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Mixed fortunes for USA and France in 4x400m heats at WRE Bahamas 24 | News | Bahamas 24 | World Athletics Relays

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Up until the final discipline on day one at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24, it seemed as though sprints powerhouse USA and Paris 2024 Games hosts France would secure Olympic qualification in all five disciplines. But it all came crashing down for both teams in the men’s 4x400m.

USA was disqualified from the first heat for moving out of the assigned order at one of the changeovers, while France’s second-leg runner Thomas Jordier – who had contested the mixed relay earlier in the day – suffered an injury in the fourth and final heat. Both teams will get a second chance in the Olympic qualification round two on Sunday, but they would have preferred to have got the job done today.

 

Botswana – bolstered by a stunning 43.49 split from world 100m silver medallist Letsile Tebogo on leg two – produced the fastest clocking of the day in the men’s 4x400m heats, prevailing by 0.03 in a close battle with South Africa, 2:59.73 to 2:59.76.

Tebogo had put Botswana into the lead, then world record-holder Wayde van Niekerk regained pole position for South Africa on leg three. But Bayapo Ndori produced a 43.95 anchor for Botswana to give them victory in one of the closest finishes of the evening.

Botswana wins their 4x400m heat at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24

Botswana wins their 4x400m heat at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24 (© Francesca Grana)

World indoor champions Belgium also impressed. Anchored by world indoor 400m champion Alexander Doom, the Belgian quartet won their heat convincingly in 3:00.09 with Nigeria a distant second in 3:01.70.

In the first of the four heats, USA lived up to expectations by crossing the line in first place. But it later emerged that one of the US quartet had intentionally moved out of the set order for one of the changeovers, landing the team with a disqualification.

It meant that Japan, who had initially crossed the line in second place, were declared winners in 3:00.98 from Germany (3:01.25).

The third heat was the slowest but most competitive with five teams still in contention as they approached the final 100 metres of the last leg.

Italy’s Davide Re eventually pulled ahead to win in 3:01.68, while Britain’s Lewis Davey found space on the inside to move past Qatar and the Netherlands, claiming the runner-up spot in 3:02.10.

The 23 teams who missed out on Olympic qualification today will have another chance on Sunday of ensuring their place in Paris. The top six teams in the Olympic qualification round two will join the eight automatic qualifiers from Saturday.

 

USA dominate in record-breaking mixed 4x400m round

Just three minutes and 12.16 seconds after the gun had fired for the first event at the World Relays, a championship record had been broken.

The Dutch quartet – featuring Femke Bol and Lieke Klaver, world champions in the women’s 4x400m indoors and out – took more than two seconds off the championship record that had stood for seven years.

World indoor silver medallist Klaver moved the team from fourth to second with her 49.57 split on leg two. But the Netherlands still trailed The Bahamas, with Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo running a 49.70 split to give the host nation a lead of 0.78 at the half-way point.

Olympic champion Steven Gardiner then doubled The Bahamas’ lead on leg three, but the Netherlands still had Bol to come on the anchor leg, while The Bahamas had had to draft in teenager Shania Adderley after Anthonique Strachan had experienced shin pains in warm-up.

Adderley acquitted herself well and held the lead until about half-way through her leg before Bol breezed past. The world 400m hurdles champion ran a 49.54 anchor to finish in 3:12.16.

World 400m champion Marileidy Paulino produced a stunning 48.93 split to take the Dominican Republic from fifth to second and into an Olympic qualifying spot.

Just 11 minutes later, the championship record was smashed again, this time by world champions USA. Matthew Boling, Lynna Irby-Jackson, Ryan Willie and Kendall Ellis teamed up to win in 3:11.52, finishing more than two seconds ahead of Nigeria (3:13.79).

The championship record survived for the remaining two heats, but Ireland was rewarded with a national record of 3:12.50 with their surprise win in heat three.

Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley provided the star power, clocking splits of 49.64 and 50.13 on legs two and four respectively. They held off a strong challenge from Belgium, who took second place in 3:13.18 ahead of world silver medallists Great Britain (3:13.52).

In heat four, meanwhile, Olympic champions Poland showed renewed form to win in 3:13.53, helped by a 49.84 anchor leg from world silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek. Olympic hosts France claimed the runner-up spot and a place at their home Games in 3:14.71.

While the likes of The Bahamas, Great Britain and Jamaica missed out on an automatic Olympic qualifying place today, they’ll have a chance of claiming one of the six remaining places on Sunday.

 

Double duty sees Ireland take top qualifying spot in women’s 4x400m

Less than two hours after setting a national record to win their heat and qualify for the Olympics in the mixed 4x400m, Ireland did exactly the same thing in the women’s 4x400m – thanks, again, to the efforts of Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley.

Running the same legs that they did in the mixed event, Rhasidat went even quicker with a 49.48 clocking, while Mawdsley produced a 50.98 split to hold off the challenge of Britain’s Lina Nielsen. Ireland crossed the line in a national record of 3:24.38 while Great Britain finished second in 3:24.89.

Ireland wins their heat in the women's 4x400m at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24

Ireland wins their heat in the women’s 4x400m at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24 (© Francesca Grana)

World silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek was another athlete on double duty. She anchored the Polish team to victory in the third heat in 3:27.11, while an inspired French team claimed the second Olympic qualifying spot in 3:28.06 ahead of Jamaica (3:29.03).

Olympic champions USA ensured they’ll be in Paris to defend their title, taking the fourth and final heat in 3:24.76 to finish more than two seconds ahead of their nearest opponents. Norway’s Henriette Jaeger ran a 49.94 split to cross the line in second place in a national record of 3:26.89, finishing 0.3 ahead of the more favoured Belgian quartet.

In the first of four heats, Italy pulled off a surprise victory over Canada. A 50.56 split from Alice Mangione gave the Italians the lead, finishing in 3:26.28 to Canada’s 3:27.17. World champions Netherlands – with a team that did not feature Femke Bol or Lieke Klaver – placed third in 3:28.10.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics

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