22 AUG 2009 Report

Event Report - Men's 4x100m Relay - Final

The men's 4x100m winners (L-R) Usain Bolt, Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Steve Mullings of Jamaica in Berlin (Getty Images)The men's 4x100m winners (L-R) Usain Bolt, Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Steve Mullings of Jamaica in Berlin (Getty Images) © Copyright

Two out of three ain't bad!

When a man runs World sprint records of 9.58 and 19.19 in the space of a week, he can be forgiven for missing out on a third world record. After all, a time of 37.31 in the 4x100m Relay is nothing to be sniffed at - it's the second-fastest performance of all time! Another gold medal is always nice, too.

With three-quarters of the dream team from Beijing last year (the only change being Steve Mullings on first instead of Nesta Carter), it initially seemed as though the Jamaican speedsters had got off to a sluggish start. Drawn in lane seven, they did not seem to be gaining any distance in the first half of the race on Trinidad & Tobago drawn in the lane inside of Jamaica.

On reflection afterwards, however, it was more to do with the fact that Trinidad & Tobago were flying too!

It was only when the baton was handed from second-leg runner Michael Frater to Usain Bolt that Jamaica edged ahead. A smooth changeover to Asafa Powell gave them a lead that only grew bigger and bigger on the home straight as they stopped the clock in 37.31.

Olympic silver medallists Trinidad & Tobago, with a team that featured two 100m finalists, were a few metres behind with a time of 37.62. For Darrel Brown, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callander and Richard Thompson, it was an improvement of 0.38 seconds on the national record they set last year. It is also a performance that even sprint powerhouse USA has only bettered on seven occasions.

That tally could have been eight, had the USA been present in the final. After yesterday's heats, Great Britain lodged a protest over the US team's final changeover and it was discovered to have been faulty. It meant the defending champions were out, along with the chance of a mouth-watering three-way showdown between Jamaica, USA and Trinidad & Tobago.

The British team held on for bronze with a season's best of 38.02, using the same team they had in the heats - Simeon Williamson, Tyrone Edgar, Marlon Devonish and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

Japan - fielding a team of Masashi Eriguchi, Naoki Tsukahara, Shinji Takahira and Kenji Fujimitsu - were unable to match their bronze medal from last year's Olympics, but finished strongly to clock a season's best of 38.30.

Former Olympic champions Canada clocked their fastest performance in 11 years with a time of 38.39. Their team comprised Sam Effah, Seyi Smith, Jared Connaughton and Brian Barnett.

Italy's full-strength team which impressed in the previous round ran marginally slower than they did in yesterday's heats. Their 38.54 was good enough for sixth.

Brazil, fourth at the last two global championships, could not quite match their finish from Osaka and Beijing and had to settle for seventh in 38.56.

Former World champions France, meanwhile, did not fare so well and the impressive anchor-leg ability of Christophe Lemaitre was not enough to get them into the race. The team was eighth in 39.21.

With Jamaica now in possession of the two fastest performances of all-time, you can't help but wonder how long it will be before the USA regains their position as the leading sprint relay nation.

Maybe when Bolt retires.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF