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Event Report men's 4x400m Heats

The United States men's 4 x 400m relay squad qualified smoothly for the final tomorrow with the best time of the semi-finals. With the first two teams home due to qualify automatically, the US quartet of Calvin HARRISON, Mitch POTTER, Adam STEELE and Derrick BREW left nothing to chance, winning the first heat in 3:00.98 from a Bahamas line-up boasting former world champion Avard MONCUR.
 
The Bahamas recorded 3:01.33, benefiting from a fast final leg by Christopher BROWN, who saw off the challenge of Spain's Antonio REINA, and Australia's Mark ORMROD in the last 200m. Spain's 3:02.22, in third place, was still quick enough for them to qualify as one of the two fastest losers.
 
Jamaica look like being the USA's most likely challengers, after their foursome of Michael CAMPBELL, Brandon SIMPSON, Lanceford SPENCE and Davian CLARKE won heat two in a relaxed 3:01.37. After holding off the challenge of Canada, Botswana and Greece on the first three legs, it was Clarke who streaked away from the competition on the final lap.
 
Botswana's third leg runner Kagiso KILEGO effectively ended his team's chances of making the final when he stepped on the inside curb of the track and crashed onto his back in the home straight, leaving Greece, Japan and Canada to fight for the second qualifying spot. Kilego picked himself up and carried on but Botswana's chances had gone.
 
Greece's 400m hurdles silver medallist Periklis IAKOVAKIS finished fast in the final straight to beat Canada's Keston NELSON and Japan's Mitsuhiro SATO in a battle for the second automatic qualifying spot, claiming a hard-earned national record, 3:02.31, in the process.
 
There was another national record in the third heat, won by France in front of a deafening home crowd. Individual medallist Marc RAQUIL collected the baton in front, was passed briefly by South Africa's Paul GORRIES, but had saved enough for his famous finishing kick and came home to win comfortably in 3:01.79.
 
The battle for the all important second spot appeared to be between South Africa and Great Britain, but the 400m hurdles champion Felix SANCHEZ ran a blistering leg to bring his team from fourth to second and secure them a national record of 3:01.98. Britain finished third in 3:02.22, good enough to qualify for tomorrow's final.