Swiety-Ersetic anchors Poland to victory in the 4x400m in Yokohama

Justyna Swiety-Ersetic
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European 400m champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic anchored Poland to victory in the women's 4x400m relay at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama in Japan

Justyna Swiety-Ersetic has anchored Poland to European indoor and outdoor 4x400m relay titles over the last nine months and they were to add to their title haul at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan on Sunday (12).

Despite the absence of some of their leading exponents, the United States were still expected to extend their unbeaten streak in this event at the IAAF World Relays but a near full-strength Polish team rose to the occasion brilliantly with victory in 3:27.49.

Six teams were still in contention for the medals off the final bend but Swiety-Ersetic - who won two gold medals at the European Championships last summer in the space of two hours - made that strength show, overhauling Jamaica’s Janieve Russell and holding off a late charge from world indoor champion Courtney Okolo from the United States.

The United States had to settle for second - their first ever defeat in the event at the IAAF World Relays - in 3:27.65 while the Italians came through well for third in 3:27.74. Jamaica faded to fifth in 3:28.30.

The Polish team was almost identical to the one that swept to the title at the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships with only former European U20 champion Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz replacing Iga Baumgart-Witan.

After Malgorzata Holub-Kowalik opened with 52.6, Wyciszkiewicz kept the Poles in contention with 51.1 on the second leg before Anna Kielbasinska gave Swiety-Ersetic a narrow lead courtesy of 52.1 on the third leg. Swiety-Ersetic duly brought the baton home in the lead with a 51.6 split on anchor.

With the United States disqualified for a lane infringement, Belgium were promoted to third in the men’s 4x400m relay in 3:02.70. World champions Trinidad & Tobago won in a world-leading 3:00.81 from Jamaica in 3:01.57.

After setting a world-leading time of 38.11 in the heats, world and European champions Great Britain had to settle for third in the men’s 4x100m relay final in 38.15. Brazil eclipsed their world-leading time in the final in 38.05, upsetting the United States whose team included Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles by 0.02.

The Germans were the best of the Europeans in the women’s 4x100m relay, finishing third in 43.68 behind the United States (43.27) and Jamaica (43.29). European champions Great Britain fumbled the baton in the heats but there was a notable performance from Denmark who won heat two in a national record of 43.90.

Not only did the Danes break the 44 second-barrier for the first time ever, they also qualified automatically for the IAAF World Championships in Doha later this season.

In the women’s 4x200m relay, France took advantage of some sloppy baton changes by Jamaica and the United States to win the title from lane nine in 1:32.16 from China (1:32.76) and Jamaica (1:33.21).