May 26, 2014 / 3:53 AM / 5 years ago

Blake back in form, leads Jamaica to 4x100 relay title

NASSAU Bahamas (Reuters) - Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake made it a perfect trip to the inaugural IAAF World Relays as he anchored Jamaica to a triumphant run in the 4x100 meters relay on Sunday.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake (C) crosses the finish line ahead of Britain's Dwain Chambers (R) and Canada's Justyn Warner (L) to win the men's 4x100 metres relay during the IAAF World Relays Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, May 25, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A night after leading a Jamaican team to a world record in the 4x200 relay, Blake brought his countrymen home in 37.77 seconds to top Trinidad and Tobago in the final race of the two-day program.

“After our world and Olympic gold (in the 4x100), we wanted to confirm our number one position today,” said Blake, who missed the world championships and much of last season with a hamstring injury.

“It feels great getting into championship mode ... I am back on track.”

The Jamaicans were missing world record holder Usain Bolt, who has yet to run this year, and key relay member Michael Frater, but veterans Nesta Carter and Nickel Ashmeade and young Julian Forte had Blake in position for another winning romp.

“We have to work on some of the exchanges, but overall it went well,” said Carter, who helped Jamaica win the world title last year.

Trinidad and Tobago were a well-beaten second in 38.04 with Britain third in 38.19.

Kenya’s men delivered the day’s only world record, shattering the global mark in the infrequently run 4x1500 relay.

With double world champion Asbel Kiprop on anchor, the men clocked 14:22.22 to erase a previous Kenyan team’s 2009 record of 14:36.23.

Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat and James Magut gave Kenya a comfortable lead and Kiprop anchored the final 1,500 meters to earn the Africans $100,000, including $50,000 for the win and another $50,000 for the record.

The Kenyan women were just as convincing on Saturday in taking down the women’s world record in the event.

The U.S. women had a perfect Sunday, grabbing all three of the relays they contested.

Strong performances by Sanya Richards-Ross and Natasha Hastings helped power the Americans to victory in the 4x400 in 3:21.73 ahead of second-placed Jamaica.

The American women also collected wins in the 4x800 (8:01.58) and 4x200 (1:29.45), topping Kenya in the longer relay and Britain in the sprint.

Jamaica could only finish third in the 4x200 even with Olympic and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on anchor.

The Americans also won the men’s 4x400 meters relay with world champion LaShawn Merritt grabbing the lead in the final 20 meters as the U.S. edged host Bahamas in 2:57.25.

But disaster struck in the men’s 4x100 as the U.S. team were disqualified after a poor exchange in the rounds.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Nassau, Bahamas; Editing by Ian Ransom

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