In less than 20 minutes USA relay teams set two World Junior records here in Grosseto. Following the men’s 4x100m win in a massive 38.66, the women’s 4x400m quartet of Alexandria Anderson, Ashlee Kidd, Stephanie Smith and Natasha Hastings improved Germany’s 16-year-old World junior best to 3:27.60.
Anderson opened with a suicidal 200 metres and struggled to hand the baton to individual 400m bronze medallist Kidd falling to the floor after the changeover. Jamaica and Russia were still in contact but Kidd soon opened a gap which would grow metre by metre.
By the time 2001 World Youth 400m champion Smith was handed the baton, team USA had a good ten metres lead over Maris Wisdom of Jamaica who had run a superb second leg.
With reigning World Youth and World Junior champion Hastings taking the baton with over 15 metres to spare the question was would she cross the finish line in a new World junior record time?
And following a tireless effort from Hastings the answer was yes; she saved 79 hundredths of a second off the previous standard thus erasing Grit Breuer’s name from the World list.
Behind Hastings, 400m silver medallist Sonita Sutherland and 400m Hurdles champion Ekaterina Kostetskaya were battling for silver and it was the Russian’s finishing sprint in the last 20 metres which made the difference.
Russia set a new national junior record of 3:30.03 in second while Jamaica had to be content with bronze in 3:30.37.