Armed with a formidable quartet comprising of veterans LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay, and the younger duo of Arman Hall and Gil Roberts, USA looked good for GOLD and sailed to a Season’s Best (SB) of 2:57.30 to reclaim the title from the Bahamas who won the crown at the London 2012 Olympics.
Not even the brilliant anchor leg run by Jamaica’s Javon Francis could stop the Americans who dominated the race from start to finish, after Hall established the lead in the first leg where he ran an impressive race.
Jamaica came in 2nd in an SB of 2:58.16, taking over from Botswana who had maintained 2nd position until the final leg, while the Bahamian team anchored by the ever present Chris Brown, overcame the challenge from the Belgians to win Bronze in an SB of 2:58.49.
This is Brown’s fourth Olympic relay medal after winning Bronze at Sydney 2000, Silver in Beijing 2008 and GOLD in London 2012. Belgium finished 4th in a National Record (NR) of 2:58.52.
Botswana put up an impressive performance in the earlier moments of the race after a fantastic start by former African Champion Isaac Makwala who handed the baton to Karabo Sibanda. The youngster also ran an impressive second leg, handing the stick to Onkabetse Nkobolo in 1st position.
Gaone Leaname Maotoanong collected the baton in 2nd place but had to contend with his more experienced rivals in Merritt for the US, Jamaica’s Francis, Brown for the Bahamas and Belgian Kévin Borlée.
Seeing that he was being overtaken by Francis, Maotoanong tried to push harder but ended up losing balance, almost stumbling before crossing the finishing line in 5th. However the squad improved on their NR from the previous day, setting a new time of 2:59.06 instead.