Dropped batons and botched exchanges add to the drama as titles go to Italy, South Africa, Cuba, Poland and Germany in Chorzow
Honours were shared between five countries on a chilly evening on day two of the World Athletics Relays in Poland on Sunday (May 2).
Italy (pictured below) enjoyed a runaway victory in the opening event of the night, the mixed 4x400m. After Edoardo Scotti’s first leg, Giancarla Trevisan pulled Italy into a significant lead before Alice Mangione held it on the third stage.
Davide Re was getting caught on the anchor by Alexander Ogando of Dominican Republic but he saved enough in the final straight to pull away to win by almost a second in 3:16.60 as fast-finishing Alison Dos Santos charged through for Brazil to take second as Dominican Republic took third.
Britain finished fifth in 3:18.87 courtesy of Lee Thompson, Zoey Clark, Yasmin Liverpool and Rabah Yousif.
Most exciting finish of the day came in the men’s 4x100m when Akani Simbini of South Africa (below) ran down Paulo Andre Camilo de Oliveira of Brazil to win by one hundredth of a second. To add insult to injury, Brazil were later disqualified too along with third-placed Ghana, which meant Italy moved up into second and Japan third.
There were no Americans or Jamaicans at the event due to the pandemic – and Britain only sent 4x400m runners – but the event was still entertaining as South Africa clocked 38.71 in damp, cool conditions.
There was drama in the women’s 4x400m as well. The Netherlands built a big lead courtesy of Jamile Samuel, Daphne Schippers on the back straight and Nadine Visser on the final bend. But Visser’s handover to Naomi Sedney was a disaster and they finished third as Italy’s Vittorio Fontana stormed through to win in 43.79 from Poland as the Netherlands were third.
The Netherlands also came unstuck in the women’s 4x400m. Halfway through the final leg they were on the shoulder of Britain but faded to fourth as Britain wound up third as Cuba (pictured below) stormed through for victory in 3:28.41 and Poland came through to the runner-up spot.
Britain’s Jessie Knight was in the lead with one leg to go after good work from Laviai Nielsen, Ama Pipi and Emily Diamond. But Femke Bol had run a 50.58 leg for Netherlands on the third leg to put Lieke Klaver in a great position on Knight’s shoulder on the anchor.
However Roxana Gomez of Cuba ran 50.96 to surge through to win as Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek finished with a similar flourish for second.
There was better luck for the Netherlands at the end of the programme as their men’s team took the 4x400m title in 3:03.45.
A close race saw Netherlands, Japan, Botswana, Italy and South Africa in contention with a lap to go. South African Oscar Mavundla stormed into the lead down the back straight but paid the price with 120m to go when Tony van Diepen (main image, above) surged past him to bring his country the win as Japan took second and Botswana third.
The 4x200m races, meanwhile, saw Poland win the women’s race comfortably in 94.98 from Ireland while Germany took the men’s event by almost two seconds from Kenya in 82.43.
For our report from day one, CLICK HERE
Ryan Thomas Williams