The top four women’s teams in the 4x400m seemingly qualified with ease to tomorrow’s final, but it later emerged that one of the big contenders had been disqualified.
As expected, Russia and United States emerged as the gold medal favourites with Britain and Jamaica also posting fast times, but the latter team was disqualified after their first-leg runner ran out of her lane.
Russia was the fastest country with a 3:23.51 season’s best, followed by United States (3:25.18) and Jamaica (3:25.25).
United States led the first heat from start to finish winning easily in 3:25.18. Czech Republic was in second place for much of the race, but their third leg runner did not go well with Jana Slaninova dropping to fourth place.
Italy and Ukraine battled for the second automatic qualifying place until the finish line with the Italian anchor Libania Grenot finally squeezing to the front in a 3:29.62 season’s best while Nataliia Pygyda’s 3:29.63 only proved to be enough to advance after the disqualification of Jamaica. Czech fourth leg runner, the 400m Hurdles World champion Zuzana Hejnova, was too far behind at the start of her leg clocking 3:30.48 for the fourth place.
In the second heat, Great Britain led from start to finish with Christine Ohuruogu capping an easy race with a 51.38 stroll, clocking 3:25.39 for the win. France was in second place almost all of the race before Nigerian Regina George overtook Floria Guei in the home-straight to finish in a 3:27.39 season’s best and straight to the final, but the French team was not disappointed either as their 3:27.75 season’s best for third place was enough to qualify for the final by time.
Bahamas (3:32.91) and Trinidad and Tobago (3:33.50) finished way back and this time Amantle Montsho, anchoring the Botswanan team, could not do anything to help her country clocking 3:38.96 for sixth place in this heat.
In the third heat Russia led from the start with the only exception being during the second leg. Jamaica’s 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer, who was disqualified in her event here in the heats, took the lead for a while for Jamaica before Russia’s second leg runner Tatyana Firova passed her again to regain the lead before the second exchange.
On the third leg Natalya Antyukh for Russia was much stronger than the others making sure they won the heat even before the final leg. Kseniya Ryzhova finished first in a 3:23.51 season’s best for the fastest time in the heats with Jamaica, in second place for most of the race, a clear second to qualify easily in 3:25.25 anchored by Christine Day.
It then transpired, however, that Rosemarie Whyte had run out of her lane on the first leg, meaning that Jamaica – who have finished on the podium in this event at the past six editions of the World Championships – will not take part in the final.
Romania’s last leg runner Bianca Razor had a big impact in the race, passing Poland’s Justyna Swiety just metres before the finish line to clock 3:29.62 for a place in the final by time. Poland missed out in third place with 3:29.75 and Belarus was fifth (3:30.28) and Canada sixth (3:31.09).
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF