm not sure we can ask for much more from them."

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