22 AUG 2009 Report

Event Report - Women's 4x100m Relay - Final

After the USA exited the competition following their failure to complete their heat earlier tonight, the path was clear for Jamaica to cruise to their first World Championship gold medal in this event since 1991.

Whether the USA would ever have touched the Jamaican quartet - which included the 100m gold and silver 100m medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser and Kerron Stewart - is a moot point.

But unquestionably the pressure would have lifted following the USA's elimination from the heats earlier this evening after Muna Lee struggled to get hold of the baton from Alexandria Anderson and then abruptly pulled up clutching her hamstring.

In similar circumstances in the Olympic final last year, the USA had again exited the heats due to a baton mishap,  the Jamaicans made their own exchange blunder in the final but on this occasion they were not to make the same mistake.

The quartet of Simone Facey, Fraser, Aleen Bailey and Stewart managed three solid baton exchanges to take gold in 42.06 - albeit in a time 0.18 slower than they achieved in the heats earlier tonight.

The Bahamas took the silver medal in a season's best of 42.29, boasting a team which included the evergreen Chandra Sturrup and Debbie-Ferguson McKenzie - members of their country's gold medal-winning 4x100m team back in the 1999 edition of these championships in Seville.

To the delight of the home fans Germany excelled to take the bronze medal in a season's best 42.87 from the Olympic champions Russia (43.00).

Germany once again proved the old relay adage that teamwork and slick baton exchanges not to mention vociferous home support can provide the recipe for success, particularly as the host nation have not one woman in the top 30 of the 100m World Lists.

Facey, the lead-off runner for Jamaica, gave the favourites a slight advantage from Sheniqua Ferguson of the Bahamas on the first leg with the Russians led by Evgeniya Polyakova also prominent.

A storming second leg from Fraser, the World and Olympic 100m champion, put Jamaica firmly in control and the favourites extended that advantage on leg three thanks to Bailey.

Stewart took the baton two metres clear of the 2001 World 200m champion Ferguson-Mckenzie on the anchor leg with Germany moving up into bronze from Russia in the outside lane.

Down the home stretch Stewart was simply unstoppable as she powered across the line to deliver the gold medal.

A delighted Ferguson-McKenzie safely brought the Bahamas home in second spot but the loudest cheers were reserved for Germany who secured bronze, although anchor leg runner Verena Sailer rather embarrassingly lost her footing as she crossed the line and crashed to the track.

Russia had to settled for fourth with Brazil fifth in 43.13. Great Britain placed sixth in a season's best 43.16 with Trinidad and Tobago (43.43) and Colombia (43.71) occupying the final two positions. 

Steve Landells for the IAAF

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