Team USA 4x4 women get another chance


BARCELONA, Spain -- Team USA’s women’s 4x400, after suffering a disqualification during Saturday’s semifinals, will participate in a “runoff” at 11 a.m. local time Sunday morning, according to USATF, to try and qualify for the final later in the day.

The Americans, with MI prep Kendall Baisden, FL prep Robin Reynolds, VCU’s Kiara Porter, and Texas A&M’s Olivia Ekpone' running 55.6, 51.1, 53.3, and 54.2, respectively, appeared to win the first heat of the semis in 3:34.12. But, the USATF report said, they were later DQ’d for being outside the exchange zone during the first handoff (IAAF rule 170.7). Romania was DQ’d for the same reason in that heat.

Both countries filed a protest, stating that the track officials placed the second-leg runners in the wrong position, near the end of the exchange zone. But when the batons were passed, video evidence reportedly made it clear that both teams had passed outside the zone, so the protest was denied.

It wasn’t over yet. The U.S. appealed that decision and it went to the IAAF WJC Jury of Appeals. There, the jury reportedly upheld the Team USA stance and decided to offer the American and Romanian squads an opportunity for a rerun. The USATF report said that according to the IAAF, the jury “(took into) consideration the special circumstances – young inexperienced athletes, different judges, different guidance, etc.” in making the decision.

Romania passed on the offer, but the U.S. team decided to go for it. So the bottom line is this: Team USA must run a time of 3:39.44 or faster to earn the final qualifying spot in the final. They will apparently be running solo and no other teams will be impacted. Achieving the time qualifier would get them in as the third time qualifier and ninth overall team.

It was also decreed that the same four athletes who ran Saturday (see above) must run in this runoff and in the same order. The final will be several hours later at the end of the final day’s program.