Daegu, KoreaTrinidad and Tobago beat a Bolt-less Jamaica, the USA ran the fastest time in the world this year.
That was the heats of the men’s 4x100 metres relay on the final night of competition in Daegu. Who would come out on top in the final was the question to be answered later in the night.
With three heats and only the first two in each to advance to the final along with the next two fastest, the racing was fierce and the penalty for a bad mistake usually elimination.
The USA - Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Maurice Mitchell and Travis Padgett – won the first heat in 37.79, reducing the World lead from the 37.90 a US team ran in Italy in July.
After a series of relay mishaps in recent championships, the US got the baton around smoothly enough.
Not so second-placed France, 38.38, for whom lead-off runner Teddy Tinmar almost overran second leg runner Christophe Lemaitre, and the final exchange between Yannick Lesourd and surprise individual 100 finalist Jimmy Vicault was botched.
Brazil crossed the line third in 38.48, but not without drama as third leg runner Nilson Andre crashed to the track after completing the change to anchor leg runner Yazalde Nascimento. It was all for nothing, however, as Brazil was disqualified, elevating Japan (38.66) to third place.
Usain Bolt, who won the 200 metres on Saturday night, was rested from the heat, but he was in the call-room with his team-mates before the race. In his absence, Dexter Lee ran the final leg.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson was too strong for Lee on the final leg, taking his team to a win in 37.91 to Jamaica’s 38.07.
St Kitts and Nevis were third in a national record 38.47, which advanced them to the final for the first time ever. Kim Collins, 2003 World champion at 100 metres and a bronze medallist here, ran the second leg.
Heat three was the slowest, with Harry Aikines-Aryeetey bringing Great Britain & Northern Ireland home in first place in 38.29, just ahead of Poland, 38.37.
Italy took third in 38.41, and with it the last place in the final.
Japan, fourth in heat two in 38.66, and Australia, fourth in heat three in 38.69, rounded out the top 10 teams, but there was a clear gap to the top eight.
Len Johnson for the IAAF