A RELAY WITH NO complications is always a relief for U.S. fans, and the men’s 4×4 delivered just that with a dominating United States win in a world-leading 2:57.31, the twelfth time the Americans have won WC gold in the long relay.
In the previous day’s heats, the U.S. had won the first race in 2:58.47, pulling comfortably away from India (2:59.05 NR) and Great Britain (2:59.42) only on the final leg. 400 hurdler Trevor Bassitt led off at 45.45, followed by Matthew Boling (44.16), Christopher Bailey (44.34) and Justin Robinson (44.52).
In heat 2, Jamaica, runner-up the last two Worlds, ran 2:59.82 and France (3:00.05) and Italy (3:00.14) got the remaining auto qualifying spots. The time qualifiers went to Botswana in heat I (2:59.42) and Netherlands in II (3:00.23).
For the final, the United States replaced three-quarters of its team, the coaches clearly not wanting to take any chances.
Leg 1: Quincy Hall, bronze medalist in the open 400, led off from lane 8 and nearly made up the stagger on Britain in lane 9 by the halfway mark. Hall clocked an impressive 44.78 to stay well ahead of India’s Y. Muhammed Anas and French hurdler Ludvy Vaillant.
Leg 2: Veteran Vernon Norwood, 4th in the 400, lengthened the margin with a splendid 43.77 carry. Jamaica and France battled for the second spot on the backstretch, with Britain slipping into 4th. That all changed on the straight when Britain’s Charles Dobson charged past to bring his team into 2nd before the exchange. Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe passed Jamaica and France but at the last second crossed in front of Jamaica, which led to a near-crash at the exchange and the African team’s disqualification.
Leg 3: Justin Robinson, already a gold medalist on the mixed relay, escaped the confusion at the exchange and got off to a great start; he ran a 44.75 to keep the U.S. in the comfort zone. Behind him, the race for medals became more clearly a Britain–France struggle. Jamaica, impeded at the exchange, saw Zandrion Barnes fight to get back into the podium battle.
Anchor: Rai Benjamin, bronze in the 400H in a race he wasn’t happy with, exorcized his frustrations with a brilliant 44.01 that wrapped up the gold-winning 2:57.31.
France’s Teo Andant had enough of a gap to nail down the silver in a national record 2:58.45, and British anchor Rio Mitcham outran…