200m gold medallist here in Grosseto, Shalonda Solomon anchored the American 4x100m team to gold as she ran a superb final leg overtaking Schillonie Calvert of Jamaica and Nelly Banco of France who had both been handed the baton before the American.
16 year old Calvert managed to hold on to silver in 43.63 while Banco crossed the finish line in 43.68 for a new French junior record.
Trinidad and Tobago who had looked impressive in the semi-finals also set a national junior record of 44.14 but had to be content with fourth place.
It had all started according to plan for team USA as individual 100m champion Ashley Owens took a blistering start and handed the baton in the lead ahead of Jamaica, running in lane 8, as the team only just made it to the final following Kimberly Smith’s injury in the semi-finals.
But the US baton exchanges were far from perfect and with 200m bronze medallist Anneisha McLaughlin and Aurélie Kamga for France running impressive legs in the second bend it was Jamaica trailed by France and USA as the athletes entered the final straight.
Solomon’s natural speed made the difference and the Pan American junior champion cruised to the finish line almost two tenths of a second faster than Calvert who out-dipped Banco by just 5 hundredths of a second.
It was revenge time for Solomon who ran the third leg for Team USA in Kingston, Jamaica two years ago when the American team was defeated by the local Jamaican team by 22 hundredths of a second.