While it’s true that you’re only as strong as your weakest link, it’s also true, at least when it comes to relays, that it helps a lot to have the strongest link.
When scanning the 4x100m teams, there’s no doubt that in that respect, USA is the nation with the ace in the hole. Twanisha Terry has clocked 10.99 this year and claimed the US U20 title last month in 11.24, and the 19-year-old will have some strong back-up in Tampere in the form of teammates Daija Lampkin, Jayla Kirkland and Tamara Clark, who all broke 11.40 into a headwind (-1.1m/s) at their national trials.
If they manage to get the baton around, they should have too much pace for their rivals and retain the title, though Jamaica will be hoping to atone for their predecessors’ error at the last edition of these championships when they were disqualified for a lane violation. Their team will be headed by 16-year-old star Briana Williams, who has clocked 11.13 this year and she will be joined by a trio from Kimone Shaw, Ackera Nugent, Kemba Nelson, Ockera Myrie and Fredricka McKenzie.
Germany took bronze in Bydgoszcz two years ago and returning for them is Keshia Kwadwo, who will be a medal contender in the 100m with her best of 11.33. The British quartet should also feature in the medal shake-up, where Kristal Awuah is their strongest member with a best of 11.37 this year.
France, silver medallists two years ago, is again sure to feature towards the front, while Ireland may also be in contention for a minor medal with Gina Akpe-Moses, the European U20 100m champion, in their squad.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF