This is Stuart Weir’s coverage of the 2019 IAAF Worl Relays, day 1, May 11, 2019. It is the 4th time that the Relays have been held. We look forward to Day 2, just hours away, with the finals. Thanks once again to Stuart, on juggling jet lag, and two weeks on the road, to cover Doha DL and the IAAF World Relays!
In the women’s 4 by 400 USA were 2 seconds faster than any other team with a WL time of 3:25.72. A good performance but to be fair, the plethora of Season’s Best performances and World Leads, reflect the early season as much as the time recorded. The only controversy here was that Ukraine won their heat in 3:27.71, only to be disqualified.
The women’s 4 by 100 heats resulted in wins were USA, Denmark and Germany. All the drama was in heat 2, where France seemed to be in the lead coming into the last changeover which saw the French girls drop the baton. World Championship Silver medallists, Great Britain, started well but a mix up in the second changeover ended their race. With Canada disqualified, only four of the seven teams made it legally to the finish.
Poland, Brazil and Canada won the three heats of mixed 4 by 400. While most teams opted for MWWM format, heat three saw Italy opt for MWMW and establish a significant lead after 3 laps over USA MWMW and Poland MWWM. While Italy were caught by Poland and USA, their strategy worked as they qualified as a fastest loser.
Inevitably USA was fastest in the men’s 4 by 400 with Je’Von Hutchinson bringing them home in 3:02.06 with, to the crowd’s delight, Wakabayashi taking Japan to victory in the second heat. Trinidad and Tobago, anchored by Machel Cedenio won the final heat to set up an intriguing final.
US and Italy won heats of the men’s 4 by 100 but GB’s victory in the third was a World Lead of 38.11, Adam Gemili suggested afterwards that there was a bit more to come, saying: “It was cold night and we just wanted to get through. We wanted to be sensible so we were pretty safe with the check marks, relying on foot speed. Now we can play around with it tomorrow”.
There was great sadness that the strong Japanese team were disqualified after Kiryu and Koike juggled with the baton without letting it hit the ground but sadly it was not a legal change.
While the heats were to determine who ran in the finals tomorrow, there was an extra dimension to the championship events with qualification for the World Championship going to up to 12 teams. Tomorrow will be all about winning.