Blake back in form, leads Jamaica to 4×100 relay title
PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR
(Reuters) – Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake made it a perfect trip to the inaugural IAAF World Relays as he anchored Jamaica to a triumphant run in the 4×100 meters relay on Sunday.
A night after leading a Jamaican team to a world record in the 4×200 relay, Blake brought his countrymen home in 37.77 seconds to top Trinidad and Tobago in the final race of the two-day program.
“After our world and Olympic gold (in the 4×100), we wanted to confirm our number one position today,” said Blake, who missed the world championships and much of last season with a hamstring injury.
“It feels great getting into championship mode … I am back on track.”
The Jamaicans were missing world record holder Usain Bolt, who has yet to run this year, and key relay member Michael Frater, but veterans Nesta Carter and Nickel Ashmeade and young Julian Forte had Blake in position for another winning romp.
“We have to work on some of the exchanges, but overall it went well,” said Carter, who helped Jamaica win the world title last year.
Trinidad and Tobago were a well-beaten second in 38.04 with Britain third in 38.19.
Kenya’s men delivered the day’s only world record, shattering the global mark in the infrequently run 4×1500 relay.
With double world champion Asbel Kiprop on anchor, the men clocked 14:22.22 to erase a previous Kenyan team’s 2009 record of 14:36.23.
Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat and James Magut gave Kenya a comfortable lead and Kiprop anchored the final 1,500 meters to earn the Africans $100,000, including $50,000 for the win and another $50,000 for the record.
The Kenyan women were just as convincing on Saturday in taking down the women’s world record in the event.
The U.S. women had a perfect Sunday, grabbing all three of the relays they contested.
Strong performances by Sanya Richards-Ross and Natasha Hastings helped power the Americans to victory in the 4×400 in 3:21.73 ahead of second-placed Jamaica.
The American women also collected wins in the 4×800 (8:01.58) and 4×200 (1:29.45), topping Kenya in the longer relay and Britain in the sprint.
Jamaica could only finish third in the 4×200 even with Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on anchor.
The Americans also won the men’s 4×400 meters relay with world champion LaShawn Merritt grabbing the lead in the final 20 meters as the U.S. edged host Bahamas in 2:57.25.
But disaster struck in the men’s 4×100 as the U.S. team were disqualified after a poor exchange in the rounds.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Nassau, Bahamas; Editing by Ian Ransom)