05 MAR 2008 General News

Men's 4x400m Relay - First Round

No major surprises transpired as the men’s 4x400m Relay got underway at the Palau Lluis Puig this morning.

The first of two heats featured an entertaining scrap between the U.S. and Russian quartets. Though they trailed throughout, Team Russia – Denis Alekseyev, Vladislav Frolov, Ivan Buzolin, and Anton Kokorin – was never more than a couple strides behind. But any surge for the lead was handily fought back by the Americans. The U.S squad of James Davis, Kellie Willie, Joel Stallworth and Jamaal Torrance won in 3:08.07, .10 seconds ahead of the Russians, to secure the two automatic spots.

The British quartet shadowed the leading teams throughout, with anchor Robert Tobin closing quickly to nearly take second, but falling just a bit short to finish third in 3:08.21, but they advanced easily on time.

The second heat was marginally slower, but much closer, with the Dominican quartet, anchored by the inspired run by Yoel Tapia who produced the morning's fastest split (46.46), nabbing a narrow surprise victory in 3:09.77 over Poland by a scant 0.04 seconds.

Veteran Michael Blackwood gave Jamaica the lead after the first leg, with the Australians, Poland, Dominican Republic and Spain following. Pole Piotr Klimczak took command of the race with 100m remaining in the second leg, a lead the squad wouldn’t relinquish until the final mad dash to the line. The Australians were running well until a botched exchange between Joel Milburn and Mark Ormrod, legs two and three, knocked them out of contention.

The race wasn’t decided until the furious dash for the finish, with Tapia stealing the victory from the Poles. Polish anchor Wojciech Chybinski held on for second to take the second automatic qualifying spot, with Adrian Findlay salvaging Jamaican hopes by finishing third in an identical time of 3:09.81.

The Spaniards just missed moving on, their 3:09.93 the fastest non-qualifier.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF