Winning Jamaican team: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter next to the clock showing the new world record of 36.84 in the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Moscow, Russia

Men's 4x100m Relay – Preview

Once again, much of the pre-race attention will be thrust on the familiar Jamaica v USA battle with the Caribbean nation seeking to maintain their recent dominance and secure a hat-trick of World titles.

Any team with six-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt in its ranks represents formidable opponents and even in the absence of 2011 World 100m champion Yohan Blake, the Jamaicans have sufficient class to justifiably be installed pre-race favourites.

Three other members of the relay pool – Nesta Carter (9.87), Kemar Bailey-Cole (9.96) and Nickel Ashmeade (9.99) – have all dipped below ten seconds in 2013 and the reigning Olympic champions will be tough to beat.

Predictably, their main opposition should come from the USA, although it is six long years since the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ has been heard during the men’s 4x100m Relay medal ceremony at a major global championship.

Olympic 100m bronze medallist Justin Gatlin is supported by sub-10-second sprinters Michael Rodgers and Charles Silmon, and the trio should form the rump of a US squad missing one or two more familiar names.

The scramble behind the world's two pre-eminent sprinting nations is wide open.

Canada currently sit in third place on the 2013 world lists after recording a respectable 38.33 in Monaco. They have a strong all-round team led by Aaron Brown (10.05) and are a quality outfit capable of a good showing.

Besides Jamaica, other Caribbean nations are expected to figure strongly. Trinidad and Tobago, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallists, can boast of Keston Bledman, who is a 9.86 100m runner at his best, and the 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallists Richard Thompson in their squad and must be respected.

The surprise 2011 World Championships bronze medallists St Kitts and Nevis team hope to prosper again and are led by Antoine Adams and Jason Rogers, who have both ran 10.01 this season.

Great Britain lead the European rankings with 38.39 after taking victory at the European Team Championships and with 9.91 man James Dasaolu and Dwain Chambers, who has run 10.04 this year, in their team they also have medal credentials, having finished third in 2007 and 2009.

Meanwhile, France, the 2011 World silver medallists who just finished fourth and missed out on a medal by 0.04 at the Olympics, have Jimmy Vicaut (9.95) and European 100m champion Christophe Lemaitre in their relay pool team and should also be podium contenders.

Other nations to keep an eye on, at least for places in the final, are: The Netherlands, who won the 2012 European title and are very accomplished at getting the baton from one man to another, 2013 World University Games gold medallists Ukraine, and Germany, and the latter clocked 38.13 in a warm up meeting in Weinheim on 2 August to move up to second in the 2013 world lists ahead of Moscow.

Japan, the fifth=place finishers at the Olympic Games, can boast of the 17-year-old prodigy Yoshihide Kiryu in their squad, and their fortunes will be followed with interest.

Click here for OFFICIAL ENTRIES in the Moscow 2013 Athletes section.

Steve Landells for the IAAF