Javon Francis Splits 43.78; Jamaica Grabs 4×400 Silver At Rio 2016
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Jamaica men’s 4x400m relay team won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Games behind two classy performances from two of the country’s top youngsters to end the Olympic Games track programme on Saturday night.
Top legs from Nathan Allen and Javon Francis propelled the Caribbean nation to second place behind the United States in a season-best time of 2:58.16.
The silver medal outing was thanks largely to a stunning 43.78 anchor leg from Francis, who took his team from fourth to a podium place in what was a thrilling and exciting finish for the Jamaicans.
“This is my first Olympics and I am going home with an Olympic medal. I am very excited,” Francis said in the Jamaica Observer.
“When I saw Usain Bolt with his first gold medal, I said to myself, I want a medal to come back home.
“A lot of people doubted me and said I can’t do it. ”
Allen, who missed out at running in the individual 400m because he missed the qualifying time, impressed in the heats running the third leg, and he was given the responsibility of running the second leg in the final, which helped to keep Jamaica into the contest after a slow start.
Jamaica made one adjustment to the quartet that ran in the semi-final heat, with out of form national record holder Rusheen McDonald making way for Fitzroy Dunkley.
Peter Matthews was then switched to the first leg with McDonald out before Allen and Dunkley put Francis in a close enough position to strike.
Meanwhile, like he did in the semis, 19-year-old Allen produced a 44-second split, which took Jamaica from fifth to third heading into the penultimate leg.
“My coaches and teammates all motivated me, and to get a medal at my first Olympic Games, it only shows me that I can achieve greatness,” said Allen.
The USA, anchored by LaShawn Merritt, won the gold medal in a world-leading time of 2:57.30, with Chris Brown and the Bahamas holding on for the bronze medal in 2:58.49.
Six of the eight teams in the final broke the three-minutes barrier.