DOHA (Reuters) - Jamaica stormed to world championship gold in the women’s 4x100 meters relay on Saturday, beating Britain in a battle that featured 100 and 200m winners Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Dina Asher-Smith.
Since 2005 the United States and Jamaica have dominated the event at the worlds, with the Americans topping the podium four times, including two years ago in London, and the Jamaicans three.
In Doha, though, the fight for gold came down to Jamaica and Britain, the Caribbean nation returning to the top of the podium with a time of 41.44 seconds.
Britain took silver in 41.85 and the U.S. bronze in 42.10.
In a surprise twist Fraser-Pryce and Asher-Smith, the two sprint stars of the championships, were not given the responsibility of anchoring their teams but instead went head-to-head in the second leg down the back stretch.
Shericka Jackson, bronze medalist in the 400m, brought Jamaica home while Daryll Neita anchored Britain.
It was the second gold of the championships for the evergreen Fraser-Pryce, the 32-year-old bringing her haul from six worlds to nine gold medals and two silvers.
The Jamaican women have taken over the mantle of global sprint superpower from their men and showed the depth of their talent by winning without the services of reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, who was out with injury.
“I am really excited for Team Jamaica and our ladies,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I think it speaks volumes especially going into 2020 (Olympics). There is so many things that can happen at a championship, so we want to make sure all our ladies are ready; no matter who you call on we’ll be ready.”
With the U.S. women sprinters turning in unimpressive results in Doha, Jamaica’s biggest threat at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games could very well come from Britain.
Asher-Smith established her credentials as a reliable medal producer by collecting three in Doha — gold in the 200 and silver in the 100m and relay.
“It was absolutely fantastic to go and run out there and we are on the best way to Tokyo,” said Asher-Smith. “We are ready.
“We worked for this really hard.”
Editing by Clare Fallon