Olympic athletics: Jamaica, T&T in hunt for relay glory
London: Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago will vie for three medals after booking spots in Saturday`s sprint and distance relay finals slated for the penultimate day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
While powerhouses Jamaica will have two chances for medals in the men`s 4x100 metres and women`s 4x400 metres, Trinidad & Tobago can only benefit from the men`s sprint relay, reports CMC.
The men`s 4x100m will see Jamaica going for the world record of 37.04 seconds while United States will be the team to beat in the women`s 4x400m.
In the women`s 4x400m qualifying Friday, Christine Day gave Jamaica a good start, but it was Shereefa Lloyd who took it away before Shericka Williams increased the lead to hand over to Rosemarie Whyte, ten metres ahead of Ukraine and France.
Whyte, a finalist in the 400m, took her team across the line in three minutes, 25.13 seconds.
The US, however, without Sanya Richards-Ross, ran 3:22.09 thanks to Keshia Baker; Francena McCorory; Diamond Dixon; Deedee Trotter. Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix, both gold medallists at the Games, could be drafted in for the final.
Williams, however, who admitted to being "a little bit rusty" for the heats after having gotten her first outing, said she was looking forward to a tough race with USA.
"We can go out there and pressure them (USA) for the gold, once we go out and execute properly," she noted.
France (3:25.94), Nigeria (3:26.29), Russia (3:23.11), Great Britain (3:25.05), and Czech Republic (3:26.20) are the other teams through to the final.
Later in the men`s 4x100m, three athletes - Nesta Carter, Captain Michael Frater and anchorman Kemar Bailey-Cole - got their first taste of action in the Games as Jamaica captured their qualifying heat in 37.39 seconds.
After taking over from Carter, Frater was impressive on the backstretch as he took the baton to double sprint silver medallist Yohan Blake, who turned over to Bailey-Cole, the rookie on the team.
"I think we did a marvellous job," Frater said about getting the team into the final.
"This is the most we have practiced in all my years coming to a national team, so I think we executed pretty well out there, so it`s just a matter of putting in the final piece for Saturday`s final."
There was no sign of repeat Olympic sprint double champion Usain Bolt who was rested.
In the second semi-final, Richard Thompson set the tone for Trinidad & Tobago as the team, which also included Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman, finished third in 38.10, behind USA (37.39) and Japan (38.07).
The Netherlands (38.29) France (38.15) and Australia (38.17) are the other teams in Saturday`s final.