The Italian contingent stole the show on the final day of the World Athletics Relays with two top-of-the-podium finishes in Silesia on Sunday. While Cuba and South Africa pocketed gold medals, hosts Poland and the Netherlands also increased their World Athletics Relays medals' tally in the competition.
Italy made the perfect start to the World Athletics Relays mixed 4x400m event final. The quartet of Edoardo Scotti, Giancarla Trevisan, Alice Mangione and Davide Re, which was fastest in the heats, set the track on fire once again, clocking 3.16:60s, well ahead of rivals Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Scotti gave Italy the lead at the start. However, Great Britain's Zoey Clark pushed hard in the second leg to go ahead for a brief period. Trevisan kept Italy in the lead, gaining a couple of metres ahead Brazil and Great Britain in the second leg.
Italy's advantage increased in the third leg through Mangione, who was handed over the baton in the final leg. Brazil took second place with 3:17.54s, 0.04s ahead of the Dominican Republic.
“We did not feel like clear favorites because we expected strong teams like the Netherlands,” Re told after the World Athletics Relay gold. “But we saw they changed the squad a bit so it was more possible to beat them today. We will celebrate our victory.”
Netherlands gift Italy women's 4x100m gold
In the women’s World Athletics Relays 4x100m event, the Netherlands have to blame themselves for losing out on gold. The Dutch were in front at the onset with Jamile Samuel leading the pack ahead of Ecuador and Japan in the first changeover.
Dafne Schippers, the two-time world 200m champion, successfully handed the baton to Nadine Visser. She maintained the Dutch lead, but her baton exchange with teammate Naomi Sedney did not go well, resulting in a loss of momentum that gave Italy the advantage.
Sedney had to stop to take the baton and that’s where the Italians got ahead with the quartet of Irene Siragusa, Gloria Hooper, Anna Bongiorni and Vittoria Fontana wwinning in 43.79s.
Both Poland and the Netherlands clocked 44.10s, with Pia Skrzyszowska finishing 0.005s ahead of Sedney to help the hosts to a second-place finish at the World Athletics Relays.
In the men’s category, South Africa went home with the yellow metal thanks to star Akani Simbine.
For most of the race, Brazil were in the lead and it looked like the Samba boys would repeat their 2019 feat. But Simbine had other plans and took his rivals by surprise to help his team win in 38.71s.
However, on a drama-filled World Athletics Relays evening, Brazil, who were behind by just 0.01, was disqualified later for a lane infringement on the second bend. The decision meant Italy took silver in 39.21s and Japan bronze in 39.42s.
Cuba, Dutch clinch World Athletics Relays 4x400m gold
Cuba and the Netherlands took the women’s and men’s 4x400m World Athletics Relay gold medals. The Cuban team, comprising Zurian Hechavarría, Rose Mary Almanza, Lisneidy Veitía and Roxana Gómez won the yellow metal in 3:28.41s.
Poland (3:28.81s) and Great Britain (3:29.27s) took the silver and bronze medals, respectively. In the men’s category, Netherlands comprising Jochem Dobber, Liemarvin Bonevacia, Ramsey Angela and Tony van Diepen clinched the gold medal in 3:03.45s. Japan (3:04.45s) and Botswana (3:04.77s) took the second and third places, respectively.