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Jamaica, Kenya Land World Records at World Relays
- Updated: 05/24/2014
NASSAU, Bahamas – Jamaica came here to the first World Relays to make a statement, even without their megastar Usain Bolt who is yet to open his season. And that they did so Saturday as the male quartet of Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir, Jermaine Brown and Yohan Blake – in that order – stormed to a new world record in 1min, 18.63secs to erase the previous mark of 1:18:68 set by an all-American Santa Monica Track Club team that included Carl Lewis 20 years ago in 1994. Blake was clocked at an unofficial 19secs-flat on anchor without being pressed.
Jamaica now owns both the men’s 4x100m and 4x200m world records.
The challenge promised by the US team did not materialize as the second exchange by between USA’s Moscow 2013 200m bronze medalist Curtis Mitchell and Ameer Webb, occurred outside the zone. Even then, they continued to chase St. Kitts and Nevis while Jamaica motored away like a run-away train to the line. The US ran home in third but was disqualified for their illegal exchange. France, with Christophe Lematire on lead-off, was promoted to bronze.
On their way to the final, Jamaica won their heat easily in 1:20.14, running Rasheed Dwyer, Brown, Jason Livermore and Weir. France was second (1:21.45) and St. Kitts and Nevis (1:21.97) got third.
But the Caribbean island was not the only team that came to lay down their mark; Kenya’s women came with world record on their minds. The team of Mercy Cherono, Faith Kipyegon, Irene Jelagat and Hellen Obiri was in a no-nonsense mood and demolished the old mark by more than half-a-minute to win in16:33.58. The former record of 17:05.72 was set by another Kenyan team in their capital city Nairobi in April.
Both Jamaica and Kenya picked up US$50,000 each for winning and an additional US$50,000 each for setting world records.
In the final event of the first day of competition, the Jamaican women (running without their sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) played second fiddle to the USA in the 4x100m. Despite the usual good start by Carrie Russell, a less-than-polished pass at the second zone and a horrible final exchange put Jamaica at a disadvantage from which they could not recover. Schillonie Calvert, who looked sharper in the heats, and Samantha Henry-Robinson just could not connect quickly enough while the US anchor LaKeisha Lawson high-tailed it down the homestretch, stopping the clock at 41.88secs. Tianna Bartoletta, Alexandria Anderson and Jeneba Tarmoh completed that quartet.
Jamaica, however, managed a season best (SB) of 42.28 in second place.
The competition continues Sunday, the second and final day, and Bahamian fans can hardly wait to see their London 2012 squad of Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller, Chris Brown and Michael Mathieu return in the men’s 4x400m final. The team sent the stadium into euphoria when veteran Brown opened the lead on the third leg and sent Mathieu racing to 3:30.30 in heat 3 ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio and Jereem Solomon (3:01.06 SB). Results