ODDLY ENOUGH, despite the tremendous action on the track every night, expectations for the women’s short relay dropped steadily throughout the meet. Formchart favorite Germany, the world leader at 41.67, lost key third leg Tatiana Pinto to a knee injury during the 200. A lackluster run in the heats then left them stuck in lane 2 for the final. Jamaica lost Elaine Thompson, who had placed 4th in the 100. She advanced from her 200 heat, but then pulled the plug on her Doha adventure, troubled by a sore Achilles.
But no team faced a bigger crisis than the United States. Tori Bowie, the defending champ in the 100, withdrew from her semi and opted to concentrate on the long jump. Then English Gardner, the USATF 100 runner-up, went down in her semi with a hamstring injury. Team coaches decided to use USATF 100 semifinalist Kiara Parker as anchor; she had placed 5th in the NCAA 100 for Arkansas in 11.02.
The relay heats produced few surprises. In the first, the U.S. quartet of Dezerea Bryant, Teahna Daniels, Morolake Akinosun and Parker overcame a messy first handoff to steam to a 42.46 win. Trinidad (42.75) took 2nd, while a promising French team was disqualified. In the second, Jamaica handled Great Britain, 42.11–42.25.
For the final, Jamaica would be in lane 4, Trinidad 5, Britain 6 & United States 7. When the gun fired, one thing was clear: Jamaica was hardly hobbled. Natalliah Whyte outraced Bryant to the first exchange, and handed off to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. The 100 champion blistered the backstretch, leaving Daniels and the U.S. behind, as well as Britain’s 200 winner, Dina Asher-Smith. Jonielle Smith ran a solid turn and handed off to anchor Shericka Jackson, the 400 bronze medalist. Entering the straight with a 2-stride lead on Britain and the United States, she had no problem holding off both teams and maintaining that margin to the line.
For Jamaica, the gold-medal effort took only 41.44, a yearly leader and the No. 8 performance in history. Britain (41.85) soundly trounced the U.S. (42.10 AL) on the anchor, claiming silver. In 4th, Switzerland nailed a national record 42.18, with Germany clocking 42.48 in 5th. The Chinese squad was disqualified because of a bizarre missed hand-off/attempted redo that deservedly went viral.
SAFP said that the Jamaican win bodes well for the island nation’s Olympic hopes: “I am excited for what the future holds in terms of the Olympics, because it means that no team can take anything for granted. The result today speaks about the volume of the team and the depth of the team especially with the absence of Elaine. For us as a team, it means it doesn’t matter what happens to any athlete. We have four ladies that can show up anytime.”
WC WOMEN’S 4 x 100 RESULTS
(October 05) (temperature 81F/27C; humidity 71%)
1. Jamaica 41.44 (WL) (8W)
(Natalliah Whyte, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jonielle Smith, Shericka Jackson);
2. Great Britain 41.85
(Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith, Ashleigh Nelson, Daryll Neita);
3. United States 42.10 (AL)
(Dezerea Bryant, Teahna Daniels, Morolake Akinosun, Kiara Parker);
4. Switzerland 42.18 NR
(Ajla Del Ponte, Sarah Atcho, Mujinga Kambundji, Salomé Kora);
5. Germany 42.48
(Lisa Marie Kwayie, Yasmin Kwadwo, Jessica-Bianca Wessolly, Gina Lückenkemper);
6. Trinidad 42.71
(Semoy Hackett, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Mauricia Prieto, Kamaria Durant);
7. Italy 42.98
(Johanelis Herrera Abreu, Gloria Hooper, Anna Bongiorni, Irene Siragusa);
(Xiaojing Liang, Yongli Wei, Lingwei Kong, Manqi Ge).
Lanes: 2. Germany; 3. Italy; 4. Jamaica; 5. Trinidad; 6. Great Britain; 7. United States; 8. China; 9. Switzerland
Reaction times: 0.127 Great Britain; 0.141 Switzerland; 0.147 Jamaica; 0.154 Italy; 0.161 United States; 0.169 China; 0.171 Germany; 0.173 Trinidad
I–1. United States 42.46; 2. Trinidad 42.75 (Hackett, Baptiste, Reyare Thomas, Durant); 3. Switzerland 42.82;
4. Netherlands 43.01 (Nargélis Statia Pieter, Marije van Hunenstijn, Jamile Samuel, Naomi Sedney); 5. Kazakhstan 43.79 (Rima Kashafutdinova, Elina Mikhina, Svetlana Golendova, Olga Safronova); 6. Denmark 43.92 (Astrid Glenner-Frandsen, Ida Kathrine Karstoft, Mette Graversgaard, Mathilde U Kramer);… dnf—Australia (Melissa Breen, Nana Owusu-Afriyie, Maddie Coates, Celeste Mucci);… dq[zone]—France (Carolle Zahi, Cyntha Leduc, Estelle Raffai, Orlann Ombissa-Dzangue).
II–1. Jamaica 42.11 (Whyte, Fraser-Pryce, Smith, Natasha Morrison); 2. Great Britain 42.25 (Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Nelson, Neita); 3. China 42.36; 4. Germany 42.82; 5. Italy 42.90 NR;
6. Nigeria 43.05 (Joy Udo-Gabriel, Blessing Okagbare, Mercy Ntia-Obong, Rosemary Chukwuma); 7. Ghana 43.62 (Flings Owusu-Agyapong, Gemma Acheampong, Persis Williams-Mensah, Hor Halutie);… dq[lane]—Brazil (Bruna Farias, Vitoria Cristina Rosa, Lorraine Martins, Rosangela Santos).