Seventh gold medal for Jamaica makes their women’s 400m relay team jump for joy


As The National reports, Jamaica has much to celebrate in the world of sports. Jamaica finished the world championships with a bang on Sunday, storming to the women’s 4×400-metre relay title to match Kenya’s gold tally at the top of the medals table.

Anchor leg Novlene Williams-Mills pulled out a rapid last 50m to catch Francena McCorory as the Jamaicans clocked this year’s best time of 3 mins, 19.13 secs to edge out the United States on the line in Beijing.

“That’s when you have the heart of a champion,” Williams-Mills said of her pursuit of McCorory. “That’s what you do. These girls, they had it all the way.”

American Allyson Felix looked to have dug the Olympic champions out of an early hole with a blistering third leg to give McCorory a lead into the last lap, until Williams-Mills kicked coming into the home straight to win it for Jamaica. Great Britain took bronze in 3:23.62.

The Americans hit back to take the men’s 4x400m, veteran LaShawn Merritt passing Carl Lewis as his country’s most decorated male world championships athlete with 11 medals.

Kenya finished with seven golds plus six silvers and three bronzes, an overall tally which edged them ahead of Jamaica on the final standings. But their success was tempered after two of their athletes, Joyce Zakary and Koki Manunga, failed pre-competition drugs tests. Hosts China placed 11th with one gold, seven silvers and one bronze.

As heads went down once more in the American camp, Merritt flexed his muscles by anchoring the United States to a sixth consecutive victory in the men’s final.

Merritt, David Verburg, Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum finished in 2:57.82 to extend a remarkable winning streak dating back to Helsinki in 2005. Trinidad and Tobago claimed silver in 2:58.20, with Britain taking bronze in 2:58.51.

But despite their relay success, the US will leave China with a sense of foreboding before next year’s Rio Olympics after playing second fiddle to the Jamaicans, who won seven gold medals – three of them, inevitably, Usain Bolt’s. [. . .]

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