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Event Report: Women 4x100m Heats

The USA went through without a hitch to enter the final as firm favourites with a world leading 42.24.

That eclipses the year’s fastest coming into these championships by the Russian squad by over half a second.

The fastest three qualifiers for the final all came from heat two, the Jamaican and British quartets recording 42.70 and 42.82 respectively.

In the first heat, Kim Gevaert had a storming run on the anchor leg to bring Belgium home first in a national record of 42.85.

After a faultless run for three legs, the Russians almost came to grief on the final handover when the anchor, Yevgeniya Polyakova, took off too soon.

A scream from incoming Yuliya Gushchina brought her almost to a halt and the loss of momentum gave Gevaert the gap she needed to capitalise.

The third qualifier by right were Belarus.

The USA quartet of Carmelita Jeter, Mechelle Lewis , Mikele Barber and Lauryn Willaims gave a well-drilled exhibition to set a world leading 42.24 in the second heat.

Led off by 100m World bronze medallist Jeter, the Americans staged an impeccable display, crossing the line almost half a second clear of Jamaica.

But with the Jamaicans strengthened by 100m gold medallist, Veronica Campbell, in the final, they should give the Americans a closer race.

Clear in third to grab the last qualifying slot by right was Great Britain anchored by Joice Maduaka in 42.82.

Going through as fastest losers were Poland and China.

Germany and Cuba were disqualified from heat two.

Osaka 2007 News Team/mb