Candace Hill anchors the USA to gold in the 4x100m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (© Getty Images)
Few expected the US women to be challenged in Saturday evening’s 4x100m final, given that they had won this title at the past six editions of these championships and were sending a formidable quartet into action for the 2016 edition.
After they executed some slick baton exchanges, that’s exactly how it turned out, with individual 100m champion Candace Hill powering away from her rivals down the home straight to give her nation their ninth gold medal of the championships.
Tia Jones led them off, handing over to Taylor Bennett in second place. At that point, it was the Germans who led, with Ireland also in medal contention on the outside and France making strong inroads in lane three.
Kaylor Harris handed over to Candace Hill for the final leg with the US team in third position, fractionally behind France and Germany.
From there, the result seemed inevitable, and Hill duly routed her two competitors down the final stretch, pulling away with every stride to win in 43.69, which was unsurprisingly the fastest time in the world by an U20 team this year.
“It’s incredible to run with such a fast group of girls,” said Hill. “We did an awesome job.”
France came out on top in the battle for the minor medals, with Estelle Raffai edging Germany’s Chantal Butzek, 44.05 to 44.18.
“We messed up one of the handovers a bit, but overall it went well,” said Fanny Peltier, France's third-leg runner. “We wanted to get first place but we had come to this competition with the third fastest time, so we were not sure we would place so high.”
Poland powered home from the inside lane, with 100m silver medallist Ewa Swoboda snatching fourth place on the line from Ireland’s Ciara Neville, the Polish team clocking 44.81. Back in fifth, the Irish quartet took 0.27 off their national U20 record with 44.82.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF