U.S. men’s, women’s 4×400 teams qualify for Saturday’s finals

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The last two relays of the Rio Olympics will be run Saturday night, with the final of both the men’s and women’s 4×400 relays will be held. And as one would expect, the U.S. will be represented in both races.

The women, with Courtney Okolo, Taylor Ellis-Watson, Francena McCrory and Phyllis Francis running the four legs, qualified for the final with a time of 3:21.42. That’s the best time posted of the eight qualifiers for the final, with Jamaica’s time of 3:22.38 being second-best. Those were the only two teams to post a time lower than 3:24, with Ukraine (3:24.54) qualifying with the third-best time of the evening.

The U.S. men had greater competition for their spot in the final, as their time of 2:58.38 was second-best among the eight qualifiers with Jamaica (2:58.29) posting the fastest time. Arman Hall, Tony McQuay, Kyle Clemons and David Verburg ran the four legs for the United States.

Those two nations will be the favorites in Saturday’s final, and three nations (Great Britain, India and Trinidad & Tobago) were disqualified from the field. Trinidad Tobago was disqualified for a lane infringement violation (Rule 163.3 (a)) per the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

“In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish,” per the IAAF rule book. “This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes.”

As for Great Britain and India, their disqualifications coming as a result of runners being judged to have violated Rule 170.19.

“For the final takeover in the Medley Relay and for all takeovers in the 4 × 400m, 4 × 800m, Distance Medley Relay and 4 × 1500m races, athletes are not permitted to begin running outside their takeover zones, and shall start within this zone. if an athlete does not follow this Rule, his team shall be disqualified,” per the IAAF rule book.

Great Britain’s disqualification, as they originally won the second heat, opened the door for hosts Brazil to get into the final based on time.