Buoyed by the return of Dina Asher-Smith and anchored by in-form Daryll Neita, the British women’s 4x100m team set a national record of 41.55 in the relay heats on Thursday morning in Tokyo.
Asha Philip started things off with a bullet start before passing on to Imani-Lara Lansiquot for her leg down the back straight.
Showing no little sign of lack of fitness and racing at just after 10am local time, Asher-Smith sped around the bend as she pulled the team into a winning lead before handing over to Neita, who brought the baton home confidently.
Their time smashed the UK record of 41.77 that was set when finishing third in the Rio Olympics five years ago.
Philip said: “It was an early start for everyone. We were on a 6.40am bus but we knew we had a job to do. We wanted to put down a good time and executed the race.”
The Brits defeated the United States, whose squad of Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, English Gardner and Aleia Hobbs ran 41.90, with Jamaica third, although the latter is expected to be more of a force in the final with 100m and 200m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to come in.
Lansiquot added: “It’s been really inspirational to see how these girls have done in the individual.”
After withdrawing from the 200m after failing to make the 100m final, there were worries that Asher-Smith might not run but she said: “In my head there was never any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be here today. The relay is very important, we got a bronze medal in Rio and I’ve been training hard to get ready.”
Neita added: “We’ve worked so hard although we’ve not had so much practice – and neither has the rest of the world – so to come out here and have so many good exchanges was really good.”
In the other sprint relay heat, Germany clocked 42.00 to beat Switzerland and China.
Source: Jason Henderson