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Jamaica, US set for 4x100 showdown

Published:Sunday | May 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

NASSAU, The Bahamas:Battle lines have been drawn and two sprint relay giants are about to square off in one of the most anticipated clashes at the IAAF World Relays today inside Nassau's Thomas A Robinson Stadium.

The men's 4x100m will bring the curtains down on the championships and the kingpins Jamaica are expected to be tested by their old foes from the United States, with a sub-37 seconds timing very much a possibility.

Jamaica have dominated the men's 4x100m relay since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, taking the event at every major championships and breaking world records in Beijing, the 2011 IAAF World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games, where they became the first team under 37 seconds - with a 36.84 clocking.

However, for the first time, they will compete without both Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell on the team. But with Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Kemar Bailey-Cole among the names they can call upon, the Jamaicans will still walk on the track as favourites for the gold medal.

"The team's been successful over the years, breaking world records and we want to keep that trend going and keep focused," said Blake, the 2011 world champion over 100m.

"We are always looking for the younger generation. It's good for someone to step up and see if they can make it to the big time," Blake continued. "It's unfortunate that Usain is not here with us, but he sends his regards. It's time for someone else to step up and fill that spot."

Wallace Spearmon believes the United States will need to have clean baton passes if they are to have success against the Jamaicans, but warned that they are not running for the bridesmaid's position.

BIG PERFORMANCES

"We're from the US and we never race for second," Spearmon said. "We have a lot of young guys. For a lot of them it'll be their first time taking part in a major championships and representing their country, so we are going to have a lot of guys stepping up and making big performances."

He added: "We are going to have to have clean sticks to beat them (Jamaicans), almost flawless. The good thing is when you have a lot of young guys though, they don't know their limitations and they'll probably run better than they expected to."

The men's 4x100m relay final is set for 7:37 p.m. The heats will be contested earlier at 4:40 p.m.

- A.L.