Men’s 4x400m relay team fails to qualify for final
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 16, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – For the second consecutive world outdoor championships, The Bahamas is out of the final of arguably its best event; but this time the fault was a number of injured athletes as opposed to a coaching error.
Three of the ‘Golden Knights’ which brought home the hardware from the London Olympics last year, were missing from the heats of the men’s 4x400 meters (m) at the Luzhniki Big Sports Arena, and it showed early.
National record holder Chris ‘The Fireman’ Brown was the only remaining member of the ‘Golden Knights’ in action yesterday – Demetrius Pinder went down at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI), Ramon Miller re-aggravated a hamstring injury during these same 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, and Michael Mathieu is still experiencing a setback from an injury sustained at the BTC National Open Track and Field Championships in June.
The team of Brown, Wesley Neymour, LaToy Williams and Ojay Ferguson, in that order ran 3:02.67 to finish fourth in the semi-final heat and miss out on the final. Only the top two finishers in each heat and the next two fastest times qualified for the final. The Bahamas finished 13th overall.
The team was in contention for the entire relay, and even had a lead on the final leg, but Ferguson who is just 19-years-old, faded on the home stretch, allowing three runners to past him. According to reports, Ferguson was battling with flu like symptoms and gave it all he had, but just didn’t have the strength to bring it home.
“I’m proud of these guys. It was good for them to go out there and get the experience,” said Brown yesterday. “This can only make them hungrier going into next year. We have to put this one behind us. It’s over and done with, and we have to move on.
“I had fun running with these guys and I’d do it again. They are a new group of guys just gaining experience, and I’m just happy that everyone was able to come out here and give 100 percent.”
Brown, who started off the relay, said that it was particularly tough for him, with him bowing out of the open 400 meters and the relay before making either final. He added that “there is nothing that happens before its time” and he just thanks the Lord for staying healthy this season.
“Hopefully when the entire team is healthy next year, we can come back and really put something together and shock the world,” said Brown.
There was even a little mix up coming to the end of Brown’s lead-off leg as the Russian runner appeared to cross over into Brown’s lane causing a slight collision.
“Really and truly, I was trying to figure out what was going on,” said Brown. “It threw me off and I just said that I have to do what I have to do, and pray for the best.”
Be that as it may, the results stood, sending host country Russia and Australia through to the final from that heat. Russia won that heat in 3:01.81, the Aussies were second in 3:02.48, and Germany rounded out the top three in 3:02.62. The Bahamas was fourth.
Second leg runner Neymour said that he was excited to get on the track and just wanted to do his part to help the team qualify. Unfortunately, they came up short.
“I feel great – no worries,” said Neymour. “Next year is right there. We’ll just go back to the drawing board, and hopefully get things together for the Commonwealth Games. This was huge for me. I’m disappointed, but I knew that it was going to be a hard task. Every day I leave it on the track. We’re still the Olympic Champions and we’ll defend that title in Rio in 2016.”
Neymour brought the stick in to Williams in second place, and the lanky Grand Bahamian ran a stellar leg to hand off to Ferguson with the lead.
“I just went out and tried to do what I can. I knew that it was my duty as a third runner to bring the team within striking distance so the last leg could be as comfortable as possible and that’s what I did,” said Williams. “I came out very hungry saying that I had a point to prove. I was kind of disappointed with the last leg, but things happen. He’s a rookie on this stage and that disappointment that he is feeling is going to make him hungrier for next year.”
Williams, who struggled in the open 400m, failing to make it out of the first round, ran a strong leg for The Bahamas yesterday to make amends. He is reminding Bahamians that two years ago The Bahamas didn’t make the final at the world championships, and the following year, the country won the gold medal at the London Olympics. He said he believes this loss is going to make them even hungrier for next year and beyond.
Ferguson, who faded down the stretch on the anchor leg, battled flu-like symptoms and was unable to give an interview to reporters afterwards.