Brazil brought the International Association of Athletics Federations World Relays in Yokohama to a startling conclusion today as they won the blue riband men’s 4x100m event – ahead of a formidable United States quartet and world champions Britain – in the world’s fastest time this year.
The Brazilian quartet of Rodrigo do Nascimento, Jorge Vides, Derick Silva and Paulo Andre Camilo de Oliveira – none of whom has bettered 10 seconds for 100m – were viewed before the Relays as solid citizens rather than shining lights.
But they worked as a unit to cross the line in 38.05sec, ahead of a US team that included world 100m champion Justin Gatlin, 2010 world indoor 60m silver medallist Mike Rodgers and Noah Lyles, the 2017 and 2018 IAAF Diamond League 200m champion, which recorded 38.07.
Britain, fielding three of the team that won world gold in London two years ago, finished third in 38.15 – 0.04 slower than their qualifying time.
Before the men’s concluding event, the biggest shock of the day had occurred in the men’s 4x400m final, where a huge lead for the United States going into the final leg was wiped out by a wonder run from Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio.
He produced a 44.41 split to make up more than a second and secure victory, clocking 3:00.81 to win by 0.03sec.
The United States, to add insult to injury, were subsequently disqualified, promoting Jamaica, who clocked 3:01.57, to second place.
And in the women’s 4x400m, the United States had to settle for silver in 3min 27.65 behind a battling Polish team that clocked 3:27.49.
There were raised eyebrows too in the women’s 4x200m final, where Jamaica and the United States had the strongest line-ups but the worst exchanges.
Out in lane nine and unaware of what had gone on behind them, France won in 1min 32.16sec with China taking second place in an Asian record of 1:32.76.
United States were next across the finish line but were later disqualified, leaving third place to Jamaica, who recorded 1:33.21.
But US sprinters did manage to stay on the gold standard in three of the finals on the concluding day, including the mixed 4x400m event.
They won the women’s 4x100m in a relatively sedate 43.27, ahead of Jamaica and 2017 surprise winners Germany.
There was gold, too, for the United States in the men's 4x200m, which they won in 1:20.12 ahead of South Africa.
And for all the excursions and alarms, the United States – which has dominated all three previous editions of this event – remained comfortably top of the overall standings for the weekend, earning 54 points, with Jamaica and Japan second and third, respectively, on 27.
This event served as a qualifier for the IAAF World Championships that will take place in Doha later this year.
There are 16 spaces available for each relay event at the World Championships and for the 4x100m and 4x400m, 10 of those spots will be given to the top teams at the World Relays.
The next six spots will be awarded based on world lists at the end of the qualifying period – September 6.