Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Slow start dooms Canadian men in 4x100m at World Relays

A slow start and a sloppy exchange doomed the Canadian men at the IAAF World Relays on Saturday. The 4x100-metre team featuring Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown, Gavin Smellie and Brendon Rodney placed third in its heat and failed to qualify for Sunday's final with a time of 38.76 seconds.

Andre De Grasse's blazing anchor leg can't force Canada into Sunday's final

Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, ran a strong anchor leg in the men's 4x400-metre race on Saturday but it wasn't enough as the Canadians finished third in their heat and failed to qualify for the final at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

A slow start and sloppy exchange returned to haunt the Canadian men at the IAAF World Relays on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.

The 4x100-metre men's team featuring Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown, Gavin Smellie and Brendon Rodney placed third in its heat and failed to qualify for Sunday's final with a time of 38.76 seconds.

Smellie ran the first leg and was quickly passed by the Japanese counterpart to his left before a slow baton pass to Brown.

De Grasse, anchoring the team, blazed through the final leg but couldn't make up enough ground. The result means Canada won't have the chance to defend its 2017 gold medal.

WATCH | Canada fails to qualify for men's 4x100m final:

Canada did not qualify for the 4x100m relay final after finishing third in their heat (due to a Japanese disqualification). 1:20

The top two teams from each heat as well as the next two fastest teams advance to the final. There was 10 teams faster than Canada on Saturday.

The first Canadian team moving on was the women's 4x400 squad, featuring Sage Watson, Maya Stephens, Madeline Price and Travia Jones.

WATCH | Japan disqualified from men's 4x100 for tossing baton:

Japan messed up the final handoff at the World Relays, and ended up getting disqualified in the 4x100m. 1:36

The foursome roared to victory in its heat in three minutes 28.75 seconds. Ukraine had originally won the heat, but was later disqualified.

Canada also appeared in the women's 4x100 race, but was disqualified for a late baton exchange.

However, in the final race of the day, Canada's mixed 4x400 racers powered to the top of their heat with a time of 3:16.78.

The clean, well-executed run will give Canada the opportunity to race for gold on Sunday. The time also represented a new national record, surpassing the previous best of 3:23.60.

Americans rule new events

Sharika Nelvis and Devon Allen dominated the mixed shuttle hurdles relay as the United States won both finals.

Nelvis pulled ahead on the third leg and Allen anchored the Americans to victory in 54.96 seconds. Host Japan was runner-up in 55.59. Australia was disqualified and Jamaica did not start the mixed shuttle hurdles relay, one of two new disciplines making its debut at the meet in Yokohama.

WATCH | Every heat from Day 1 at World Relays:

2019 IAAf World Relays from Yokohama, Japan. 3:45:03

The race featured two men and two women on each team running 110-metre legs.

In another event making its debut, Ce'Aira Brown and Donovan Brazier led the U.S. to first in the mixed 2x2x400 relay with a time of 3:36.92. Australia was second in 3:37.61, and Japan third in 3:38.36.

The U.S. leads the overall standings with 16 points, three ahead of Japan. Australia was third with seven points.

Catch all of Sunday's finals live on, with action beginning at 5 a.m. ET.

With files from The Associated Press

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