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Dafne Schippers’ Olympic disappointment turned into a nightmare on Thursday as she took responsibility for a botched relay handover that cost her a chance for redemption at the Rio Games.
The mix-up at the first changeover denied the Netherlands a chance to qualify for the 4x100m women’s relay final and give Schippers a chance of a consolation medal after she failed in her bid for a 100 and 200m golden double.
Schippers went too early as she waited for the baton from Jamile Samuel and had to slow down to an almost standing position before the changeover, leaving the European champions well out of contention early in their heat.
“It was my fault. I thought it was Jamile coming up on me and when I looked again it wasn’t Jamile at all,” Schippers told Dutch television.
“We then lost a lot of time and therefore I have to take the blame. I did everything to try and close the gap but unfortunately this is the Olympics, you don’t fix a mistake like that easily.”
It brings to a bitter end a disappointing Games for the 24-year-old, who had high hopes of emulating the feat of compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen who won the sprint double in London in 1948.
The Dutch had also been confident of a relay medal, among the favourites with the United States and Jamaica to finish on the podium.
Schippers finished fifth in the 100m final, saying afterwards she had been struggling with injury in the build-up to the race.
Despite posting the fastest semi-final time in the 200m, in which she was reigning world champion, she only picked up a silver in Wednesday’s final.
“I didn’t sleep at all last night at all, going over everything again and again. Maybe I wasn’t 100 percent fresh for today. I’ve got hugely mixed feelings,” she added.