There was more drama and excitement on the second day of IAAF World Relays action in Yokohama, which saw the USA squad top the team standings overall.
After winning the first two finals on day one of the event in Japan, American teams won the women’s 4x100m, men’s 4x200m and mixed 4x400m on the second day, but there were plenty of surprises, too.
The men’s 4x100m was the final event of the weekend and in front of a crowd of more than 20,000, Brazil claimed victory in the same Yokohama International Stadium where the nation’s football team won the FIFA World Cup in 2002.
Holding off 9.88 100m metre man Noah Lyles of the USA and Britain’s world relay champion team-member Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Paulo André Camilo de Oliveira stormed down the home straight to anchor Brazil to victory in a world-leading time of 38.05 to USA’s 38.07 and Britain’s 38.15.
“We are very very happy,” said Camilo de Oliveira. “We concentrated on this competition and trained a lot.
“Today is a big night, but we have to work hard for Doha and Tokyo. We have time to train for that. We are still a new generation.”
While teams were racing for World Relays titles and prizes, places for the IAAF World Championships in Doha later this year were also up for grabs, with the top 10 teams in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m all securing world championships places, along with the top 12 teams in the mixed 4x400m.
Mitchell-Blake was joined in the GB team by his fellow world gold medallists CJ Ujah and Adam Gemili, who was seen icing his hamstring after the race, plus Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. Speaking afterwards, Aikines-Aryeetey said: “We’re happy with our third place but obviously we came here for more.
“We’re defending world champions, Commonwealth champions, European champions but we still need to improve because the rest of the world is improving as well.”
China finished fourth in 38.16, while France were fifth in 38.31 and Jamaica sixth in 38.88.
Mikiah Brisco, Ashley Henderson, Dezerea Bryant and Aleia Hobbs formed USA’s winning women’s quartet as they clocked 43.27 to claim the 4x100m title ahead of Jamaica with 43.29, Germany with 43.68 and Brazil with 43.75.
The GB team had been unable to get the baton round in the heats.
The USA’s win in the 4x200m was claimed by Christopher Belcher, Bryce Robinson, Vernon Norwood and Remontay McClain as they ran 1:20.12 ahead of South Africa’s 1:20.42 and Germany’s 1:21.26.
Further proof of just how unpredictable relays can be came in the women’s 4x200m final as a strong squad of Elaine Thompson, Stephenie Ann McPherson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson all lined up for Jamaica but struggled with the changeovers.
They initially battled to finish fourth but moved up to third after the third-placed USA team was disqualified. France won in 1:32.16 ahead of China with 1:32.76, while Jamaica’s time was 1:33.21 ahead of Japan’s 1:34.57 in fourth.
“It’s an experience and we look forward to having another opportunity to do it again,” said two-time Olympic 100m champion Fraser-Pryce. “Poor baton exchange was definitely the reason for us finishing third.”
The women’s 4x400m came down to an exciting finish as Poland powered to victory, with Justyna Święty-Ersetic crossing the finish line with 3:27.49 on the clock to deny the USA team, who clocked 3:27.65. Italy were third in 3:27.74 and the GB team of Emily Diamond, Laviai Nielsen, Zoey Clark and Amy Allcock secured sixth in 3:28.96.
“It’s a decent start,” said Diamond. “Hopefully we can get one of the medals in Doha.”
There was also a thrilling finish to the men’s 4x400m as world champions Trinidad and Tobago came through to take the title in 3:00.81, just 0.03 ahead of USA’s Paul Dedewo who dived over the line.
The USA team was later disqualified for a lane infringement, leaving Jamaica to move up to second in 3:01.57, while Belgium was third, Japan fourth and the GB team of Rabah Yousif, Dwayne Cowan, Martyn Rooney and Cameron Chalmers fifth in 3:04.96.
USA won the mixed 4x400m in 3:16.43 from Canada with 3:18.15 and Kenya with 3:19.43.