Jamaicans happy with Mixed Relay silver


Monday, September 30, 2019

DOHA, Qatar — Jamaica's 4x400m Mixed Relay team won silver and once again lowered the national record to 3:11.78 while all three men advanced to the semi-final of the 200m inside the Khalifa International Stadium here yesterday.

After introducing the Mixed Relay to great effect at the World Relays, the IAAF brought the event to the World Championships and, again, it provided excitement as spectators got involved seeing men racing against women.

The United States team of Wilbert London, Allysion Felix, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry lowered their world record set in the heats on Saturday to 3:09.34, winning the final easily.

Jamaica made one change to their team, replacing Jeneve Russell with Tiffany James. Nathon Allen opened with a 44.57 split and handed the baton to Roneisha McGregor who passed it to Tiffany James after which “The Transporter” Javon Francis took the team from third to second as he swept past Poland's female runner on anchor, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, and held off the charging Abbas Abubaker Abbas of Bahrain for the silver. Great Britain was fourth.

Allen, who led the team and will be on the 4x400m men's team, was happy following what he called a rough season.

“It feels good. I have had a rough season with setbacks, injuries. So for me to be here to represent myself, my family and country it means a lot and I am just really, really happy and overjoyed,” said Allen.

“These are my best two runs for 2019. I have had injuries and I couldn't represent myself at the [National] Trials and I went to multiple Diamond Leagues and I was way off. I am not at my best, I am not where I am supposed to be, so I am really happy and looking forward to the rest of the championship,” he added.

James was just as satisfied with her medal. “I think I did very well. Relay is team work and I think each and every one went out there and did their very best and we came out not victorious with the gold but victorious in our own way and a national record, so I am happy and thankful and blessed to be here,” she said.

“This is my first World Championships, so I was excited more than nervous going out there. I just wanted to run, I just wanted to represent Jamaica on one of the biggest stages and I am just happy, happy is just the word to explain how I am feeling,” said James.

McGregor, who ran the second leg, said it was her first time running that leg and she handled it well.

“My aim coming out here was to just execute as best as possible and give my team the best performance possible. I am very happy that we were able to get the record again in the final and get a medal,” said McGregor.

Francis, who anchored the team and had to chase the Polish female runner who had a huge lead on him, said: “When I got the baton I had to go for it. I knew my teammates were counting on me to deliver and when I saw the lady way out I was 'oh my gosh, I can't make a lady beat me because Jamaica is going to turn upside down',” Francis said laughing.

“But I am glad we came out here and delivered and got the national record two times, so I am very pleased about my performance. This year is a down year for me so I have to refocus. The next relay is coming up so we are going to refocus and try go and get a next medal,” said Francis.

Meanwhile Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer and Andre Ewers all secured spots in the semi-finals of the 200m.

Blake was second in heat two in 20.23, a season's best, behind Alex Quinonez of Ecuador who won in 20.08. Blake has been drawn in semi-final three alongside Britain's Zharnel Hughes and Canadian Andre de Grasse.

Rasheed Dwyer finished third in heat five in 20.37 and he has been placed in semi-final one with Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, Adam Gemili of Great Britain, Aaron Brown of Canada and Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago.

Ewers had an eventful day as he initially placed fourth in his heat in 20.41 and while conducting his interview in the mix zone he learnt from the Jamaica Observer that he had been disqualified for a lane violation. He sunk to the floor in disappointment.

“I mean, right now I am lost for words because I came here to push all the way to the finals,” he said with a sigh.

But later his appeal was successful and he was reinstated. Thus he has been drawn in semi-final two alongside Noah Lyles, Alex Quinonez and Miguel Francis.