USA dominates sprint relay finals as World Relays concludes in the Bahamas

By Jess Whittington for World Athletics May 06, 2024

USA broke their own 10-year-old championship record to dominate the women’s 4x100m at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24, before their teammates threatened the men’s 4x100m mark to clinch another win in Nassau on Sunday (5).

After helping her nation to a heat win and Olympic qualification on Saturday, Gabby Thomas vowed they could go even quicker in the final. She wasn’t wrong.

The women’s 4x100m championship record of 41.88 had been set at the inaugural World Athletics Relays in Nassau in 2014. A decade on, another US quartet made history in the Bahamian capital, as Tamari Davis, Thomas, Celera Barnes and Melissa Jefferson combined to clock 41.85 and cap a successful campaign.

They won by almost a second, while France proved they will be a force at their home Olympics later this year by securing the runner-up spot in 42.75. Third place was claimed by Great Britain & NI in 42.80.

As she had done in the previous day’s heats, Davis got the race started for USA, running a strong first leg to put her nation ahead. Olympic and world 200m medallist Thomas, who joined Davis on USA’s world title-winning team in Budapest last year, was ready to take over and she maintained the advantage before handing the baton to Barnes.

They had put Jefferson in a great position and the win never looked in doubt, as the two-time world relay gold medallist surged down the home straight. The fight for second place was won by France, as Mallory Leconte – racing in lane one – held off Great Britain’s Aleeya Sibbons. Germany finished fourth and Australia fifth.

While her teammates posed for photos, Thomas left the track to prepare for the 4x400m final less than 20 minutes later, which USA also won.

The men’s 4x100m championship record of 37.38 was also set by USA in Nassau but in 2015, during the second edition of the event. It still stands, but only just, as Courtney Lindsey, Kenny Bednarek, Kyree King and Noah Lyles teamed up to run a world-leading 37.40.

That same US quartet had run 37.49 to win the heats and they were similarly dominant in the final, winning by almost half a second ahead of 2022 world champions Canada.

Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse anchored Canada to second place in 37.89. Olympic champions Italy crossed the line next, but the team was later disqualified for a changeover occurring outside the zone. As a result, France secured third place in 38.44, just 0.01 ahead of Japan and Great Britain who both clocked 38.45 and were separated by only one thousandth of a second.

“We were talking after the race about what else we can do,” said Lyles, who ran the anchor leg during USA’s world title win in Budapest after his individual 100m and 200m victories. “Me and Kyree can get more out of that exchange zone and Kenny and Kyree can do the same. We were faster today, but still, it is all about the zone.”

The team certainly looked in the zone. Lindsey ran the first leg, going up against Canada’s Aaron Brown. Bednarek then took over from Lindsey and ran the second leg against athletes including Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs.

Bednarek handed the baton to King and then Lyles powered home to secure the win, chased by De Grasse, France’s Aymeric Priam and Sota Miwa of Japan.

 

Teams that missed out on Paris places on day one had another chance to book their spots for the Olympics in a second round of races ahead of the finals on Sunday. Competition was fierce, with the top two in each of the three heats securing automatic qualification for the Olympics.

The 2021 World Relays winners Italy cruised to the first 4x100m Paris place of the evening, winning the first women’s heat in 42.60. It shows they mean business as despite not making it through to defend their title in Nassau, they went more than a second faster than their winning time from three years ago. Cote d’Ivoire missed out on an automatic qualifying place by just three thousands of a second on day one but multiple global medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith was determined that her team would not be denied again. She received the baton behind Italy and Spain but stormed past Maria Isabel Perez, and almost caught Arianna De Masi, to secure the second spot in 42.63.

Jamaica will defend their Olympic title after they secured their Paris place on the second attempt. After finishing fifth in their race in the first round, they were dominant winners on day two, with world U20 200m bronze medallist Alana Reid crossing the finish line in 42.74. More than half a second back, Trinidad and Tobago’s Leah Bertrand gave chase to finish second in 43.54.

 

Nigeria and Switzerland were well away in the third and final heat and while Nigeria clinched victory in a close finish – 42.71 to 42.75 – they were both rewarded with Paris places.

The first of the evening’s men’s 4x100m races saw Germany triumph, as Yannick Wolf held on for the win in 38.57. But the real drama was happening behind him. Liberia were in fourth place at the final changeover but Joseph Fahnbulleh blazed the anchor leg, overtaking Brazil and then Switzerland to clinch an Olympic spot by five thousandths of a second. Liberia and Switzerland both clocked 38.65 – a national record for the former – while Brazil followed in fourth.

Ghana and Nigeria ran away with the second heat and their places for the Olympics never seemed in doubt as they clocked 38.29 and 38.57, respectively. There was more success for Africa in the third and final heat as Akani Simbine ran a storming anchor for South Africa. After that final leg timed at 8.92, he crossed the finish line with 38.08 on the clock to ensure his team will be in Paris.

They’ll be joined by Australia, who were pipped for second place by just four thousandths of a second in the first round, as the quartet went 0.04 quicker than on day one to finish runner-up in 38.46.

 

Related items

  • Record-breaking Pryce is SEC Track Athlete of the Year, Chris Johnson, Coach of the Year Record-breaking Pryce is SEC Track Athlete of the Year, Chris Johnson, Coach of the Year

    The University of Arkansas celebrated a stellar year in track and field with significant South Central Region honours for the 2024 outdoor season. Senior sprinter Nickisha Pryce was named Track Athlete of the Year, while first-year head coach Chris Johnson was recognized as Coach of the Year, capping off an extraordinary season for the NCAA Division 1 Women's Champions.

    Pryce, a standout athlete from St. Mary, Jamaica, entered the outdoor season with a personal best of 50.21 in the 400m. She made remarkable improvements, culminating in a collegiate and Jamaican record of 48.89 seconds, which she set while winning the NCAA 400m title. Pryce's victory spearheaded an unprecedented Arkansas sweep of the top four spots in the event, earning the Razorbacks a crucial 29 points towards their team total.

    Throughout the season, Pryce demonstrated consistent progress, achieving career-best marks of 50.13, 49.72, 49.32, and finally 48.89. Her extraordinary performances were pivotal as Arkansas amassed 61 of its 63 championship points on the final day of the NCAA Championships. This remarkable achievement allowed Coach Johnson and his team to complete a sweep of the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor team championships in his debut season as head coach.

    In addition to her NCAA title, Pryce also secured the SEC 400m title with a time of 49.32, which at the time ranked third on the collegiate all-time list. Her dominance in the 400m was instrumental in Arkansas's 1-2-3-5 finish at the SEC Championships, contributing 28 points to the team’s total.

    Pryce's achievements have cemented her place in history as the first collegian and first Jamaican to run under 49 seconds in the 400m. She surpassed the 22-year-old Jamaican record of 49.30 set by Lorraine Fenton in 2002.

    Her time of 48.89 also eclipsed the previous collegiate record of 49.13 set by fellow Razorback Britton Wilson in 2023. On the 2024 world list, Pryce ranks second behind Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who recorded a time of 48.75. Pryce’s time also ties her for 13th on the all-time world list alongside Mexico’s Ana Guevara from 2003.

    The culmination of Arkansas's season was highlighted by an emphatic victory in the 4 x 400m relay at the NCAA Championships, where the Razorbacks set a collegiate record and world-leading time of 3:17.96. Pryce's impressive third-leg split of 49.19 was crucial in securing the title. This performance broke the previous collegiate record of 3:21.92 set by Arkansas at the NCAA West meet, narrowly surpassing Kentucky’s 3:21.93 from the 2022 SEC meet.

    Coach Chris Johnson's leadership was instrumental in guiding the Razorbacks to these historic achievements. Under his guidance, Arkansas scored in eight different events to capture the NCAA outdoor team title, edging out Florida by four points. This victory followed their triumph at the NCAA Indoor meet, where they won by five points.

  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opens season with 11.15 sprint at French Foray meeting Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opens season with 11.15 sprint at French Foray meeting

    Three-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made a triumphant return to the track with a controlled sprint of 11.15 seconds at the French Foray Meeting held at the National Stadium on Saturday night. This performance comes less than two weeks before the start of the Jamaica national championships, which will determine the team representing Jamaica at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

    The 38-year-old sprinting legend, who boasts a lifetime best of 10.60 seconds, was making an extraordinarily late start to her season. Despite this, Fraser-Pryce, running with her right knee and lower-thigh strapped with kenisio tape, demonstrated her enduring talent by shaking off the rust and securing victory against a competitive field. Jodean Smith, clocking in at 11.20 seconds, finished second, while schoolgirl Sabrina Dockery took third place with a time of 11.46 seconds.

    In the men's sprints, Bouwahjgie Nkrumie emerged as the fastest athlete of the night with a time of 10.21 seconds. Sandray Davison was close behind, recording a time of 10.25 seconds, while De Andre Daley achieved a season-best of 10.26 seconds to finish third. Notably, Ackeem Blake, despite stumbling out of the blocks in Nkrumie's heat, managed to recover and post a respectable time of 10.30 seconds.

     

     

  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to kick off final Olympic campaign at JAAA's French Foray meet on Saturday Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to kick off final Olympic campaign at JAAA's French Foray meet on Saturday

    Four-time Olympic 100m medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is set to open her 2024 season this Saturday at the JAAA's French Foray meet at the National Stadium in Kingston. The 38-year-old sprinting star will take on a relatively weak field of athletes as she tests her readiness to challenge for an unprecedented third Olympic 100m title in Paris this August.

    Fraser-Pryce, who last competed in August 2023 when she ran 10.77 to win the bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, is gearing up for the Jamaica National Championships, which begins in less than two weeks on June 27. To secure her place in the Olympic squad, Fraser-Pryce will need to finish in the top three at the national trials.

    In an interview with Sportsmax.TV last October, Fraser-Pryce revealed plans to run more races leading up to the Olympics in 2024. However, for reasons unknown, she has not been able to compete before Saturday. As one of the most decorated sprinters in history, with five World Championships 100m titles to her name, Fraser-Pryce has faced a series of injuries since 2016. A toe injury in 2016 hampered her chances of winning a third consecutive Olympic 100m title, and she finished third.

    After nearly two years off due to the birth of her son Zyon, Fraser-Pryce made a triumphant return by winning her fourth World 100m title in Doha in 2019. She followed this with a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and a fifth world title in Oregon in 2022. During an injury-hit season in 2023, she followed up with a bronze at the World Championships in Budapest.

    On Saturday, Fraser-Pryce will gauge her readiness for what she has indicated will be her final Olympic campaign. Fans and athletics enthusiasts will be watching closely as she begins her journey towards making history once again in Paris.

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.