Beijing Stories: Some thoughts on the sprint relays, by Stuart Weir


565940809_CP_9301_431F1A84DE1106D64DCBD461A148B5B3.JPGUS and Jamaican teams, after the 4x100m relay, photo by Getty Images for IAAF

The relays are fun.

The relays are infuriating.

Tonight, as I was heading for a water and a coffee, I met Dina Asher-Smith, the new young British sprinter who has the British NRs at 100m (10.99) and 200 meters (NR of 22.07). She broke Kathy Cooks' British record for 200 meters from 1984 in the final. "The race was fast, and I was not sure I was doing well, as I saw the girls in front of me." Dina has captured the hearts of the British media as have her relay team mates, who have broken NR three times, this 4x100m in placing fourth!

Oh, and Dina knows RunBlogRun--"it is that yellow blog, right?"

Stuart Weir wrote this piece. I am quite excited to have Stuart writing for us. He has a wry sense of humor and he enjoys the sport as well.

This is his final column for the World Champs.

He will be joining our team for Zurich (Alex Mills and Cathal Dennehy at Zurich and Brussells, I am off to the former colonies, aka U.S.A.).

The sprint relays did not disappoint! The 4 by 100 relays were the now normal battle between USA and Jamaica - with Jamaica triumphing in both. There is a lovely photo of the American and Jamaican women embracing after the race. The men's race was a bit different with some people seeing it as the "clean" Jamaicans against an American team tainted by drugs bans. In the event, America finished second only to be disqualified while GB who were in third place messed up a baton change and failed to finish. The home crowd did not mind at all as China now finished second.

Two of the GB women's team - Asha Philip and Jodie Williams - described their performance as bittersweet. The country that failed to qualify for the 2012 home Olympics have now found a squad which has broken the British national record three times - including last night. Fourth Place despite the national record, seven hundredths of a second behind Trinidad and Tobago, was indeed a bittersweet experience. Then I suppose bittersweet is better than bitter-bitter which the GB men experienced by not finishing.

The initial list of athletes running in the final had six British women. Perhaps Britain's failure to get a medal may have been due to the IAAF only allowing them to have four runners, when they thought it was 6-a-side. On second thoughts that would have been five chances to drop the baton.

I have to confess that I behaved badly at the women's sprint relay press conference.

Initially only three of the Jamaicans turned up - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson were wearing flowers in their hair accompanied by a flowerless Veronica Campbell-Brown. I could not resist asking - to be fair, I did not try too hard to resist: "When Veronica went to collect her kit, had they run out of flowers?" Shelly was in hysterics and the Americans were laughing. Veronica, looking mystified asked: "Is that a question or a joke?" . When Shelly had regained her composure she said "When she came the garden was empty".

More laughter.

A great moment.

I would also like to mark what I hope is not the end of an era. Kerron Stewart collected her fifth consecutive world championship relay medal - for the first time in 8 years she was not selected for the final. What a great career she has had and let's hope we have not seen the last of her in a final.

For those who like to study names. The Jamaicans, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown had three double barrels to Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Michelle-Lee Ahye. And I suppose USA's win over Canada could be seen as English Gardner cutting down Kimberley Hyacinthe.

Yes I do like the relays!

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