Updated: Monday, 26 May 2014 09:43 | By Agence France-Presse

Blake at the double as Kenya smash record at IAAF World Relays

Yohan Blake made up for the absence of Usain Bolt by claiming a second gold at the IAAF World Relays, anchoring his Jamaican team to 4x100m victory in a second day of scintillating action Sunday.


Blake at the double as Kenya smash record at IAAF World Relays

(From L) Jermaine Brown, Warren Weir, Nickel Ashmeade and Yohan Blake of Jamaica celebrate after setting a new world record of 1:18.63 in the Men's 4x200m relay final during the IAAF World Relays, in Nassau, Bahamas, on May 24, 2014 - by Christian Petersen

Kenya earlier ensured another $50,000 came out of the bonus coffers as their middle-distance maestroes smashed another record, this time in the men's 4x1500m.

But it was traditional powerhouses the United States who dominated the second and final day of the inaugural World Relays in the Bahamian capital, winning four of the six finals raced in a carnival atmosphere at a sell-out 15,000-seater Thomas A. Robinson stadium.

There was also heartbreak for Blake's female teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the reigning two-time Olympic sprint champion was left with too much to do on the final leg of the 4x200m.

After two ropey baton exchanges, the "Pocket Rocket" who also claimed world 100m gold in Moscow last year and world indoor 60m gold in Sopot in March, could only look on as she ran her quartet home in third behind the winning US team and silver medallists Britain.

"We're happy with the bronze and the national record," said Fraser-Pryce.

"It was a great opportunity for me to be part of this inaugural event and I'm happy to have raced here."

There was no such drama for Blake, the 2011 100m world champion steaming his team of Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade and Julian Forte home in 37.77 seconds, the US missing out on the final after being disqualified in the heats.

Ashmeade will also depart the Bahamas with a brace of golds after running alongside Blake in the world record-setting 4x200m effort on Saturday.

- Championships mode -

"After our world and olympic golds, we wanted to confirm our number one position today," said Blake, who missed last season with a troublesome hamstring but is now mulling a sprint double at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"It feels great getting back into championships mode. I'm back on track"

The performances of the Jamaican men's sprint team more than made up for the absence of sprint legend Bolt, who is nursing an injury and only due back in competition in mid-June.

The United States took some solace from their strong women's 4x400m team, who won the event in convincing fashion in 3min 21.73sec. 

Third leg Natasha Hastings made the difference after eventual silver medallists Jamaica had threatened, the US team also featuring DeeDee Trotter, four-time Olympic gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross and Joanna Atkins.

And the USA also upset a Kenyan team featuring world champion Eunice Sum in the 4x800m, pushing the east Africans into second after winning in 8:01.58.

However, it was not all gloom for Kenya, as, in what was an expected world record tilt, the quartet of Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat, James Magut and Asbel Kiprop smashed the previous best in the men's 4x1500m in a cool display of controlled running.

The Kenyans clocked 14min 22.22sec for gold, more than 14sec faster than the previous mark of 14:36.23 set by another Kenyan foursome in Brussels in 2009.

"It is a great motivation to represent Kenya and be part of a team," said Kiprop.

"The world record was ours and our times were not that fast in the beginning, but we managed to break it."

The silver medal-winning US team timed 14:40.80 for a new American record, while Ethiopia held off Australia to take bronze in a national record of 14:41.22.

The fantastic, raucous Nassau crowd were denied a victory for their men's 4x400m team, the Olympic champions pipped at the line by the United States' reigning one-lap world champion LaShawn Merritt.

- Innovative relays format -

Echoing Fraser-Pryce's sentiments, Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF, praised the two-day event.

"The IAAF's faith in the innovative IAAF World Relays, a new event with a new presentation concept and The Bahamas' ability to deliver a top global sports entertainment product have been richly rewarded this weekend," Diack said.

"We have experienced a true sporting paradise which has excelled beyond our expectations. The people have embraced the IAAF World Relays and the noise of their support will be left ringing in our memories for many years to come."

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