There were tears of bitter despair as Britain’s women archers, with two West Midlanders in their line-up, missed out on an Olympic medal by a tiny margin in the team event.
A nail-biting battle with France for third place ended with Britain losing 203-201.
It was a huge blow given that the British trio Alison Williamson, aged 36, Charlotte Burgess, 21, and Naomi Folkard, 24, had come into the Games ranked as second in the world behind eventual gold medallists Korea, who beat China in the final.
Williamson, from Wolverhampton, is competing in her fifth Olympics and broke down in tears afterwards, saying she felt she had let her team-mates down.
“I am really disappointed,” said Williamson, an individual bronze medallist in Athens four years ago. “I feel basically that I let the other two down, that I should have pulled my weight more and I didn’t.
“It’s really frustrating and disappointing when you are that close to a medal you are almost touching it. Four years is a long time to wait to try again.”
The British team, who will all compete in the individual event tomorrow, were not helped by a violent thunderstorm that delayed their final match against France – expecting to tackle conditions of heat and humidity, the trio found themselves struggling to keep warm.
Folkard, from Kidderminster, was also fighting off the tears after the finish. She said: “It’s very hard to deal with, we are really gutted. We came into this as second in the world and had done well at other international events this year and last year, so that makes it even worse. I now just have to go into the individual events with a calm, cool head and try my hardest.”
The British team were given a bye into the quarter-finals and there they beat Japan 201-196 to set up a semi-final showdown with China but the hosts triumphed 208-202. Korea, the world No1s, romped home in the final 224-215.
Burgess, from Stockport, said: “The weather didn’t help. When we had the break we got cold, although we have to accept the French had the same conditions to deal with.
“We put in so much hard work together over the last two or three years and it just didn’t go to plan."