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September 29, 2000
Indian women crash in 4x100 relayThe Rediff Team
The Indian women's 4x100 relay quartet of V Jayalakshmi, Vinita Tripathi, Saraswati Dey and Rachita Mistry, running in heat three of the event's preliminaries on Friday morning, ran a very bad race to finish last in their heat. The baton exchanges looked amateurish and unrehearsed, with a splutter characterising each changeover, and the runners didn't have the leg speed to make up in the sprints for the slow exchanges in the zones.
The Indians ran the distance in 45.20 -- a good 2.62 seconds behind heat winners in 42.58. Three teams qualify from each heat, and Finland and Ghana were the other two to make it from the third heat.
The Bahamas impressed with smooth changeovers, and remarkable sprinting, topping the heat without ever really stretching themselves. The lineup of Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson (who took silver in the women's 200m behind Marion Jones yesterday) and Sevatheda Fynes looked to be a supremely good outfit, and should be the biggest challengers to the Marion Jones-led USA.
France with 43.23 topped the first heat, with an impressive Greek crew coming in second and Poland touching home as the third qualifier.
Heat two featured another quartet that impressed hugely. Tanya Lawrence, Veronica Campbell, Beverley McDonald and Merlene Frazer ran a very smooth race to top the heat in 42.46, while Germany and China came second and third, to make up the qualifiers from that heat.
To no one's surprise, Marion Jones did not run the preliminary heat in the women's relay, the US track coaches figuring on saving her for the semifinals this evening, plus the long jump in which she will compete for her third individual gold.
World 200m champion Inger Miller, who despite a hamstring injury two days before the start of the Olympics, has been roped into the relay team to help Marion Jones shoot for the record, did not run either -- the coaches obviously conserving her for the big race. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson ran for the US, coasting home without visible effort in 42.92.
Jamaica qualified fastest, followed by the Bahamas, Germany and the USA.
Great Britain, Madasgascar, Ukraine and Colombia nosed into the semifinals as the fastest losers.
A total of 25 teams participated. Australia, backed by a raucous home crowd, succumbed to tension, mucking up the very first baton exchange between Elly Hutton and Lauren Hewitt to be disqualified. The other two runners were Sharon Cripps and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor.
Of the 24 teams that did finish, India finished in 23rd position, just ahead of Cameroon.
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