Individual 100m champion Noah Lyles anchored the US to a thrilling – and fast – fifth consecutive victory in the 4x100m relay where they narrowly edged an inspired Japanese quartet.
Michael Norman, the 200m champion, Hakim Montgomery, Brandon Tayor and Lyles teamed up to clock 38.93, the fastest U20 performance in the world this season, and equaling the fifth fastest ever, just ahead of Japan – Ippei Takeda, Jun Yamashita, Wateru Inuzuka and Kenta Oshima – who clocked 39.01, an Asian U20 record.
The US, Japan, Germany and Jamaica, running in lane nine, were fairly even after the first exchange, with Montgomery forging a narrow lead for the US as he approached the second exchange. Inuzuka, however, made up the deficit on the third leg, giving Oshima a metre’s advantage on the anchor leg.
For the first 50 metres, Oshima didn’t forfeit a foot to Lyles, who shifted gears with 40 metres remaining to gradually catch and pull away from Oshima.
The battle for bronze was even closer. Indeed, the closest ever at these championships in deciding a medal.
Anchors De'Jour Russell for Jamaica and Manuel Eitel for Germany ran stride for stride down the home stretch, crossing the line in a virtual dead heat in 39.13. A read of the photo gave the edge to Germany by just four thousandths of a second, 43.125 to 43.129. For Germany it was a national U20 record, for Jamaica the fastest non-medal-winning performance in the history of these championships.
A step back, it took another close photo examination to separate Australia and Great Britain & Northern Ireland for fifth. Australia got the nod as both were credited with 39.57.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF