London: For the fourth time in five Olympics Britain were disqualified from the men's 4x100 metres relay on Friday, robbing the 2004 winners of a place in Sunday's final, the last event of the track programme when they would have been real medal contenders.
Defending champions Jamaica, without the rested Usain Bolt, advanced with a blistering time as did the United States, to set up another mouth-watering showdown when Bolt will return hoping to complete his “double-treble” having bagged the 100m and 200m.
The United States, anchored by 100m bronze medallist Justin Gatlin, won their semi in 37.38 and Jamaica, with 100 and 200 runner-up Yohan Blake running the third leg took theirs in 37.39, the third and fourth-fastest times ever recorded.
On Thursday, David Rudisha after the 800m world record revealed that he had spoken to Bolt about possibly going head-to-head on the track.
“He used to run 400 metres,” Rudisha said. “I also run 400 metres early in the season and we were just making fun, and saying that maybe just one time we should race over 400m and see who wins, it would be great.
“Usain Bolt is the greatest sprinter I have ever seen. People love Bolt because of his great achievements. ”
Bolt when asked if he was ready to take on Rudisha, quipped: “I think if I train I can take on Rudisha over 400m. Anything up above 400m he will have the advantage.
After single-handedly rescuing the two-lap race from the domination of tactical sprint finishers, there are some who believe that Rudisha should be as big a name as Bolt.
Rudisha shattered Wilson Kipketer’s 13-year-old world record in 2010 and improved it again the following week as he went unbeaten at 34 meetings until the end of last season. His sensational 2010 saw him succeed Bolt as IAAF world athlete of the year but the difference in profile between the pair is not difficult to explain when you have spent any time in their company.
“Sometimes when you get disappointments, it can make you stronger going forward,” he said. “Because I was still young, I did not get discouraged, I knew there would be other Olympics.
“I was happy, perhaps if I had won the Olympic Games at such a young age, maybe I couldn’t have handled the pressure.”
Meawnhile, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia shrugged off the after-effects of illness to become the first person to win Olympic swimming titles in pool and open water with victory in the men’s 10 km marathon on Friday.
The 28-year-old had been laid low by a virus earlier this week but recovered to plunge into the waters of the Serpentine at a sun-soaked Hyde Park and claim victory in 1 hour 49 minutes 55.1 seconds, 3.4 seconds over Germany’s Thomas Lurz. Richard Weinberger of Canada took the bronze medal.