Men's 4 x 400m Heats

4x400 Metres Relay - M Heats
Qual. rule: first 3 of each heat (Q) plus the 2 fastest times (q) qualified.

Heat 1 - 20:10
Lane Team Country SB 2008 PB
2 France FRA 3:02.33 2:58.96
3 United States USA 2:59.71 2:54.29
4 Cuba CUB 3:02.10 2:59.13
5 South Africa RSA 3:03.58 3:00.20
6 Belgium BEL 3:02.13 3:02.13
7 Poland POL 3:03.16 2:58.00
8 Australia AUS 3:01.52 2:59.70
9 Russia RUS 3:05.16 3:00.44

Heat 2 - 20:22
Lane Team Country SB 2008 PB
2 Trinidad and Tobago TRI 3:04.12 3:01.05
3 Bahamas BAH 3:02.48 2:57.32
4 Japan JPN 3:04.87 3:00.76
5 Great Britain & N.I. GBR 3:02.66 2:56.60
6 Germany GER 3:03.04 2:59.99
7 Jamaica JAM 3:02.00 2:56.75
8 Dominican Republic DOM 3:05.74 3:02.02
9 Greece GRE 3:08.24 3:02.21

Anyone have any info on the make up of the Aussie quartet?

Assume Milburn and Wroe…
Then there is Grant, Steffenson, Hill, Ormrod

Who are the other 2? Is steffenson fit? Is hill in form?

HEAT ONE Preview
2007 World Champs, USA will romp it in, even without its three 400m medallists LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner and David Neville. Just too much depth with several capable back ups desperate to be part of a winning team.

The battle will be on for the other two automatic qualifying spots.

Looking through the likely teams I feel Australia and Belgium might have the edge over France & Russia. I’m hoping the Aussies pick the best team they can and go with Joel Milburn, Sean Wroe, Clinton Hill and either John Steffenson or Mark Ormrod. By now the coaches & athletes would have worked out who the best four are and backed them to run the heat and final. It would be a massive risk to rest either of our semi finalists Milburn or Wroe with France & Russia breathing down their necks. They should have been trained to handle four starts so common sense suggests the best four run in both.

Belgium is the biggest danger to Australia with three 400m semi finalists – Kevin Borlee (44.88), Jonathon Borlee (45.11) and Cedric Van Brantegheim (45.81) plus 200m semi finalist in Kristof Beyens (20.69). Their top 3 are very similar to the Aussie top three of Milburn, Wroe and Hill with a ‘wildcard’ 4th leg.

The Aussie wildcard could be Steffenson who has saved himself for this event and needs to produce. If he does I think he gives the Aussies the edge to take 2nd.

France has a big gun in Leslie Djhone who ran 44.79 earlier this week. Teddy Venel (45.54) and Brice Panel (45.84) have both run sub 46s recently and with probably Richard Maunier (46.06 in May 08), they have the team to run sub 3-02 and make the final, most likely as a next fastest. The doubt I have about them is Djhone backing up after the final last night. France can’t afford to rest him or they jeopardise their chances of advancing.

The only other team with the depth to make the final is Russia (5th in WC 2007) who have four sub 46s runners all around the same mark 45.3 to 45.7. They haven’t got a sub 45 man like the top four and that could be the difference. Denis Allekseyev ran 45.52 and Maksim Dyldin ran 46.03 in the individual 400m heats which is a few metres off their respective PB’s. Their next best two are Kokorin (45.78) and Frolov (45.79) so they are very even.
I think Russia could advance though as a next fastest time as this heat is tougher than the second is.

Poland should be competitive after winning the bronze medal in Osaka last year, but they don’t seem to be travelling as well in 2008. Poland’s best 400m runner, Daniel Dabrowski (PB: 45.33) only ran 47.83 in the heat earlier this week, so with him struggling, the Poles might not have the depth to match the top 4.

Cuba have a gun in William Collazo (45.06) who was 6th in his semi final. However their problem is Yeimer Lopez who ran 45.4 in June is in the 800m final. They don’t have the depth to replace him.

South Africa’s best is Mogawane with 45.67 and haven’t got another sub 45.8 runner to support him.


HEAT TWO Preview
This should be a cracker between the three Caribbean countries and Great Britain. Not much separates them although The Bahamas boast three semi finalists and look to have the edge. The only issue is do they run Chris Brown in the heat? I suspect they could take the risk and leave Brown out as they have the depth with Andrae Williams (PB of 44.90) who ran 45.52 in May and veteran Avard Moncur who ran 44.86 in Osaka ‘07. Andretti Bain (45.52) and Michael Mathieu (45.56) both finished 7th in their respective semi finals so the sheer weight of numbers favours The Bahamas who were silver medallists in Osaka behind the USA.

Jamaica was 4th in Osaka and will probably rely on the same team that ran 3-00.76 at the world champs. Ricardo Chambers ran 45.09 for 4th in his 400m semi final while Sanjay Ayre (45.66) and Michael Blackwood (45.56) were 5th and 4th respectively in their OG 400m heat. Their likely 4th runner is Leford Green who ran 45.56 in March.

Great Britain have only the one sub 45s runner in Martin Rooney (44.60 PB) and just through a lack of depth may struggle to keep with The Bahamas and Jamaica. Andrew Steele ran a respectable 45.59 in his 400m semi final but it starts to look thin after that with probably Robert Tobin (46.17 in June) and another a 46s guy like Richard Buck to be called in. Might be worth considering someone like Christian Malcolm to pinch-hit for them.

Trinidad & Tobago lack the depth of its Caribbean neighbours and will be looking at Renny Quow who ran a terrific PB of 44.82 in the semi final to back up and do it again. Ato Stephens ran 45.63 in his 400m heat and has a PB of 44.87 but then the depth falls away with no one of recent sub 46s form. T&T failed to make the final of the world champs and I think they will fall short again.

Germany ran a creditable 3-02.21 to finish 2nd in its heat at Osaka last year before bombing out in the final and generally gives a good account of itself and this level. However the recent form of runners like Simon Kirch (45.94 May 08), Rowen Faller (46.05 July 08), Tilo Ruch (46.09 July 08) and Florian Sitz (46.13 July 08) suggests they lack the speed of the other teams and I can’t see them making the final this time round.

Japan is always competitive in relays despite having no one of any real note. Their 4 x 100m team surprisingly made the OG final last night but this could be a more difficult assignment. Yuzo Kanemara ran 46.39 in his 400m heat which suggests he’s not running that well and its hard to see the Japanese getting too close in this with most of its squad being 46s plus runners.

The Dominican Republic were finalists in the world champs but this seems tougher especially with their best runner Arismendy Peguero only running 46.28 in his 400m heat.

Greece had no one in the individual 400m and the best runner in 2008 is Padelemion Melahrinoudis who ran 46.13 in June.