Not surprisingly, quartets from the U.S. and Great Britain were the quickest in the qualifying round of the men’s 4x400m Relay, but an equally important part of the equation for tomorrow’s final was the team that didn’t even make it to the starting line.
While their times were virtually identical en route to wins in their respective heats – 3:07.47 for the U.S. and 3:07.45 for Great Britain and Northern Ireland - the manner in which they took the victories were starkly different.
By the time Frankie Wright handed off to Jamaal Torrance in the first exchange of heat 1, the U.S. was already out to clear lead, with Spain holding on to a narrow edge over Venezuela for the second automatic qualifying spot.
By the third leg, the field began the string out, with Manteo Mitchell extending the lead for the U.S. with Spain well ahead of Venezuela for second.
The order didn’t change over the final leg, with Spanish anchor Xavier Carrion reaching the line in 3:10.51, and Venezuela a distant third in 3:11.11, a national record.
While they didn't move on, the Turkish quartet of Ali Ekber Kayas, Halit Kilic, Mehmet Guzel and Yavuz Can broke their national record in heat 1 clocking 3:11.28.
The second heat was considerably closer. Conrad Williams passed the baton to Luke Lennon-Ford with a metre-and-a-half lead after the first exchange, with both Trinidad & Tobago and Poland hot on their heels.
After an attempt for the lead down the penultimate backstraight was fended off, Reny Quow did eventually give the Caribbean nation the narrowest of leads after 800 metres. It didn’t last long with Michael Bingham retaking the lead on the third leg with Jereem Richards for Trinidad & Tobago holding his position in second.
But with about 50 metres to go in the leg, Grzegorz Sobinski made a big move for Poland to move into second while Semen Golubev moved Russia into third.
Then British anchor Richard Buck was given ample breathing room and held his position through the finish. Likewise Lukasz Krawczuk defended Poland’s runner-up position valiantly (3:07.99), while Jerrin Solomon passed Russian anchor Vladislav Frolov with just under 200 metres to go to give Trinidad third. Both Trinidad & Tobago (3:08.32) and Russia (3:08.43) advanced to the final as well.
It wasn’t immediately known why the Bahamas, whose members included individual medal favourites Demetrius Pinder and Chris Brown, scheduled to run in the first heat, did not start. Pinder was the fastest in yesterday’s semi-finals and Brown was the gold medallist in Doha two years ago.
JURY OF APPEAL DECISION
Event: 4x400m Men, Round 1, Heat 2
The Ukrainian Team lodged a protest after the after 4x400m Relay Men, Round 1, Heat 2, claiming that the second runner in the Polish Team had pushed the Ukrainian runner, and asking for the Polish Team – who finished second in the heat – to be disqualified. This would have allowed the Ukrainian team, who placed fifth in the heat, to advance to the Final
The Jury of Appeal met and rejected the protest.
The result stands.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF