Mixed-Sex 4 x 400 — Poland Takes The Plaudits

An inspired anchor by Kajetan Duszyński brought Poland home first; meanwhile, Vernon Norwood of the U.S. was outleaned for silver. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

POLAND LED FOR BARELY 60 METERS during the inaugural Olympic mixed 4×4 but anchorman Kajetan Duszynski gave them an historic gold in a European Record 3:09.87. The time trails only the WR 3:09.34 set by the U.S. in winning ’19 WC gold.

The Poles, with plenty of regular 4×4 success to their name on a continental and world stage in recent years, had highlighted their medal credentials here with a European Record of 3:10.44 in the heats. But the U.S. — once the soap opera of the DQ/appeal/counter-appeal of the day before had been resolved (see sidebar) — overhauled its quartet as expected to start as the prohibitive favorite.

However, inspired running by the Dominican Republic — especially its second and last leg runners — saw the Caribbean nation take silver in 3:10.21, with the reigning world champs from Doha relegated to 3rd in the final strides of a thrilling race just 0.01 farther back.

Leadoff Leg
The Netherlands brought in sub-45 man Liemarvin Bonevacia to run their opener and the national recordholder delivered an excellent lap 44.8 lap to hand over just in front of Trevor Stewart, who ran 44.9.

Close behind the leading pair, with the stagger yet to unwind, were Poland’s Karel Zalewski and Dominican Republic’s Lidio Feliz, with the remaining five teams some way adrift of the leading quartet.

Second Leg
Lieke Klaver led at the break at the start of the backstretch for the Netherlands but Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino — who ran a 49.99 NR in June — produced the lap of her life in a stunning 48.7 to overtake the three runners in front of her and put her country in front at the second changeover, coming home just ahead of Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek, who also went sub-50 with a 49.9.

American Kendall Ellis produced a good 50.2 leg but tired over the final 50 and found herself passing the baton in 3rd with Great Britain and the Netherlands bearing down.

Third Leg
Dutch medal hopes seemed to rest on how big a lead Femke Bol could give to their anchor runner and the hurdle sensation did her best to fulfil her role with a 49.74 stint and flew past three runners to give the Netherlands a slight lead over the Dominicans, having closed a 15-meter gap on the latter’s Anabel Medina.

Behind the leading pair, with exactly half-a-second covering the leading four teams at the changeover, Kaylin Whitney kept the U.S. in the mix with her 50.59, running shoulder-to-shoulder with Bol and Poland’s reigning European champion Justyna Święty-Ersetic (50.47) for much of her leg as they reeled in the leader.

Anchor Leg
Kajetan Duszynski´s circuit of the Tokyo track will be remembered as one of the great 4×4 anchor legs of recent years. Boasting a PR from June of a relatively modest 45.51, the Pole took over just fractionally back in 3rd and his Dutch and Dominican rivals went on to make the pace in front of him.

The Netherlands’ Ramsey Angela led off the final bend but started to run out of stream as Duszynski and then Vernon Norwood came past him 60m from the line. The inspired Łódź University of Technology biotech doctoral student then found another gear to pull away from the American and was timed at 44.37 for his lap.

“I had to prove several times that I deserved a place in this relay team, but I think I showed I deserved it,” commented Duszynski. “I’m glad I fulfilled the faith of the coaches. In the last meters, I still had the strength to repel the American if he attacked again, but it was not necessary.”

Norwood, who clocked 44.37, was passed on the inside by Alexander Ogando in the final two strides to give the Dominican Republic a rare Olympic medal, with Paulina and Medina their country’s first female medalists is any sport.

Said Norwood, “It was pretty amazing to come out and represent America and to walk away with a medal and do what I did is a pretty good feeling, and we are extremely humbled and honored to have that.”

Behind the four teams battling for medals, Belgium’s Kevin Borlée, the oldest man in the final at 33, ran a solo time trial of 44.21 for the fastest lap of the evening. Four of the first five teams home ran NRs, the exception being the U.S.

One note for the future, despite teams having the option of being able to change the runners on each leg as they see fit, it was noticeable that all 8 teams in the final started with a man-woman-woman-man formation, and this quickly seems to have become de rigeur in this new event on the championship program. Indeed, only one team in the heats broke ranks and opted for something different.


(July 31) (temperature 79F/26C; 57% humidity)

1. Poland 3:09.87 NR (2 W)

(Karol Zalewski 45.1, Natalia Kaczmarek 49.9, Justyna Święty-Ersetic 50.47, Kajetan Duszyński 44.38);

2. Dominican Republic 3:10.21 NR (3 W)

(Lidio Feliz 45.2, Marileidy Paulino 48.7, Anabel Medina 51.34, Alexander Ogando 44.90);

3. United States 3:10.22 (4 W)

(Trevor Stewart 44.9, Kendall Ellis 50.2, Kaylin Whitney 50.59, Vernon Norwood 44.43);

4. Netherlands 3:10.36 NR (5 W)

(Liemarvin Bonevacia 44.8, Lieke Klaver 50.7, Femke Bol 49.74, Ramsey Angela 45.07);

5. Belgium 3:11.51 NR

(Dylan Borlée 45.5, Imke Vervaet 51.0, Camille Laus 50.68, Kevin Borlée 44.21);

6. Great Britain 3:12.07

(Niclas Baker 46.2, Nicole Yeargin 50.6, Emily Diamond 50.36, Cameron Chalmers 44.79);

7. Jamaica 3:14.95

(Sean Bailey 46.0, Stacey-Ann Williams 51.1, Tovea Jenkins 52.24, Karayme Bartley 45.51);

8. Ireland 3:15.04

(Cillin Greene 45.5, Phil Healy 51.8, Sophie Becker 52.36, Christopher O’Donnell 45.28);

… dq—Germany

(Marvin Schlegel 46.2, Corinna Schwab 69.6, Nadine Gonska, Manuel Sanders).

(lanes: 1. Ireland; 2. Great Britain; 3. Germany; 4. United States; 5. Poland; 6. Dominican Republic; 7. Netherlands; 8. Belgium; 9. Jamaica)

(reaction times: Ireland 0.140, Poland 0.157, Belgium 0.165, United States 0.167, Great Britain 0.169, Germany 0.182, Dominican Republic 0.184, Jamaica 0.208, Netherlands 0.209).

—Order By Leg —

Leg 1: 1. Netherlands 44.8; 2. United States 44.9; 3. Poland 45.1; 4. Dominican Republic 45.2; 5. Belgium 45.5; 6. Ireland 45.5; 7. Jamaica 46.0; 8. Germany 46.2; 9. Great Britain 46.

Leg 2: 1. Dominican Republic 1:33.97; 2. Poland 1:35.02; 3. United States 1:35.20; 4. Netherlands 1:35.55; 5. Belgium 1:36.62; 6. Great Britain 1:36.92; 7. Jamaica 1:37.20; 8. Ireland 1:37.40; 9. Germany 1:55.89

Leg 3: 1. Netherlands 2:25.29; 2. Dominican Republic 2:25.31; 3. Poland 2:25.49; 4. United States 2:25.79; 5. Great Britain 2:27.28; 6. Belgium 2:27.30; 7. Jamaica 2:29.44; 8. Ireland 2:29.76

HEATS (July 30)

I–1. United States 3:11.39 (Elija Godwin 45.7, Lynna Irby 49.7, Taylor Manson 50.96, Bryce Deadmon 44.99); 2. Dominican Republic 3:12.74 (Feliz 45.7, Paulino 49.7, Medina 51.07, Luguelín Santos 46.23); 3. Belgium 3:12.75 NR (Doom 45.6, Vervaet 51.1, Laus 50.70, Jonathan Borlée 45.35); 4. Ireland 3:12.88 (Greene 45.2, Healy 51.4, Becker 51.58, O’Donnell 44.74); 5. Germany 3:12.94 NR (advanced on appeal) (Schlegel 45.97, Schwab 51.14, Ruth Sophia Spelmeyer-Preuß 51.27, Sanders 44.56); 6. Spain 3:13.29 (Samuel García 45.6, Laura Bueno 51.5, Aauri Lorena Bokesa 51.04, Bernat Erta 45.15); 7. Nigeria 3:13.60 (Ifeayin Ojeli 46.1, Imeobong Nse Uko 50.6, Samson Oghenewegba 45.62, Patience George 51.29).
II–1. Poland 3:10.44 (Dariusz Kowaluk 45.4, Iga Baumgart-Witan 50.3, Małgorzata Hołub-Kowalik 49.98, Duszyński 44.74); 2. Netherlands 3:10.69 (Jochem Dobber 45.5, Klaver 50.4, Lisanne de Witte 50.39, Angela 44.37); 3. Jamaica 3:11.76 NR (Bailey 46.1, Junelle Bromfield 50.6, Williams 50.28, Bartley 44.80); 4. Great Britain 3:11.95 NR (Chalmers 45.9, Zoey Clark 50.5, Diamond 50.18, Lee Thompson 45.42); 5. Italy 3:13.51 NR (Edoardo Scotti 45.6, Alice Mangione 50.7, Rebecca Borga 51.88, Vladimir Aceti 45.35); 6. Ukraine 3:14.21 (Mykyta Barabanov 46.7, Kateryna Klymyuk 50.8, Alina Lohvynenko 51.22, Oleksandr Pohorilko 45.52); 7. Brazil 3:15.89 NR (Pedro Luis de Oliveira 46.1, Tiffani da Silva 51.3, Tabata de Carvalho 52.69, Anderson Henriques 45.81); 8. India 3:19.93 (Y. Muhammed Anas 46.1, V. Revathi 53.2, Venkatesan Subha 54.32, Arokia Rajiv 46.28). ◻︎

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