This is one of my favorite columns. Stuart does this at most meets. Glad he found time to get this one done!
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Bahamas or Yokohama? Yokohama did well but I did missed the sea views from Bahamas.
Best juggling: Koike and Kiryu’s unusual baton passing technique. Watch it at https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/9052347/world-relay-champs-japan-juggles-baton-video/
WORLD Relays: Great to see Zimbabwe, Chile, Belarus, Papua New Guinea among the competing nations as well as the Athlete Refugee team.
Fittest athlete: Jonathan Sacoor of Belgium who was in the men’s and mixed 4×400 finals less than 20 minutes apart.
The crowd: A new record attendance of 20,134 and many athletes commented on the noise and atmosphere. But holding an event in a stadium which holds 70,000 was always going to cause challenges.
Best innovation: The mixed shuttle relay. Great skill and fun to watch.
Best flash quote – The finalists in the mixed shuttle relay: “Are you watching, Seb Coe? We want a shuttle relay in the World Championships and the Olympics”.
Understatement of the day: “We had a bit trouble with the baton changes.” Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Least imaginative: The most exciting race of the weekend was arguably heat three of the mixed 4 by 400 which saw Italy opt for MWMW and establish a significant lead after 3 laps over USA WMWM and Poland MWWM. As most teams opted for a MWWM format the races generally lacked the excitement, tactics and intrigue of that heat.
Lovely to see: Sally Pearson running for Australia, “I love relays and have been running them since I was 12 years old”.
Biggest disappointment: That the baton-juggling potential medallist Japanese men’s 4 by 100 team were DQed.
Poetry in motion: Lovely to see Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce flying round the track, sadly irrelevant because of inept Jamaican baton changes.
Time for a change: After 12 years, Martyn Rooney not on anchor for GB.
Egg on face award: The US Team official who was holding three flags at the finish of every race, assuming a US victory – there were considerably less than anticipated with Brazil winning the Men’s 4 by 100, Poland the women’s 4 by 400, Trinidad the men’s 4 by 400 and France the 4 by 200.
Diversity award: The Australia 4 by 100 squad included Sally Pearson (a hurdler) and Naa Anang (a long-jumper).
Names: No surprise that Australia should have an athlete called (Ellie) BEER. Or that Germany had a sprinter called (Rebekka) Haase – the German for hare.
I wonder if she does: Liefde Schoemaker (Germany women’s 4 by 400)
Hardest team for the commentators: Poland 4 by 400 women: Matgorzata Holub-Kowalik, Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz, Anna Lielbasinska and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic. And they won.