Monday, March 21, 2016 8:04 am
The men’s 4x400m team closed the most successful World Indoor Championships ever for the United States with a memorable performance in front of another sell-out crowd at the Oregon Convention Centre. The Nigerian team consisting of Noah Akwu, Chidi Okezie, Abiodun Onakoya and Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel , however fell short. They came fifth, after Jamaica.
National indoor champion Vernon Norwood anchored the USA squad to a 3:02.45 win, the third-fastest time ever indoors, just 0.33 seconds shy of the world record they set two years ago in Sopot. Bahamas (3:04.75) and Trinidad and Tobago (3:05.51) produced national indoor records to complete the medallists.
Kyle Clemons, the 2014 world indoor 400m bronze medallist, took the US squad to the front with a 46.47 first leg, closely followed by Olympic champions The Bahamas, thanks to superb run by Michael Mathieu.
Calvin Smith, who anchored the team to a world record of 3:02.13 in 2014, kept the US team in the lead with 45.66 leg to hit the half way mark in 1:32.13. The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Belgium, featuring the three Borlee brothers, were right on their heels.
Chris Giesting, the fastest leg runner in the heats, produced another superb run (45.34) to build up an unsurmountable lead as Norwood took the baton with the clock at 2:17.47.
Determined to erase the disqualification in the individual 400m, Norwood clocked an impressive 44.98 anchor leg to the delight of the packed stadium. The host nation finished with a record 23 medals, including 13 gold.
As the teams started the penultimate leg, Robin Vanderbemdem dropped the baton and left Belgium out of contention for the medals.
After five consecutive individual world indoor medals, including gold in 2010, anchor runner Chris Brown held off Trinidad and Tobago’s Deon Lendore to give The Bahamas its first world indoor medal in the relays.
Jamaica, the 2014 bronze medallists, finished fourth with a season’s best of 3:06.02.
In the women’s relay, USA also dominated, edging out Poland and Romania to second and third places. Nigerian girls came in fourth , with a season best time of 3:34.03. In the race for Nigeria were Margaret Bambgbose, Regina George, Tameka Jameson and Ada Benjamin.
The USA quartet made up of Natasha Hastings, Quanera Hayes, Courtney Okolo and Ashley Spencer returned a world record of 3:26.38. The Jamaica girls were disqualified.
Overall, Team USA led the medals table with 23 medals, 13 of them gold. Ethiopia came second with five medals, with two gold. France was third with four medals, one gold, 2 silver and one bronze. Jamaica came fourth with three medals and Burundi, fifth with two medals, one of them gold.