Canada’s 4×100-metre men’s relay has qualified for next year’s International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) world championships in Beijing.
Gavin Smellie, Dontae Richard-Kwok, Jared Connnaughton and Justyn Warner finished sixth last weekend in 38.55 secs. in the inaugural world relays in Nassau, Bahamas. As part of the new event, the top eight teams in the 4×100 and 4×400-metre events automatically secure a spot in the 2015 championships.
“The main objective was to come out here and finish in the top eight and we achieved that which is great,” said Smellie who was the lead runner. “We are a bit disappointed that we didn’t get on the podium, but it’s always a learning curve and we will perform a lot better at the Commonwealth Games.”
This year’s Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.
Canada qualified for the 4×100-metre men’s final after finishing second in their heat in 38.70 secs.
“This event was a great experience,” said Richards-Kwok. “We came to secure our spot into next year’s worlds and were successful in doing so. We played it really safe, so I think as a result, we didn’t do as well as we wanted to or could have. We will do a lot better in the Commonwealth Games.”
Warner, who anchored the national team to a bronze medal in last year’s world championships, said the world relays was a stepping stone for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
“Honestly, I am not happy or disappointed (with how we did here in the Bahamas),” he said. “We didn’t execute as well as we normally do through the zones where we beat everyone. I am proud of the guys regardless.”
The women’s 4×100-metre relay team narrowly missed qualifying for the world championships.
Head coach Peter Eriksson said having an event like this early in the season makes it hard to get the best performance of the season, particularly when the focus is on the Commonwealth Games.
“I give the 4×100 men and women a passing mark,” he said. “The 4×400-metre teams have some hard work in front of them. The Bahamas was a great start to review the focus for our relay teams.”
Jamaica’s men, meanwhile, set a new world record in the 4×200-metre event.
With Usain Bolt recovering from a foot injury, Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake led the quartet that also comprised Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir and Jermaine Brown to a record 1:18.68 run which was 0.05 secs. better than the Carl Lewis-anchored United States team in 1994.
“We all executed what the coach told us to do, and we knew that the world record could happen,” said Blake who ran a blistering 19.00sec split off a running start to bring the baton home.
St. Kitts & Nevis was third in 1:20.51.