Daegu, KoreaThe Russians must be wondering what they have to do to win. After setting the fastest time in the world in qualifying for this final, they bettered it to bring the baton home in 3:19.36. And won the bronze.
Ahead of them, the expected battle was being fought out between the United States and Jamaica, respective gold and silver medallists in Berlin two years ago. And it was the United States who won their fourth consecutive gold in this event as Francena McCorory, the baton waving in her hand in her effort, held enough of the seven metres lead she had taken over to cross the line in 3:18.09, with Jamaica’s Shericka Williams, who had narrowed the gap to about a couple of metres, crossing in 3:18.71 – a national record.
No wonder Allyson Felix looked delighted. A gold at last after the relative disappointments of silver and bronze in the 400 and 200m respectively.
After the Berlin 2009 individual champion Sanya Richards-Ross had put the United States in a dominant position by the first changeover, Felix took the baton and attempted to build on the obvious policy of trying to get a huge lead for Jessica Beard and McCorory to defend as the Russians and Jamaicans put in their strongest runners at the other end of the race.
The Russian’s last to go was individual bronze medallist Anastasiya Kapachinskaya, while Jamaica had their two individual finalists, eighth-placed Novlene Williams-Mills and sixth-placed Shericka Williams, on the last two legs.
As the runners took off on the third leg, the US plan was working, as they held a 10 metres lead from Jamaica, who had a similar advantage over Jamaica.
A further 10 metres behind them, Britain’s former World champion Christine Ohuruogu was challenging the Ukraine’s Hannah Yaroshchuk for fourth place, with some success.
As McCorory took the baton from Beard and set off to maintain the American’s long winning run, Williams was in headlong pursuit. But though the Jamaican gained, she could not gain enough to alter the result as she finished ahead of Kapachinskaya.
Lee McConnell brought the British quartet home in fourth place in 3:23.63, with Ukraine eventually taking fifth place in a season’s best of 3:23.86.
Britain had shaken up their strategy as their anchor leg for the heats, Perri Shakes-Drayton, was shifted to the first leg here, and Ohuruogu, who had got out of the blocks in the heats, ran the third leg. It produced a highly respectable performance, but they were never in with a shout of a medal.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF
- (L-R) Allyson Felix, Jessica Beard, Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory of the USA celebrate victory in the women's 4x400 metre relay final (Getty Images) © Copyright
- (L-R) Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory, Sanya Richards-Ross and Jessica Beard of the USA celebrate victory in the women's 4x400 metre relay final (Getty Images - Bongarts) © Copyright