The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
With a quartet composed of individual bronze medallist Erika Rucker in leg 1, 200m silver medallist Olivia Ekpone in leg 2, Kendall Baisden and anchor leg Ashley Spencer who dominated the 400m individual final, there was hardly ever a doubt the United States 4x400m relay team would fail to win what turned out to be the country’s fifth consecutive title in the history of the Championships.
Yet their path to the final was nothing but fuild.
After winning their first round heat yesterday evening, the US were disqualified along with a team of Romania for passing the baton outside the exchange zone. However, following a protest which was accepted by the judges, both teams were offered a re-run of their heat with qualification granted on condition that they would at least match the time of the eighth best team from the earlier round.
As Romania did not take up the offer, the US quartet found itself having to re-run their heat earlier this morning on their own.
Not only did the Americans qualify for the final, they ironically set a World Junior leading 3:34.25, and that was without individual gold medallist Spencer!
As expected the Americans led tonight's final from the gun, won the race unchallenged and clocked yet another World Junior leading 3:30.01 to clinch the country’s eighth gold of these championships – before their male counterparts won the ninth.
Anchored by 400m Hurdles champion Janieve Russell, Jamaica clinched silver in 3:32.97 well clear of Russia in third at 3:36.42, anchor leg Ekaterina Renzhina taking most of the credit for the medal.
In fact, Russia never featured among a potential medallist until 200 metres to go after third place position kept swapping from Poland, Ukraine and Germany.
After an amazing second leg run by Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz, Poland held second position only to fade to seventh at the finish. The Ukraine’s made a quick appearance in third position with one lap to go but would eventually end up fourth in 3:37.02 just ahead of Germany in 3:37.23 both teams being overtaken by the fast finishing Renzhina on the line.