Saturday, May 11, 2019

World Relays - Yokohama - Day 1

First Day - Saturday, May 11

by Mark Cullen/ © 2019 All Rights Reserved

The Day 1 World Relays highlight came in a semi-final, not a final, as Denmark's women's 4x100m relay team reminded us of why we run the races.
Mathilde Kramer of Denmark anchors the 4x100m relay to a heat win
and place in the final.
Roger Sedres for the IAAF
With podium favorites Great Britain/Northern Ireland and France dropping the baton, and with Canada disqualified, Denmark more than took advantage of their competitors' miseries as they ran a superb race with crisp passing, and they set a national record of 43.90. The joy - and shock - was evident on the face of anchor Mathilde Kramer, caught in the magnificent image by Roger Sedres for the IAAF.

In the other heats, the United States ran a world leading 42.51, and Denmark finds itself as the 7th-fastest qualifier in Sunday's final. Denmark has drawn lane 3 for the final, next to the United State in lane 4; this could be mightily to Denmark's advantage. A podium finish would set off a celebration royale.

Shuttle hurdles: more arms in the air.
Devon Allen anchoring the US to victory in the shuttle hurdles.
Roger Sedres for the IAAF
After a withdrawal by Jamaica and a false start by Australia, only Japan and the United States were left to duke it out for the win. Japan started strongly and held a surprising lead going into the 3rd leg when Sharika Nelvis reminded everyone of which country dominates the women's hurdles. She restored order by surging into the lead, and Devon Allen anchored going away.

What are they going to do with the bronze medals?

2x2x400m Relay - A new event in need of explanation.
Donavan Brazier anchoring the US to victory in the 2x2x400m relay.
Roger Sedres for the IAAF
The first '2' refers to the number of athletes running: one woman and one man. The '2x400m' refers to the total distance each athlete runs.
That's right, each runs 400m twice.
But not in succession.
The two athletes alternate 400m, so the key is judging how fast to run the first one when you'll be starting the next in approximately 50 seconds.
You also get to choose who goes first - the woman or the man?

It's little like the last workout before State: two incredibly high level repetitions on short rest.

The US team of Donavan Brazier and Ce'Aira Brown won with Australia a delighted 2nd; Joshua Ralph's spectacular anchor took the Aussies from 5th to silver. Japan took bronze, to the thunderous approval of hometown fans, while Kenya was disqualified after having led for the first three laps.

There were few other major surprises in the rest of today's races, all of which served as qualifying for Sunday's much-anticipated seven finals. Japan will field teams in the finals of the men's 4x400m as well as the women's 4x200m, and in the heats of the men's 4x200m. Their best opportunity for a podium finish is in the M 4x400m, though they are seeded very evenly in the M 4x200.

The social media highlight of the day came when Japan - a heavy favorite to medal in the 4x100m in front of the home crowd in Yokohama - botched the 3-to-4 pass, Yuki Koike to Yoshihide Kiryu.

But they did so with elegance, style, and creativity. There has never been a pass like this and there will never be another. 'Arming' the relay pass is a whole new concept.

Here is video of the pass in a link to Steven Mills' @Trackside2019 page on twitter:

You just watched it, didn't you?!


  1. Yes I watched the Japan pass. I was hoping it was legal

  2. Yes I watched the Japan pass. I was hoping it was legal