Blake anchors Jamaica to world record
Two blistering world records in front of a raucous crowd gave the International Asociation of Athletics Federations' inaugural World Relays a fantastic launching pad in a sultry Nassau yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The almost sell-out crowd at the floodlit 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, buoyed by a military brass band and high-stepping carnival dancers, lent massively to an amazing atmosphere so often found lacking at major meets.
There might have been no Usain Bolt, nursing an injury and not due back in action until next month, but training partner Yohan Blake, back after missing last season with a troublesome hamstring, stepped into his shoes with aplomb.
Snatching the baton from Jermaine Brown as anchor leg, the world's second-fastest man made the most of a rolling start to accelerate around the bend and then absolutely fly down the home stretch.
The Jamaicans clocked 1min 18.63sec to beat the previous 4x200m best, set by the United States in 1994, by 0.05sec.
"We all executed what the coach told us to do, and we knew that the world record could happen," said Blake.
Weir added: "We were expecting to run a fast time."
St Kitts and Nevis took silver in 1:20.51, with France claiming bronze in a European record of 1:20.66 after the US team were disqualified.
The Jamaicans' exploits followed fast on an incredible show of power running by a Hellen Obiri-led Kenyan quartet in the women's 4x1,500m.
A deceptively slow pace over the opening lap was swiftly put aside as the Kenyans took more than 32 seconds off their previous world record, set in Nairobi last month.
The Kenyans clocked 16min 33.58sec for gold, the silver medal-winning US team timing 16:55.33 for a new American record while Australia took bronze in 17:08.65, a record for Oceania.
The first gold of the night went to Kenya in an unexpectedly dramatic finish in sultry conditions with temperatures hitting 30 degrees Celsius.
Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, Sammy Kibet Kirongo, Job Koech Kinyor and Alfred Kipketer covered eight laps of the blue track in 7:08.40 in a gun-to-ribbon victory in the 4x800m.
The fourth and final title went the way of the US in the women's 4x100m relay, Lakeisha Lawson powering them home in 41.88sec after their Jamaican rivals fluffed their anchor-leg handover. - AFP.