NASSAU, May 3- Kenya got off to a nightmare start at the second IAAF World Relays in Bahamas when the men 4x800m quartet were disqualified having finished in the silver position whilst their 4x400m compatriots crashed out at the heats as action got away early Sunday.
In the two-lap men final where the first medals of the event at T. Robinson Stadium were awarded, Kenya were disqualified because the exchange between Nicholas Kipkoech and Olympics bronze medallist, Timothy Kitum had been completed just before the changeover zone.
World Youth champion, Alfred Kipketer led America’s Duane Solomon but the crucial move came with just under 200 metres to go on the second leg when Erik Sowinski went past the inexperienced Kipkoech and gave the Americans a lead that they never relinquished.
Sowinski handed over the baton to Casimir Loxsom 20 metres ahead of the Kenyans and despite the presence of London 2012 bronze winner Kitum on the third leg, last year’s winners could barely make an indication into the lead.
Robby Andrews initially stretched the lead out to 25 metres over the first 400m of the final leg before Jeremiah Mutai closed the gap down the final back straight as they closed in on the first gold medal.
However, Mutai had been too audacious and while Andrews was clearly tiring down the final 100 metres, looking up at the stadium screen he had been gauging his effort more assiduously and pulled away once more to round off the victory in 7:04:84..
In fact, the flagging Mutai was almost caught by Poland’s fast-finishing 2014 European 800m champion Adam Kszczot.
However, after finishing just a few metres behind Kenya, Poland were eventually to take second in 7:09:98 as, shortly after the conclusion of the race.
Having been a distant and isolated fourth for the last two legs, Australia found themselves promoted to an unexpected place on the podium, taking third in 7:16.30.
Mexico were the only other finishers in fourth place with 7:22.61.
The men’s 4x400m quartet were knocked out in the first round after running 3:05.96 for fifth in the second heat won by USA in 3:02:81.