'Handoffs was the key'
- Frater states prime factor for record-breaking run
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
DAEGU, South Korea:
Jamaica's men 4x100m relay team provided the brightest spark of the 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, with a world record 37.04 run in the final, erasing their own mark and closing out the country's campaign with nine medals.
For anchor man Usain Bolt though, despite the gold medal it was not the perfect race.
Bolt, who kept his cool after receiving the baton from clubmate and good friend Yohan Blake amid a pile of bodies - as American Darvis Patton crashed into Great Britain and Northern Ireland's Marlon Devonish at the last exchange as both teams failed to finish - says he would have preferred to have the USA team in the race, even if he doesn't think they could stop the Jamaican sprint machine.
"I always look forward to the best competition and I think that the US were one of the great teams in the race and a lot of people may say that if the US finished the race it would have been different but I don't think so," said Bolt.
"But yes, it would have been great to see a great team like theirs finish the race and yes I'm sorry that they dropped the baton, that's gotta hurt and it's always rough to see another athlete getting hurt," he added, before touching on the ever-relevant topic of the perceived Jamaica-USA sprint rivalry.
"We are two great sprint nations and I think we just both train hard and try to be the best. We will always compete against each other, I won't say it's a rivalry but we both just want to be the best," said Bolt, who was anchoring Jamaica at a major championships for the first time.
Michael Frater, who was winning his third major relay title with two of those coming in world-record times, credited the experience of the team and their focus on proper baton management.
Three members of the team were also involved when Jamaica first broke the world record in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games.
"Handoff was the key for us. As long as we got the stick around, we knew we had a pretty good chance of winning the gold medal and breaking the world record," Frater said. "We were out there with four guys who have gone under 9.90 seconds, so for us it was just to get the stick around.
"Experience definitely played a factor for us, we had not been able to do a lot of exchanges but we just went out there and executed," he added, before Nesta Carter's reiteration.
"It was a good race and we have to thank God for bringing us through. Going out there, we just wanted to handoff the stick well. We weren't really going out there to break records, but to first of all, get the stick around," Carter said.
Yohan Blake, the only member of this year's world record-breaking team who was not involved in Beijing, thanked the team and expressed delight with his first record victory.
Solid first leg
"To have two gold medals and one world record, I just thank God and the entire team, I feel over the moon right now," Blake beamed.
The Jamaicans benefited from a solid first leg from Carter, before Frater established a clear advantage on the backstretch. Blake, not known as a great curve runner, ran powerfully on the third leg, handing over to Bolt, who destroyed the anchor, running with ferocity through the line to give Jamaica their second relay world record in three years - a feat they managed without the third-fastest man in history, Asafa Powell, who did not participate in the championships due to injury.