Natasha Hastings of USA celebrates a new World Junior record in the 4x400m Relay Final (© Getty Images)
American sprinters produced exceptional performances on the last day of the 10th IAAF World Junior Championships as they swept the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400m relays and set three World Junior records with only the women’s 4x100m team falling short of the world junior mark.
Shalonda Solomon (World Juniors 4x100m relay champion): I could not see the other lanes in front of me, but once I got the baton I saw we were in third-place. I knew I had to make up the ground for the team. I was trying to maintain and focus on to finish first pumping my arms all the way through. I knew my technique was the key to the finish.
Ashley Owens (World Juniors 4x100m relay champion): I thought, push, push, push; drive, drive, drive; down, down, down and exchange the baton. For some reason I could not get the baton to Juanita’s (Broaddus) hand without any hesitation, but we got it this time. I was trying to focus on the middle of her hand for the exchange. We were pretty confident since we have the gold and sliver medalist along with Shalonda (Solomon) and Juanita (Broaddus) a 200m specialist, that we would pull out another gold medal for Team USA.
Alexandria Anderson (4x400m relays world junior record): I was not that nervous, I knew what I had to do. I was actually happy that my split was faster today. I had to go out there and get the baton to Ashlee (Kidd) and to get out fast my first 300 metres and bring it in on my last 100 metres. That is what the first leg does. I fell out after I finished my leg, but I am so happy because I am a world junior record holder.
David “Trell” Kimmons (4x100m relays world junior record): I just wanted to get the baton to the second leg as fast as I could. My focus was to get out in front first for a smooth exchange. It feels good to set a world junior record. This was a fast track and one of the best that I’ve run on.
Demi Omole (4x100m relays world junior record): My main goal was to catch anyone outside of my lane as I ran hard as I could. Once I gave it (baton) to Ivory (Williams), I knew it was all done with the (world junior) record.
Ivory Williams (4x100m relay world junior record): I wanted to stay relaxed and calm. I was yelling at LaShawn (Merritt) to run, run, run when I handed the baton to him.
Kerron Clement (4x400m relay world junior record): My job was to bring home the gold and give Team USA another win. We were going for the record from the beginning.
LaShawn Merritt (4x100m and 4x400m world junior record): I was not planning to run yesterday, but I knew I could do it today and try to run faster. I knew we had a good team, good enough to break both 4x100m and 4x400m relay records tonight. In the 4x400m, the baton was not as hard as the 4x100m. My job running the second leg (4x400m) was to run the 200m hard and expand the lead since I never ran second leg before. I could not tell if I was running hard or not
because I was out by myself. I just kept turning my legs over.
Melvin Jackson, II for the IAAF