BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA AND IAAF
Kenya’s quest for world relays championship medals started on the wrong foot on Saturday in Nassau, Bahamas.
Kenya’s 4x800m quartet was disqualified after the baton exchange between Nicholas Kipkoech and Olympic bronze medallist, Timothy Kitum was done outside the changeover zone.
World youth champion Alfred Kipketer had led America’s Duane Solomon but with just under 200m to go on the second leg, Erik Sowinski also of the USA cruised past the inexperienced Kipkoech to give the Americans a lead they never relinquished.
Sowinski handed the baton to Casimir Loxsom 20m ahead of the Kenyans and despite the presence of London 2012 bronze winner Kitum on the third leg, last year’s winners could barely make an indent on the lead.
Robby Andrews stretched the US lead to 25 meters over the first 400m of the final leg before Kenya’s Jeremiah Mutai closed the gap on the Americans on the back straight.
However, Mutai had been too audacious. While Andrews was clearly tiring down the final 100m, looking up at the stadium screen to gauge his effort more assiduously, he pulled away to round off the US victory in 7:04:84..
The flagging Mutai was almost caught by Poland’s fast-finishing 2014 European 800m champion Adam Kszczot.
After finishing just a few metres behind Kenya who finished in second place , Poland were elevated to second in 7:09:98, following Kenya’s disqualification. A distant and isolated fourth placed Australia found themselves hauled to an unexpected podium spot.They tfinished in 7:16.30. Mexico were the only other finishers in fourth place with 7:22.61.
Kenya men’s 4x 400m relay team were knocked out in the heats after finishing fifth in 3:05.96 in the second heat won by USA in 3:02:81.
Kenya were seeking a turn of fortunes yesterday in the women’s 4x800m with Annet Mwanzia, Sheila Chepsang, Eglay Nalianya,and Sylvia Chege.
in the 4×100 meter relay final USA stunned Jamaica to win gold. The US quartet of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey did what so many of their predecessors have failed to do in this event in recent years. They got the baton round cleanly, and that gave them the opportunity to inflict a morale-boosting defeat on the favoured Jamaicans, the Americans winning in 37:38.
It was the equal-seventh fastest performance in history and a time only other US and Jamaican teams have ever beaten.
Jamaica were left trailing in the wake of the US runners from midway down the back straight. The 2014 world relays winners were left to settle for second on this occasion in 37.68, also inside the previous competition record.
He remains a polarising figure in the sport but Justin Gatlin has to be given credit for delivering the win with a blistering second leg, pulling away from Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole almost immediately after the first exchange and then putting a huge margin between himself and the rest of the field.
Tyson Gay consolidated the US lead around the bend and handed over several metres in front to Ryan Bailey.
Almost unnoticed, Japan showed off their slick baton passing skills, after being given a great start by their lead-off runner Kazuma Oseto, and came through for a slightly unexpected bronze medal in 38.20.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke