NASSAU, Bahamas (Sporting Alert) — The United States dominated the first day at the IAAF World Relays 2015 in Bahamas on Saturday.
The Americans won three of the four finals that took place on the opening day, including the men’s 4x100m, as Ryan Bailey held off Usain Bolt to strike gold, while the women’s distance medley team set a new World Record.
After posting 37.87 seconds to win their heat, USA’s team of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey produced an impressive world-leading and championship record time of 37.38 secs to beat the Bolt led Jamaican quartet.
Rodgers gave the Americans a solid start, but it was Gatlin who setup the victory with an impressive second leg — outpacing Kemar Bailey-Cole of Jamaica — before Gay and Bailey did the rest.
World record holders Jamaica, running without the likes of Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, finished second in a season best time of 37.68 secs, with Japan taking third in 38.20.
Brazil (38.63), France (38.81) St. Kitts and Nevis (38.85), Trinidad and Tobago (38.92) and Germany (39.40) completed the final.
Great Britain and N.I. won the B Final in 38.67 ahead of Barbados, who ran back-to-back national records on the day and ended with 38.70.
It was also a good day for USA in the women’s distance medley after the team of Treniere Moser (1200m), Sanya Richards-Ross (400m), Ajee Wilson (800m) and Shannon Rowbury (1600m) shattered the world record by more than six seconds.
The group produced a winning time of 10:36.50 to better the previous mark of 10:42.57, achieved earlier this season by a different American lineup during the indoor campaign.
Kenya set an African record of 10:43.35 on their way to picking up the silver medal, with Poland setting a new European record of 10:45.32 for third place.
USA’s other gold medal at the IAAF World Relays 2015 came in the men’s 4x800m after the North American powerhouses crossed the line in 7:04:84.
Kenya crossed the line in second place, but were later disqualified for an out of zone baton exchange, with Poland being promoted to the silver in 7:09:98.
Australia took third in 7:16.30 with Mexico, the only other country to start the race, finishing fourth with 7:22.61.
There was nothing for the United States to celebrate about though in the women’s 4×200, as their world record attempt ended in disaster after Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix failed to make the exchange on the final leg and opened the doors for Nigeria to strike gold.
Strong legs by Shalonda Solomon, Kimberlyn Duncan and Jeneba Tarmoh gave USA a commanding lead after the first three legs, but their misfortune came on the final exchange when Tarmoh, stretching to make the change to Felix, bumped into the anchor runner before they fell to the ground.
In the midst of that drama, Nigeria, with World bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare leading the way, raced home in a world-leading and national record of 1:30.52.
A weaken Jamaican squad that included 2004 and 2008 Olympic half lap champion Veronica Campbell-Brown struggled to keep pace and finished a distant second in 1:31.73, with the bronze going to Germany in 1:33.61.
China set an Asian record of 1:34.89 for fourth, while Ireland recorded a new national record of 1:36.90 for fifth place.
The World Relays Bahamas 2015 concludes on Sunday with the men’s 4x400m and 4x200m, as well as the women’s 4x100m finals all up for grabs.