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GB relay teams storm through as Bolt books spot in last ever final

GB relay teams storm through as Bolt books spot in last ever final

A relay great morning of action at the IAAF World Championships sees all four British teams advance to the finals, while Usain Bolt takes to the track for his penultimate race

Performances by the British teams and a 4x100m heat win for a Jamaica quartet anchored by Usain Bolt gave the London Stadium crowd plenty to cheer about on the penultimate morning of the IAAF World Championships.

Sprint superstar Bolt ensured he will have the opportunity for one final major championships race as he combined with Tyquendo Tracey, Julian Forte and Michael Campbell to run 37.95 ahead of France with 38.03 and China with 38.20.

The first heat was faster, with Britain’s men clocking their second quickest ever time to secure their spot in Saturday evening’s final in style.

Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Daniel Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake ran 37.76 to just miss the national record of 37.73 run when Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Dwain Chambers secured world silver in Seville in 1999. The time of 37.76 would have claimed a medal at each of the previous world championships.

The USA team of  Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, BeeJay Lee and Christian Coleman were quickest overall to win the heat in a world-leading 37.70. Japan was third in 38.21. Turkey and Canada will join them in the final.

Britain’s women also stormed into the 4x100m final, clocking one of their fastest ever times to finish behind USA in the first heat.

Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita combined to run 41.93 which is the quickest ever time by a GB team at the world championships and would have won a medal at each of the past editions.

Coincidentally, it is exactly the same time as the GB quartet ran in the heats of the Rio Olympics before going on to win bronze. GB teams have only gone quicker than their London heat time at last year’s Anniversary Games and in the Olympic final, when the same quartet ran the British record of 41.77.

USA’s Aaliyah Brown, Allyson Felix, Morolake Akinosun and Ariana Washington ran a world-leading 41.84, while the Switzerland team clocked a national record of 42.50 to also progress.

The second heat was won by Germany as Tatjana Pinto, Lisa Mayer, Gina Luckenkemper and Rebekka Haase combined to clock 42.34 ahead of Jamaica’s Christania Williams, Natasha Morrison, Jura Levy and Sashalee Forbes with 42.50 and Brazil with 42.77.

Netherlands and Trinidad and Tobago will join them in the final.

Desiree-Henry-to-Dina-Asher-Smith-4x100m-heats-London-2017-by-Mark-Shearman

Next up was a third set of relay heats and a third world-leading time by an American quartet as the women’s 4x400m team of Quanera Hayes, Kendall Ellis, Shakima Wimbley and Natasha Hastings clocked 3:21.66.

Another GB quartet impressed as Zoey Clark, Laviai Nielsen, Perri Shakes-Drayton and Emily Diamond were second with 3:24.74 for a time which is more than a second quicker than the team ran to win Olympic bronze in Rio last summer.

Botswana was third with a national record of 3:26.90.

Jamaica won the second heat in 3:23.64 from Nigeria with 3:25.40 and Germany with 3:26.24. A fall by Bahamas on leg two ended their final hopes.

Also in Sunday’s final will be Poland and France.

Completing their relay heats domination, the USA team also went quickest in the men’s 4x400m, with Wilbert London III, Bryshon Nellum, Michael Cherry and Tony McQuay winning heat two in 2:59.23 from Trinidad and Tobago with 2:59.35 and Belgium with 2:59.47.

The GB quartet will also advance on time after Rabah Yousif, Dwayne Cowan, Jack Green and Martyn Rooney clocked 3:00.10 for fourth.

The first heat was won by Spain in 3:01.72 from Poland and Cuba. France will join them in the final while Botswana, after a dropped baton, and Jamaica are among those to miss out.

After leading by 57 points overnight in the decathlon, France’s Olympic silver medallist Kevin Mayer increased his lead with a 13.75 110m hurdles to total 5485 points.

Germany’s world-leader Rico Freimuth went second on 5377 points with a 13.68 hurdles, while Canada’s two-time world medallist Damian Warner moved closer with a 13.63 hurdles for 5370 points.

Germany’s Kai Kazmirek lost ground with a 14.66 hurdles, dropping to fourth on 5312 points. With a time of 14.75, Britain’s Ashley Bryant advanced to 14th and 4981 points.

There was disappointment for USA’s two-time world champion Trey Hardee as he fell and was disqualified, while neutral athlete Ilya Shkurenev also bowed out.

In the discus, Mayer had two no throws but a 47.14m kept him ahead on 6296 points.

Competing in the second group, Freimuth closed with a 51.17m throw to advance to 6272 points.

Oleksiy Kasyanov moved up to a distant third after a 47.43m throw to total 6095 points, while Kazmirek kept his medal hopes alive with a 45.06m throw to go fourth on 6080.

Warner dropped back to fifth on 6048 after a best of 40.67m but is in contention with the two ahead.

Ashley Bryant started well with a 43.95m throw and although he could not improve that mark still moved him to 12th on 5726 points.

» Check out our dedicated online section here for more of the London 2017 latest and see the August 17 edition of AW magazine for full coverage

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