ATHLETICS: U.S. wins five, loses two 4x400s, Jamaica wins nothing at World Relays in Yokohama

Donatavius wright anchors the U.S. win in the Mixed 4x400 m relay in Yokohama (Photo: IAAF)

The IAAF World Relays is a fun event, but so is the Demolition Derby. And that’s about what happened at the Yokohama International Stadium in Japan the fourth edition of the IAAF World Relays.

The only important races were the 4×100 m and 4×400 m, which offered World Championships qualification to the finalists. And the U.S., which has been dominant in the prior three Relays, was – to be charitable – ordinary:

Men’s 4×100 m: Great Britain led the qualifying on Saturday in a world-leading 38.11. The U.S. had a strong group of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Isiah Young and Noah Lyles, but the passes let them down. Gatlin had the U.S. in the lead, but the pass to Young was poor and his leg was worse, handing off to Lyles who had to make a move from fourth place. He was flying, but Paulo Camilo de Oliveira was also good and held on for a 0.02 victory for Brazil in a world-leading 38.05. The Brazilians were more shocked than anyone else with their win over the U.S.

Men’s 4×400 m: Fred Kerley got the U.S. a lead on the second leg with a 44.4 split, equal-fastest of the day, but Paul Dedewo was run down on the anchor by Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio – also 44.4 – at the tape for second, 3:00.81 (world leader)-3:00.84. But Dedewo took the baton from Michael Cherry in lane one and then moved into lane two for a few steps and was disqualified. Ridiculous.

Women’s 4×100 m: The U.S. had the fastest qualifying mark at 42.51, a world leader at the time, with Mikiah Brisco, Ashley Henderson, Dezerea Bryant and Aleia Hobbs, and ran the same team in the finals. Henderson made a charge on the second leg to give the U.S. the lead and the passes to Bryant and Hobbs were good enough to secure the lead. Jamaica’s Jonielle Smith almost got to Hobbs at the line, but the U.S.’s much slower time of 43.27 was enough to win by 0.02.

Women’s 4×400 m: The U.S. was looking good with strong legs – and the lead – from Jaide Stepter (52.5) and Shakima Wimbley (50.8), but Jessica Beard fell apart on the third leg, running 53.3 and passing to Courtney Okolo in fourth place. Poland took advantage and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic ran 51.6 to win in 3:27.49. Okolo ran 51.0 to close, but finished second in 3:27.65.

Mixed 4×400 m: Here, the U.S. did everything right. All of the finalists ran men on the first and fourth legs; perhaps that’s the standard strategy for the future. My’Lik Kerley – Fred’s younger brother – gave the U.S. the lead, but the women’s legs from Joanna Atkins (51.6) and Jasmine Blocker (52.3) gave Dontavius Wright a big lead which he did not relinquish. He finished in 46.2 and the Americans won by almost two seconds over Canada.

The other world-leading mark was France’s 1:32.16 in the women’s 4×200 m. The U.S. won the men’s 4×200 m in 1:20.12.

The U.S. won the overall points title for the fourth World Relays in a row, with 54 points to 27 for Jamaica; Japan also had 27 points and was placed third. The Americans won five golds and two silvers; the shock was Jamaica’s failure to win any of the races, winning just two silvers and a bronze (and the men’s 4×100 m was sixth).

The American men’s 4×400 m disqualification means they will still have to qualify for the World Championships as one of the top six on time, but that should not be a significant issue as a U.S. pick-up team has already run 3:01.46 at the Florida Relays in March, currently no. 2 worldwide.

This was also not a fully-stocked U.S. team in multiple events, so the teams at the World Championships should be much better. But except for the men’s 4×4, the U.S. is now into the other four relays for Doha and that’s actually what counts. Summaries:

IAAF World Relays
Yokohama (JPN) ~ 11-12 May 2019
(Full results here)


4×100 m: 1. Brazil (Rodrigo Do Nascimento, Jorge Vides, Derick Silva, Paulo Camilo de Oliveira), 38.05; 2. United States (Michael Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Isiah Young, Noah Lyles), 38.07; 3.Great Britain, 38.15; 4. China, 38.16; 5. France, 38.31.

4×200 m: 1. United States (Chris Belcher, Bryce Robinson, Vernon Norwood, Remontay McClain), 1:20.12; 2. South Africa, 1:20.42; 3. Germany, 1:21.26; 4. Kenya, 1:22.55; 5. Japan, 1:22.67.

4×400 m: 1. Trinidad & Tobago (Deon Lendore 45.9, Jereem Richards 44.8, Asa Guevara 45.7, Machel Cedenio 44.4), 3:00.81; 2. Jamaica, 3:01.57; 3. Belgium, 3:02.70; 4. Japan, 3:03.24; 5. 3:04.96. Disqualified: United States (Nathan Strother 45.7, Fred Kerley 44.4, Michael Cherry 45.1, Paul Dedewo 45.6), 3:00.84 [2].


4×100 m: 1. United States (Mikiah Brisco, Ashley Henderson, Dezerea Bryant, Aleia Hobbs), 43.27; 2. Jamaica, 43.29; 3. Germany, 43.68; 4. Brazil, 43.75; 5. Italy, 44.29.

4×200 m: 1. France (Carolle Zahi, Estelle Raffai, Cynthia Leduc, Maroussia Pare), 1:32.16; 2. China, 1:32.76; 3. Jamaica, 1:33.21; 4. Japan, 1:34.57; 5. Germany, 1:34.92. Disqualified: United States (Kyra Jefferson, Shania Collins, Gabby Thomas, Jenna Prandini), 1:32.78 [3].

4×400 m: 1. Poland (Malgorzata Holub-Kowalik 52.6, Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz 51.1, Anna Kielbasinska 52.1, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic 51.6), 3:27.49; 2. United States (Jaide Stepter 52.5, Shakima Wimbley 50.8, Jessica Beard 53.3, Courtney Okolo 51.0), 3:27.65; 3. Italy, 3:27.74; 4. Canada, 3:28.21; 5. Jamaica, 3:28.30.


4×400 m: 1. United States (My’lik Kerley 46.3, Joanna Atkins 51.6, Jasmine Blocker 52.3, Dontavius Wright 46.2), 3:16.43; 2. Canada, 3:18.15; 3. Kenya, 3:19.43; 4. Italy, 3:20.28; 5. Poland, 3:10.65.

2x2x400 m: 1. Ce’Aria Brown/Donavan Brazier (USA), 3:36.92 (world best); 2. Catriona Bisset/Joshua Ralph (AUS), 3:37.61; 3. Ayano Shiomi/Allon Clay (JPN), 3:38.36; 4. Anna Dobek/Patryk Dobek (POL), 3:42.14; 5. Marina Arzamasova/Aliaksandr Vasileuskiy (BLR), 3:51.64.

Shuttle Hurdles: 1. United States (Christina Clemons, Freddie Crittenden, Sharika Nelvis, Devon Allen), 54.96; 2. Japan (Kimura, Takayama, Aoki, Kanai), 55.59; only finishers.