Borlees inspire Belgium to 4x400m relay gold
|Kevin Borlee guided Belgium to gold medal in 4x400
relay on Sunday.
With 100m to go, the classic situation was building with one team in the lead – in this case Great Britain represented by Richard Buck, and Belgium with Kevin Borlée on his shoulder.
As Borlée kicked and came up level with the Briton, the crowd responded and roared at the drama of it all.
Buck fought back for a few metres but the Belgian’s superior form showed and he started to open up clear water. The race for gold was decided and Belgium won in a European leading 3:01.09 and improve on bronze from Barcelona
Buck, meanwhile, was being threatened by Germany’s Thomas Schneider, but the Briton who had finished fifth in the 400m final was never seriously threatened and took silver 0.47 back with Germany ending with bronze a further 0.21 in arrears.
“This race was preparation for the Olympics,” said Borlée.
“It's great to finish the games with a gold medal. The secret to our family of fast runners is a good team spirit.”
“It was awesome and fast,” said Germany’s Gaba.
“We don’t have anything to complain about. For years we had to be satisfied with fourth, now, finally, we got a medal.”
As the gun went and the race got under way, Britain’s Nigel Levine chose this moment to adjust the sunglasses on his face as he rose from the blocks.
Since this was a 400m leg, it did not matter too much, but it hardly looked promising.
As things turned out, Levine delivered a fine leg (45.4) to hand over first to teammate Conrad Williams. At this stage Belgium were seventh after a 46.5 leg from Antoine Gillet.
Kamghe Gaba took over for the German quartet while Jonathan Borlée, who had finished just out of the medals in the 200m, took the baton and delivered a storming 44.3 to move into second at the handover.
Battling furiously to get on terms were the French with Toumane Coulibaly and the Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak who moved from sixth to hand over in the bronze medal position to Josef Prorok.
Upfront, Robert Tobin had taken over the responsibility and he was still in the lead when he handed over to Buck and the final act began.
Behind Buck, as they entered the back straight, Kevin Borlée, the 2010 individual champion was eating up the ground.
Not surprisingly, given the way he went past Buck, his was the fastest leg of the entire relay: 44.22.
Buck was timed at 45.31 while in bronze for Germany’s Schneider, who took over in fourth, ran an excellent 44.73 but had been left with too much to do to close the gap on the Briton.