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Quarrie expects relay fireworks

Published:Monday | July 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Quarrie

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

BIRMINGHAM, England:

Technical leader Donald Quarrie believes that Jamaica can continue its dominance in the men's 4x100m relay and stand a good chance of overwhelming the Americans in the female equivalent at the Olympic Games in London.

Quarrie, who knows a thing or two himself about relay running, having featured in Jamaica's 1984 Olympics silver medal-winning sprint relay team, says despite having limited time to work on baton exchanges and other technical details with the squads, Jamaica's sprint relay teams should be well-prepared for a show in London.

The Jamaican men set world records at two of the last three major international championships, running 37.10 at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 before last year racing to 37.04 at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea.

The Jamaicans were also successful at the 2009 IAAF World Championships and with triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt, world 100m champion Yohan Blake and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell expected to form the nucleus of the team with the likes of Nesta Carter and Michael Frater in support, Quarrie is expecting fireworks.

There has, however, been much discussion about the possible line-up for the team and whether a lack of adequate baton practices may harm the team, but Quarrie is confident the team's experience will lessen the chance of any mishaps.

System will work

"What we do, we try to look at how best we can break down any major issue into something that can be managed and it has worked in the past. We have a certain amount of days before the relays during the Games and we are confident that with the background of most our athletes having experience in passing the baton, that it would work," said Quarrie yesterday.

The 1976 Olympic 200m gold medallist, who watched the United States male and female teams run 37.61 and 42.24 clockings at the recent Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco as a warm-up for the Olympics, does not think the Americans will have their way this time around.

In 22 Olympic Games men's 4x100m finals, Jamaica won one gold medal compared to the Americans' 15, while in 19 women's finals, the Jamaicans also have a single victory, with the USA claiming nine gold.

Despite the Americans' historical advantage, Quarrie is aware that the female race, in particular, will be determined by the team that makes the most mistakes.

Jamaica were victors in 2004, but the last time the Americans won gold in the women's 4x100m was at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The Americans have, however, won three of the last four 4x100m relays at the IAAF World Championships with the Jamaicans' most recent win coming in 2009. The United States have won six of the 13 World Championships 4x100m finals contested among female teams, while Jamaica have won twice.

"What we have looked at is, we saw the US ran and we are happy that they didn't break the world record," Quarrie offered sarcastically. "With the men, we are still very strong and we also saw the US women run and they made a lot of mistakes, so I think it's going to come down to execution and who makes the less mistakes."

The women's 4x100m relay final is scheduled for August 10, with the men's final scheduled a day later.