US stun Ja in 4x100m
Jamaica’s men’s 4x100m relay team followed another team to the line for the first time at a major international championships since the 2008 Olympic Games as a blistering second leg by Justin Gatlin led the USA to victory at the IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas last night.
It wasn’t a pleasant return to the archipelago for Bolt who was in 2002, christened ‘Lightning Bolt’ by the Bahamians. Not even the world’s fastest man could find the spark needed to come back after getting the baton almost 10 metres behind Ryan Bailey, who crashed the tape in 37.38 seconds with the Jamaicans taking the silver in 37.68. Japan were third in 38.20.
The Jamaicans will set their sights firmly on closing out today’s final day in style with the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams, the men’s 4x200m and women’s 4x100m all gunning for medals.
The women’s 4x800m relay team will also be looking for a positive outing, with an improvement on last year’s fifth place finish, which brought with it a national record, 8:17.22 the target.
The women’s 4x200m team of Samantha Henry-Robinson, Veronica Campbell- Brown, Shericka Williams and Sherone Simpson weren’t exactly smooth with the exchanges, and though they crossed the line third, the silver was their’s in a time of 1:31.73 after a Bahamas disqualification. The USA also failed to finish after Jenebah Tarmoh ran into Allyson Felix as Nigeria, 1:30.52, took top honours with Germany promoted to the bronze in 1:33.61.
In the men’s 4x400m heats, Javon Francis on the anchor leg, again showed his amazing ability, with his unofficial 44.01 seconds split dragging the Jamaicans, who posted 3:02.98, from sixth place to second and an automatic qualifying spot, as they finished second to the United States, who clocked 3:02.81.
Botswana were third in 3:03.08 but Francis, though happy with the team’s progress, will be hoping to get the stick closer to the front in today’s final, which will bring the curtain down on the event at 10:01p.m. (9:01pm Jamaica time).
“It would be nice to get the baton closer but we got the job done, we are in the final,” Francis told the Sunday Gleaner. “I just focus on running my best and helping my team to qualify.”
“Hopefully we will go out there and make it on the podium tomorrow (today). I will be telling my teammates to stay focused because we have a big day. I just want to get it (baton) close to the leader.”
Schoolboy Nathon Allen, who ran a solid third leg, brining the Jamaicans back in the race, after receiving the baton in last place, was ecstatic following what was his first appearance at major senior international meet.
“I was a bit nervous at first but I managed to gather myself as the race went on. I saw them in front but I just told myself ‘run!’ Bert Cameron (team coach) told me earlier ‘ Do your part and even more.’
Jamaica’s women are also through to the final of the mile relay, as the team of Christine Day, 800m specialist Natoya Goule, Anastasia Le-Roy and Stephenie-Ann McPherson were dominant in their heat, winning in 3:26.41 ahead of Great Britain, 3:28.51 and Brazil, 3:29.38.
Diamond race winner Novlene Williams-Mills will come in for Goule in the medal round, but McPherson was pleased with the team’s performance, while Le-Roy expressed ambitions of pulling of a win over the Americans, who won their heat in a world leading 3:24.05.
“We were always confident of making the final, now we are looking forward to that and we are hoping to go out there and give it our best,” McPherson said adding that their recent win over the Americans at the Penn Relays has boosted their confidence going into today’s showdown.
The women’s 4x400m will face the starter at 9:45 p.m. (8:45pm).