media_artricles :: 2017
Relay teams qualify for World ChampionshipsTrinidad Guardian :: 24.04.2017
T&T's 4x400 metres men's team may not have picked up a medal at the IAAF/BTC World Relays in Bahamas but its solid performance earned them qualification to the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
On Sunday at Nassau's Thomas A Robinson Stadium, the quartet of Renny Quow, Jereem Richards, Jarrin Solomon and Lalonde Gordon clocked 3:03.17 to place fourth in the final but advanced by virtue of being one of the eight finalists.
The men's 4x400m final, in particular its final leg, produced a battle for the ages as LaShawn Merritt of the US fended off the charge of a brilliant Botswanan quartet, the USA taking victory in the end by just 0.15 in 3:02.13.
Since their defeat by The Bahamas at the 2012 Olympics, the US have been unstoppable in this event, thanks mainly to the calm, composed and classy anchor-leg ability of Merritt, who has made a habit of dispensing his energy with almost unmatched wisdom in that role.
The US led through the opening leg courtesy of a 45.28-second clocking from David Verburg, who handed over to Tony McQuay.
A 45.26-second leg from him gave them a narrow advantage over T&T, Jamaica and Botswana at the halfway point, but it was still all to play for.
On the third leg, Kyle Clemons went out hard for the USA – perhaps too hard – because as he reached the home straight he began to hit a wall, allowing Botswana and Jamaica to take close order entering the final leg.
Down the back straight, a relaxed Merritt was soon joined by Jamaica's Steven Gayle, who came up to his shoulder with a surging run, but it was to be short-lived. The US sprinter cranked it up a gear entering the bend, but when he turned for home he still had company in the shape of Botswana's Karabo Sibanda.
Still only 18, Sibanda displayed the fearlessness of youth with 50 metres to run, charging his way to Merritt's side, but if the Motswanan was a picture of grit, grimace and determination, then Merritt looked at ease, his face a model of relaxation as he held his form entering the final metres.
That proved the difference, with Merritt always doing enough to ensure the US successfully defended the title, coming home in 3:02.13, with Botswana second in 3:02.28 and Jamaica third in 3:02.86.
Booking a spot at the World Championships as well was T&T's local 4x100m unit, who on Saturday anchored by Dan-Neil Telesford and included Moriba Morain, Emmanuel Callender and Kyle Greaux won the B final in a season's best 39.04.
The foursome followed up on the second day with a fourth-place finish in the Men's 4x200m in a national record of 1:21.39.
Also that evening, T&T women's 4x100m team, running in the order of Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Khalifa St Fort, Semoy Hackett did not finish after failing to complete the first handover.
In the final event of the two-day programme, T&T unit in the order of Solomon, Domonique Williams, Callender and Chelsea Charles placed seventh in the Mixed 4x100m in 3:25.49.
USA collected their third successive Golden Baton honour.
The US won five of the nine events, taking silver in a pair, and third in another to tally 60 points, 21 ahead of Jamaica who totalled 39.
The Golden Baton is awarded to the team which accrues the most points, based on the simple scoring system of eight points for first place down to one point for finishing eighth. Australia was third with 24, edging Poland by just one point.
T&T earned 17 points in the Men 4x200m (fourth), Men 4x400m (fourth), Women 4x200 (fourth) and Mixed 4x400m (seventh), to place fifth overall.
LaShawn Merritt, right, anchors the USA team to victory in the men's 4x100 metres at the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas on Sunday. Botswana's Karabo Sibanda,left, finished second, and in the foreground is T&T's Lalonde Gordon, who placed fourth.