The men’s 4x400m Relay heats in Moscow were uneventful as all the usual suspects got through to the final.
There were two world-leading marks, first with the Jamaicans clocking 3:00.41 in the first heat, and then United States became the first nation this season to break three minutes with 2:59.85 in heat two. Judging by the heats, USA shouldn’t have too much of a threat in the final, given that they have some faster runners to include in the team.
In the first heat, Jamaica and Great Britain battled in the lead, changing places several times with the Jamaicans finally passing Britain in the home straight to take the win in a world-leading 3:00.41, anchored by fast-finishing Javon Francis.
Great Britain finished second with Martyn Rooney losing the lead in the last 50 metres to clock 3:00.50 for the last automatic qualifying spot. Venezuela was in third place for much of the race, but their 3:02.04 season’s best was not enough for the final. Japan also clocked a season’s best of 3:02.43 for fourth, while 400m bronze medallist Luguelin Santos anchored Dominic Republic to fifth in 3:03.61.
In the second heat Trinidad and Tobago pressured United States for most of the race, but never managed to get in front of them. Arman Hall, running the last leg for USA, finished in a 2:59.85 world leader, well ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, who clocked a 3:00.48 season’s best to grab the second automatic qualifier spot.
This was the fastest heat and both teams qualified by time came from this race. Belgium’s Kevin Borlee passed Brazil’s Hugo De Sousa in the final straight to finish in 3:00.81, while Brazil’s 3:01.09 was also enough to qualify for the final by time, both countries achieving a season’s best.
In heat three, Cuba controlled the race almost until the end, but messed up their last exchange after being overtaken by The Bahamas right before the start of the final leg. Inexperienced anchor Osmaidel Pellecier unbelievably dropped from the lead to sixth place in the last 50 metres of the race.
To the delight of the home crowd and powered by their anchor Vladimir Krasnov, Russia, who were second in the race after the final exchange, passed Bahamas’ Ojay Ferguson in the final straight in a dramatic last 30 metres which saw the leaders drop to fourth place in a short moment. Russia’s time of 3:01.81 was a season’s best and Australia finished fast anchored by Tristan Thomas in 3:02.48, the last qualifier from this heat.
Germany’s Jonas Plass also finished well to grab the third place in 3:02.62 with Olympic champions Bahamas in fourth in 3:02.67, failing to make the final.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF