Poland set relay world record at indoor championship
Poland’s sensational 400 metres relay men and inspired British hurdler Andrew Pozzi transformed the final day of the world indoor championships into an athletics celebration on Sunday (March 4).
The Polish 4×400 metres relay quartet of Karol Zalewski, Rafal Omelko, Lukasz Krawczuk and Jakub Krzewina set a world indoor record of three minutes 01.77 seconds in the last track event of the four day championships in Birmingham, downing a US foursome seen by some as invincible.
Krzewina swept past a tiring Vernon Norwood with a magnificent anchor leg after the Americans had led throughout and had looked on course to break the record themselves.
In the men’s 1500m the 18-year-old Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia swept in at the end to win the race with Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski pipping Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider for the silver medal at the finish line.
Tefera becomes the youngest-ever 1500 metres champion.
Burundi’s Oregon-based Francine Niyonsaba was in a class of her own in defending her 800 metres title in one minute 58.31 seconds, the fastest time in the world in 2018.
The Birmingham audience had something to cheer when Andrew Pozzi won the 60m hurdles by one-hundredth of a second.
The Briton prevailed in the tightest dip for the line in 7.46 seconds, ousting American Jarret Eaton by such a close margin it went to a photograph for confirmation.
Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, still only 20, successfully retained his 3,000 metres crown in a manner as emphatic as his compatriot Genzebe Dibaba’s win in the women’s 3,000 on Thursday.
Fellow Ethiopian Selemon Barega took silver, missing out on his bid to become the youngest-ever world indoor winner at 18 years and 43 days.
American long jumper Brittney Reese failed in her bid for a fourth world indoor crown, having to settle instead for silver as Serbian Ivana Spanovic produced the best leap of the year, 6.96 metres.
A familiar duel between the world’s top two pole vaulters saw France’s Renaud Lavillenie regain ascendancy over his U.S. rival Sam Kendricks, with a winning effort of 5.90 metres.
The women’s 4×400 metres relay race became a muddle of claim and counter-claim as disqualifications rejuggled the order.
What was certain was that the USA team took the gold medal.
The Jamaican team who finished second were disqualified from the silver medals for an infringement at the changeover. This moved Poland from bronze to silver, and Great Britain from fourth to the bronze medal.
Then Great Britain were disqualified for obstruction, and Ukraine appeared to be in the bronze medal position.
Four teams lodged appeals – silver medallists Poland, Great Britain, Ukraine and Jamaica – and of these only the Great Britain appeal was granted after judges viewed video evidence.
So Great Britain was reinstated in bronze medal position nearly two hours after the event, and medals presented.