The Dominican Republic won the first track gold at the World Athletics Championships in the mixed 4x400m relay ©Getty Images

A Dominican Republic quartet including Tokyo 2020 individual silver medallist Marileidy Paulino earned the first track gold of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in a mixed 4x400 metres final which saw 36-year-old Allyson Felix earn bronze in her last race.

The event was preceded at Hayward Field by the men’s 100m heats, where the African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala, who had arrived in Eugene with only three hours to spare after visa delays, progressed to tomorrow’s semi-finals as he earned the third qualifying place in his - final - heat in 10.10sec on a day when United States sprinter and Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley ran an ominous 9.79.

There had been a huge roar for the host nation's Felix, who announced she would retire this year after a career that has brought her seven Olympic and 13 world golds, as she took up the baton with a lead of around a second from first-leg runner Elija Godwin.

But perhaps the years, and certainly Paulino, caught up with her, with the powerful athlete who last year helped the Dominican Republic take silver in this event at Tokyo 2020 overhauling Felix in the closing stages to hand over a lead to Alexander Ogando in a split that was later confirmed at 48.47 as against the timing of 50.15 for Felix.

Vernon Norwood clocked the fastest split of the race, 44.40, to put the Americans back in the lead going into the final leg, but home runner Kennedy Simon was caught in the final few metres as Fiordaliza Cofil came past for gold and Dutch Tokyo 2020 400m hurdles bronze medallist Femke Bol for silver.

The winning time of 3min 09.82sec was the second-fastest ever, with Bol stopping the clock at 3:09.90 and Simon finishing in 3:10.16.

Olympic champions Poland were fourth in 3:12.31.

"We did a great job as a team and I hope we can achieve another good result in Paris [2024]," said Paulino.

"The Dominican Republic has a lot of talent, not just in baseball.

"I have a lot of admiration for Allyson Felix; we ran together in the Tokyo Olympic final."

In the men's 100m, Kerley’s effort was the fastest heat time ever on a day when all three of his compatriots also progressed, with Trayvon Bromell second-fastest in 9.89, Marvin Bracy on 10.05 and defending champion Christian Coleman clocking 10.08.

Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse also progressed, clocking 10.12, as did Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcel Jacobs in 10.04.

Letsile Tebogo of Botswana also qualified in 9.94, a world under-20 record.

Reece Prescod of Britain, who ran a personal best of 9.93 earlier this season into a headwind, was a notable non-qualifier after clocking 10.15.

The United States' Allyson Felix bowed out with a 4x400m relay bronze medal in Eugene ©Getty Images
The United States' Allyson Felix bowed out with a 4x400m relay bronze medal in Eugene ©Getty Images

Home shot putter Ryan Crouser, the double Olympic champion who set his world record of 23.37 metres at this arena in last year’s Tokyo 2020 Trials, enjoyed his environs again as he qualified with 22.28m, the best effort witnessed at the World Championships outside the dizzying Doha 2019 final.

In the women’s shot put, China’s Olympic champion Gong Lijiao threw 19.51m to lead a group of 12 into the final.

Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia was fastest qualifier in the women’s 1500 metres heats in 4min 2.68sec as Kenya’s double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, who took silver three years ago, won her race in 4:04.53.

Defending long jump champion Tajay Gayle, who injured his knee at the Jamaican trials, failed to register a mark in a qualification headed by Japan’s Yuki Hashioka on 8.18m and home athlete Marquis Dendy on 8.16m.

Olympic champion Katie Nageotte and her home compatriot Sandy Morris, the double world indoor champion, were among those qualifying for the women’s pole vault final on 4.50m, but there was calamity for Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw, who had to retire without recording a mark after her pole had snapped during her final warm-up effort, landing her in the box.

"I was absolutely gutted, I was heartbroken, I was crying in the box, sobbing," Bradshaw said.

"It was a massive, massive shock."

Morocco’s Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali topped qualifiers for the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase final with a time of 8:16.65, as 33-year-old home athlete Evan Jager, the Rio 2016 silver medallist, raised huge cheers in progressing as sixth-fastest in 8:17.49.