Men’s 4x400m relay team fails to qualify for final
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 19, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – The men’s 4x100 meter (m) relay team had high aspirations of making the final here in Moscow, Russia, and salvaging an up-and-down trip to these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, but anytime you run a national record, you certainly can’t be dissatisfied.
The team started off these championships in turmoil with the absence of national record holder Derrick Atkins due to injury, and the absence of Trevorvano Mackey, who reportedly failed a drug test. Not to mention, Warren Fraser came down with a virus here in Moscow, and had to be placed on drips for a couple days.
Fraser recovered, and the four courageous men who ran for The Bahamas yesterday, Adrian Griffith, Fraser, Jamial Rolle and Shavez Hart, bonded together and pulled off The Bahamas’ best performance in the event, ever.
The quartet ran a national record time of 38.70 seconds to finish sixth in their heat, and 14th overall. It was the third time in two months that the national record was broken in the event after not being touched for 13 years - twice at the Sr. Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships in Morelia, Mexico, in July, and here in Moscow, Russia, for the new mark.
“I felt pretty good. It’s a blessing to be here first of all and I thank God for that,” said lead-off leg Griffith. “We came here and did what we had to do, so I’m happy with that. I can’t be disappointed at all, because we did great.
“I just wanted to open it up and give it to Warren in a good position. I felt if we had some more meets, we could have gotten some ‘pep in our step’, but did what we did. I’m just excited and proud of these guys,” he added.
The final qualifying time for the final, was 38.41 seconds. A Jamaican team anchored by the world’s fastest human Usain Bolt went on to win the gold medal in the final in a world-leading time of 37.36 seconds, the United States, anchored by Justin Gatlin, took the silver medal, in 37.66 seconds, and Great Britain won the bronze medal, in 37.80 seconds.
“The key right now is to gel. Once we get those guys aboard next year for the world relays (Atkins and Mackey), we should be okay,” said Griffith.
Fraser, who was hampered all of last week with a stomach virus, said that he just wanted to go out there and give it all he had, which he did.
“This was my first time on the relay team, and I went out there and ran my heart out. My heart and my lungs almost came out of my chest,” said Fraser. “I gave it all I had and I’m just glad that we had a respectable showing.
“I’m glad that I came back right in time to run. It was only four of us, and we made it work. I just thank God for that. My voice is still a lil scratchy but I gave it all I had. This is the first time that we have all of these guys running, and everyone is healthy, so you could look forward to a national record every time you see us on the track.”
Fraser has a lifetime best of 10.18 in the open century, tied with two others for third best mark in Bahamian history. Jamial Rolle, who considers himself the “old” guy of the team, ran the third leg for Team Bahamas, and said that he just wanted to get the stick around, and get it to anchor leg Hart in a good position.
“I’m just happy to be here and do my part,” said Rolle yesterday. “Obviously, we’re disappointed that we didn’t get in the final, but we have to thank God for small mercies. Year by year, men’s sprinting is improving in The Bahamas and we’re doing our thing on the world stage.
“This is a great group of guys coming up. In years past, we have always had like about two good guys and then about two okay guys. This year, we had six legitimate fast guys. That way, plugging guys in and out, I didn’t see that making a big difference in terms of time and talent.
“We had a pretty even field of guys. Hopefully, people back home and Corporate Bahamas could look at this result and get on board with men’s sprinting in The Bahamas.”
Anchor leg Hart is just 20-years-old. Still he is the second fastest Bahamian ever, with his personal best clocking of 10.16 seconds this year. He went out in the first round of the men’s 100m here in Moscow, finishing 36th overall, in 10.36 seconds. He wanted to come out here in the relay and atone for that performance.
“I felt good about my leg. I just wanted to go out there and execute. Everyone did as good as they could do today. We’re going to have an even better chance in the future because we have time to grow and even gather more experience,” said Hart. “The first thing I thought when I got the stick was to make up ground as much as possible. The more I tried to make up ground, the closer the finish line was coming. I just had to hold form and bring us home.
“After the 100 meters, I really wanted to go out there and make amends. I know that I am in good shape and prepared, and I was disappointed after the 100m, so this one took a lot of pressure off me.
Athletes such as Hart, Shaunae Miller and Anthonique Strachan represent the future of Bahamian sprinting. Hart is just 20, and both Miller and Strachan are 19-years-old.
“In three years in Rio (2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), I think that The Bahamas will be dominating,” said Hart. “With the athletes that we have now, everybody is 23 or younger, so when we reach our prime, we will be able to dominate our field. When it is our time to take over, I think that we’ll put The Bahamas on the map,” he added.
Hart, himself, has already proven that he has arrived and is on the scene. He anchored each of the three national record setting teams over the past two months. Just imagine what this team would have been able to do with Atkins and Mackey in the mix.