LaShawn Merritt carried the U.S. men’s 4-by-400-meter relay team to a gold medal Sunday in the final event of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing at 2:57.82. Trinidad and Tobago won silver (2:58.20), Great Britain bronze (2:58.51) and Jamaica was fourth after it had won the previous three relay competitions in Beijing. It was the sixth-consecutive world title for the Americans, dating back to 2005, and Merritt has been on all six.
“Everybody on Team USA came here with a purpose,” Merritt said. “Sometimes, giving your all doesn’t mean winning a gold medal. We had grown men and grown women give their all.
To come out and close the show was important to show we’re still here.”
David Verburg, Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum began the relay for the U.S., and Kyle Clemons and Vernon Norwood ran in the semifinals Saturday and will also receive gold medals. The Trinidadans, consisting of Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon, Deon Lendore, and Machel Cedenio, led the first three legs, before Merritt outran Cedenio. Belgium, France, Cuba, and Russia completed the standings.
“It’s always good to come to the Games and medal,” said Verburg, who was on the 2013 team, along with McQuay. “We came and defended our title to get a gold medal.”
WOMEN’S 5,000 METERS
Ethiopians swept the podium in the women’s 5,000 meters, with defending bronze medalist Almaz Ayana taking the victory in a championships record 14:26.83. Senbere Teferi, the 20 year old, won silver at 14:44.07, just ahead of Genzebe Dibaba (14:44.14), who won the 1,500 meters earlier in the week. Kenyans placed fourth through seven in the order of Viola Jelagat Kibiwot, Mercy Cherono, Janet Kisa, and Irene Chepat Cheptai. Nicole Tully of the United States was 13th.
MEN’S 1,500 METERS
Asbel Kiprop of Kenya won the men’s 1,500 for a third-consecutive World Championships, two-tenths of a second ahead of silver-medal winning teammate Elijah Motonei Manangoi and bronze-medalist Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco.
“This is very special for me to win three times in a row,” said Kiprop, who also won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “There are only three who have won three times, I feel like I am leaving a legacy in distance running. I sacrifice a lot of time away from home.”
The younger Managoi said he listens to Kiprop and admires him as a teammate. Iguider repeated his bronze medal from the London Olympics, and as was the case then, it was the only medal for Morocco in the entire event.
“I’m really happy to give Morocco this bronze medal,” Iguider said, “and this is my preparation to go into next year in Rio. I think people in Morocco are really happy with this medal.”
In the final medal tally, Kenya and Jamaica tied for the lead with seven gold medals, while the U.S. had a combined 18, six of which were gold. Kenya had 16 total medals and Jamaica 12. China ended up with nine and one gold, while Canada, Ethiopia, Poland, and Germany all collected eight. Great Britain had four golds and seven total.