André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Officials from Jamaica's team here at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics spent much of yesterday finalising the preliminary-round relay teams, with technical leader Maurice Wilson noting the importance of the event for Jamaicans.
Rusheen McDonald, Javere Bell, Javon Francis and Edino Steele will run the heats of the men's 4x400m which starts today at 10:05 a.m. (Jamaica time), while Kaliese Spencer will get her chance at a medal in the women's 4x400m, after she was named to the team for the heats, which starts tomorrow at 2:30 a.m.
"We know that relays are extremely important to the country and we are trying to ensure that we make the best decisions," said Wilson.
The athletes were informed of their inclusion to the team for the heats after a management meeting yesterday evening.
In the event that the team qualifies to the final and wins a medal there, Spencer, who was disqualified from the 400m hurdles heats on Monday after carrying her trail leg around and not over the second hurdle, would receive a medal. The IAAF makes provisions for up to six medals for a team, if that amount of athletes competes.
This won't be Spencer's first time carrying a baton for Jamaica, as she helped the country to a second-place finish in the 4x400m heat at the 2009 IAAF World Champion-ships in Berlin, Germany. The team went on to win a silver medal without her in the final, but she did receive a medal for her contribution.
Others on the team
The women's 4x400m relay team for the heats will be completed by rookie Anastasia Leroy, along with Olympians Rosemarie Whyte and Christine Day.
Stephenie McPherson and Novelene Williams-Mills, who both ran in the 400m final, are expected to join the team if it qualifies for the final.
The men's 4x400m heats will get under way at 10:05 a.m. today and 400m semi-finalists Javere Bell and Javon Francis will be joined for the preliminary round assignment by Rusheen McDonald, who represented Jamaica at the Olympics last year, and Edino Steele.
Other members of the men's 4x400m relay pool include Leford Green and Omar Johnson.