Here’s Stuart Weir’s column on the relays, the 4x100m and 4x400m, and of course, both, had some good news and bad news for both GBR and USA. It was a strange end to the meeting.
A tale of two relays
There can be no worse feeling in track, than to be a relay runner deprived of your chance to run! It happened twice on day 2 of the Athletics World Cup. Day 1 had ended with two exciting relays. Day 2 promised as much. The women’s 4 by 100 was first. There was the contest between Jamaica and USA, who have dominated women’s sprinting in recent years – Jamaica with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce running her first relay since Rio. Then there were the hosts, Great Britain medallists in Rio and London 2017.
Only 50 metres into the race, Mikiah Brisco pulled up injured. Leaving her three team mates Dez Bryant, Aaliyah Brown and Ashley Henderson all dressed up with nowhere to go.
The winners were Great Britain in 42.52 with Jamaica (42.60) second and China third in 42.94
What was particularly encouraging was that the GB team included only one of the “first team” – Asha Philip – but the less experienced girls did the business. Philip on lead off leg said: “I knew what I needed to do on the first leg to make sure I put the team in the best position for the rest of the duration”.
Imani Lansiquot on second leg said: “This is actually my first senior experience so I felt the pressure but it was positive pressure and I just wanted to run the best that I could and make sure the team did the best it possibly could as well”. Then it was the turn of the experienced Bianca Williams who left 21 year old Shannon Hylton to bring the team home. An excited Hylton said afterwards: “I have never been on the finishing leg before so I was kind of nervous but as a team we did well at the beginning and the middle so that gave me extra motivation”.
The victory thrilled the home crowd and showed that even without Dina Asher-Smith etc, Britain is still a force to be reckoned with in women’s sprint relays. The British euphoria evaporated when it was announced that the GB team would not have a team in the men’s 4 by 400 relay as Cameron Chambers had injured himself in warm-up and there was no replacement available. There was even the ludicrous talk that GB would run with three athletes, one doing two laps. The question of why there was no reserve available, particularly with athletes not in the relay team having run the 400m and 400m hurdles earlier that evening is for another time and another place.
USA won in 2:59.78, fully three seconds ahead of Poland, Paul Dedewo, who had earlier run a PR to win the individual 400, paid tribute to his young team-mates: “The guys did their thing, they are all in college so this is the future right here. It was a pleasure to run with them. The USA medical staff did an amazing job in me with the quick turn around from the 400m to the 4 x 400”.