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Event report: Women’s 4x400m Relay Heats

A worldleading 3min 23.49sec by Russia in the first heat was capped by the United States quartet in the second heat by 0.12.

On the opening leg of the first heat, Nigeria’s Olushade Abugan went into a lead at the 200m mark, but coming into the straight, Jamaica and Belarus had drawn level with the Russian lead-off, Yelena Migunova, 1m behind.

By the time the stagger unwound, Russia’s Natalya Nazarova had taken a 5m lead with Belarus and Nigeria a further 10m down but in a qualifying position.

The top three stayed that way but Davita Prendergast was pulling Jamaica closer to the Nigerians, eventually handing over third to Shereefa Lloyd.

Up front Russia was maintaining a 20m gap and was safe, followed by 400m finalist Svetlana Usovich isolated in second for Belarus.

Shereefa Lloyd made sure for Jamaica despite last lap heroics from Cuba’s Indira Terrero who brought her squad up to fourth, overtaking Nigeria.

Terrero had had to make up for a below-par leg from Zuliya Calatayud and Cuba was rewarded with a place in the final as one of the two fastest losers.     

In the second heat, Lee McConnell, for Great Britain, held a slender lead over the United State’s DeeDee Trotter at the first changeover, but by the break, Monique Hennagan had taken a lead for the Americans.

Twenty metres back were Poland and Mexico, who were having a battle for the third qualifying spot by right.

The order was maintained until the end despite former world champion, Ana Guevara, doing her utmost to close the gap on the Polish anchor, 400m hurdling bronze Ana Jesien.

But Jesien spotted the danger and leaving something in reserve, went away again to secure third.

Guevara’s efforts were to reward her team with a national record and a place in the final as fastest losers.

Osaka 2007 News Team/mb