Thu | May 25, 2017

Superb - Jamaica maintains sprint relay dominance

Published:Sunday | August 30, 2015 | 8:00 AMAndre Lowe
The championship record-breaking women’s 4x100m team of (from left) Elaine Thompson, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Natasha Morrison.
Jamaica’s victorious 4x100m team of (from left) Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Usain Bolt.
Jamaica’s victorious 4x100m team of (from left) Nesta Carter, Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Nickel Ashmeade.
Veronica Campbell-Brown gives Jamaica a bullet start on the way to the gold medal in the women's 4X100m.
Nesta Carter leaves his block like a speeding bullet to set the stage for victory in the men's 4x100m final.
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BEIJING, China:

There were a few rarities - Asafa Powell on the backstretch, Veronica Campbell-Brown on the first leg - but the outcome was the same as it was two years ago in Moscow: a golden double in the sprint relays for the Jamaicans.

As a result, Jamaica enters today's final day of competition at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, with a chance of matching their best-ever medal return at the championships after the men's and women's 4x100m relay teams flexed their muscles in dominant displays inside the Bird's Nest yesterday.

The Jamaicans were winning both sprint relays for the third time at the IAAF World Champion-ships, with yesterday's double following those from the 2009 and 2013 World Championships.

Fedrick Dacres, Jamaica's finalist in the men's discus, could not push on after a solid start and had to settle for an eighth-place finish, while the island's mile-relay teams both booked their lanes in today's curtain-closing 4x400m finals.

A medal in both events will close the Jamaicans' account on 13 medals - the same number achieved in Berlin in 2009.

Usain Bolt and the other members of Jamaica's male team watched on a small television inside the Call Room as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became Jamaica's second most successful 4x100m athlete at the World Championships, picking up her fifth medal in the event after anchoring the team to a championship record 41.07 seconds win in the women's 4x100m.

The Jamaican technical staff pulled a surprise with the line-up, handing the lead-off leg to Veronica Campbell-Brown, who had not run the first leg of a relay since the IAAF World Junior Championships in Chile in 2000, while debutants Natasha Morrison and Elaine Thompson were posted on the second and third legs, with 100m champion Fraser-Pryce slamming the door shut as the USA (41.68) took the silver, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (42.03), who were winning their first medal in the event.

 

SOLID TEAM

 

"We knew we had a solid team, so it was all about arranging the team the right way. We went out as a team; we did wonderfully. I don't think we could ask for anything else," said Fraser-Pryce.

"I feel good. We ran a championship record and it's just wonderful that we came out here as a team. We are really excited!" added Fraser-Pryce. "Yes, we thought about the world record, but it didn't happen - maybe next time - but we are satisfied with what we got tonight and look forward to more."

In the men's 4x100m, the team of Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade, and Bolt made it four straight World Championships wins for the Jamaicans, tying with the USA for longest winning streak (1983-1993).

With the freshly minted women's champions watching and cheering from trackside, the Jamaicans brought it home in 37.36 seconds (third fastest time ever at World Championships), with China taking second in 38.01, ahead of Canada, 38.13. The USA, which remained in contention for the gold medal with Jamaica up to the final change-over, were disqualified for an illegal baton change, which took place outside the exchange zone.

Bolt joined Marlon Devonish as the most successful athlete in the men's 4x100m, while passing Carl Lewis as the athlete with the most gold medals in the event - four.

"It's brilliant! We have been dominating for a long time. I am happy about that and we will continue being as great as we possibly can until we cannot anymore," said Bolt.

Powell, running the second leg for the first time, said: "It wasn't that strange, but I'm not used to getting and passing off the baton, but it's a good feeling. I will do anything for the team. If they want me to run the third leg, I'll do it; start leg, it doesn't matter; it's a team and we have to do what's best for the team to make it work."

The Jamaicans have now won their sixth medal in the men's 4x100m.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com