Sports

Bolt, Thompson to lead charge for relay medals

HOWARD WALKER
At the 16th IAAF
World Champs
in london

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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London, England — Jamaican stars Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson will try to restore normalcy at the World Championships as they lead the men's and women's 4x100m relays today.

Jamaica will also be competing in the 4x400m relays, with the heats today, but these finals will be run tomorrow at 2:55 pm and 3:15 pm.

The men's 4x100m will be the last time Bolt will grace a track competitively in what is expected to be grand farewell for the world's greatest sprinter. Hopefully, this time it will be golden goodbye.

Jamaica's starting line-up for the men's 4x100m relays will be Tyquendo Tracey, Julian Forte, Michael Campbell and Usain Bolt.

The women's 4x100m relay will first be in action at 4:35 am with the men's set to be contested at 4:55 am.

Once again the rivalry between Jamaica and the United States of America (USA) will come to the fore as they battle for supremacy in all four relays.

Jamaica won three of the four relays in Beijing, thus will be defending the 4x100 men's and women's events, as well as the women's 4x400m event.

Double Olympic champion Thompson will again lead the Jamaican team with the likes of Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Simone Facey, Christania Williams and Shashalee Forbes.

The defending champions are drawn in lane five of Heat Two alongside World Relays champions Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas , Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

Heat One comprises the USA, Great Britain, Netherlands, Australia, France, Nigeria, Ghana and Switzerland.

This Jamaica team, without the likes of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, is very much one in transition and they will have to write their own bit of history, hopefully a positive one.

Meanwhile, Bolt, still looking for that golden goodbye, is expected to run in both heats and final because without him there is no guarantee that Jamaica will be in the final. The risk is too high, hence Bolt is expected to run two more times before retirement.

Bolt has led Jamaica to victory in the last four 4x100m relays, while the US last tasted victory some 10 years ago in 2007. In terms of accumulated points, the US hold a three-point advantage, 63-60.

Both US and Jamaica have won the sprint relay in four consecutive championships. The Americans did it between 1983 and 1987, 1991 and 1993, while Jamaica did likewise in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Jamaica could become the first country to win it five consecutive times.

The Jamaicans have been drawn in lane two in Heat Two alongside Canada, Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, China, Germany, France and The Bahamas.

Heat One comprises the USA, Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Turkey and Barbados.

Meanwhile, both 4x400m relays should also be interesting as defending women's champions Jamaica renew rivalry with the USA from that enthralling clash in Beijing in 2015.

Jamaica had Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Shericka Jackson in the flat 400m final and only two can be rested for the heats. But regardless of the composition of the team, Jamaica should be able to secure their spot in the final.

Jamaica will be in action at 5:20 am and are drawn in Heat Two with France, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, Germany and India. Heat One has the USA, Great Britain, Botswana, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Italy and Australia.

Having secured two athletes in the men's 400m final in Nathan Allen and Demish Gaye, the Jamaican coaching staff will have to decide which one to rest in the heats of the men's 4x400m. Jamaica, still hunting their first win in this event, were actually fourth in 2015 and second in 2013. Despite the absence of the superb anchor leg runner Javon “The Transporter” Francis, Jamaica should be right there at the death alongside the USA, Botswana, Great Britain, Belgium and Trinidad and Tobago.

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