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Germany won an exciting fourway battle for gold in the women’s 4x400m relay thanks to a stirring last leg by Grit Breuer who came from fourth place to push USA and Jamaica into silver and bronze positions. Germany recorded 3:20.92, the fastest time of the year.
USA, Russia and Germany all went off hard and were almost exactly together at the first change with Jamaica about a second behind. Russia’s Olga Kotlyarova was the first to break from her lane on the second leg and opened up a slight lead, running 49.8. Jamaica were brought back into contention by a 50.0 second leg by Lorraine Graham, although they were still fourth behind Germany and the USA.
Kim Batten ran 50.4 on the third leg but Russia’s Yekaterina Kulikova, running 50.5, held her off and handed over in the lead. A 49.5 leg by Deon Hemmings brought Jamaica close onto USA’s heels.
Germany were just adrift in fourth at the final change but Grit Breuer rapidly closed the gap and all four teams came into the home straight together. It looked as if Jearl Miles-Clark would take the gold as Russia’s Tatyana Alekseyeva faded. Jamaica’s Sandie Richards was also passing the Russian when Breuer stole through on the inside with a tremendous finishing burst. Her split time of 48.7 was the fastest of the race. Miles-Clark’s 49.2 was the second quickest split and Richards’ 49.4 the third.