Rai Benjamin brings it home for the US men's 4x400m relay squad at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
Returning to their vintage best, the USA regained the men’s 4x400m world title with the fastest time for 11 years with a typically dominant performance.
Having surprisingly forfeited the title to Trinidad & Tobago two years ago in London their team of Fred Kerley, Michael Cherry, Wil London and Rai Benjamin stormed around four laps of the Khalifia International Stadium in a world leading time of 2:56.69.
Perennial silver medallists Jamaica once more earned second spot on the podium in a season’s best of 2:57.90. There was delight for Belgium, who finally claimed a podium position in a season’s best 2:58.78 for bronze having finished a frustrating fourth at four of the past five World Championships.
In the concluding race of what has been the finest World Championships in history in terms of quality and depth, the US quartet powered by a 43.4 first leg by Kerley, the individual 400m bronze medallist, established early control of the race.
Coming off the stagger on the beginning of the back straight on leg two, Jamaica were the USA’s nearest pursuers followed by Colombia, Belgium and Trinidad who were locked in close order.
Nathon Allen of Jamaica quickly close down the 8m gap on Cherry but Allen was to pay for his efforts down the home straight as the US maintained their first leg advantage by the second handover.
On leg three, London, who like Cherry had earlier struck gold in the inaugural World Championship mixed relay, continued to pour on the pressure and leading into the final exchange the American’s held a 10m lead on Jamaica. A quality third leg by Dylan Borlee had enabled the Belgian to eke out a five metre advantage on the pursuing Colombians.
There was little change on the final leg. Rai Benjamin, the 400m hurdles silver medallist, could enjoy the final leg as he helped the US plunder a tenth world men’s 4x400m title.
Jamaica’s Demish Gaye, who was fourth in the men’s individual 400m guided the Caribbean nation home to a seventh world silver medal in this event.
Kevin Borlee held off world 400m silver medallist Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia on anchor to finally deliver Belgium’s elusive first world medal in this event. Colombia had to be content with a national record of 2:59.50 in fourth. The 2017 champions Trinidad & Tobago banked fifth in 3:00.74.
Steve Landells for the IAAF