Merritt anchors U.S. to traditional 4x400m gold

Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:55am EDT
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) - LaShawn Merritt produced a perfectly-judged final leg to lead the United States to a sixth successive world 4x400 meters relay title and bring down the curtain on the 15th world athletics championships on Sunday.

Merritt, who has been part of all six campaigns over the last decade, claimed his 11th world championship medal.

The 2008 Olympic 400m champion ran his leg in 44.16 and crossed the line for gold in two minutes 57.82 seconds, the best time of the year.

"I just kept my cool, kept calm and made the move when I knew I had to," the 29-year-old, who ran the heats in 2005 and the last five finals, told reporters.

"I felt strong all the way up until 300m and I started lifting and closed the show. It feels good. We are excited about it and looking forward to Rio for next year."

Trinidad and Tobago, who led after the first three legs, took silver in a national record 2:58.20 and Britain piped Jamaica to third place in 2.58.51.

Merritt, who won silver in a thrilling individual 400m final, will have been delighted to avoid the fate of the American 4x100m squad, who were disqualified after a botched exchange, while the women's 4x400 squad were piped by Jamaica.

  Continued...

 
LaShawn Merritt of the U.S. (C) crosses the finish line first to win the men's 4 x 400 metres relay final during the 15th IAAF Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 30, 2015.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj